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Contrary to the common stereotype that Chinese education is regimented and mired in tradition, the education system in China is actually one of the most dynamic sectors of Chinese society, with core aspects such as the gaokao college entrance exam constantly in flux. On the podcast this week to discuss the evolution of Chinese education is Jiang Xu…
 
What do we know about Chinese nationalism? Do nationalistic sentiments manifest differently among different demographic groups, as is often the case in Western democratic countries? What kinds of global situations can provoke bouts of nationalism? And to what extent does grassroots nationalism influence China’s foreign policy? We explore these ques…
 
No sooner had Jeremiah’s lockdown experience come to an end when Shanghai announced plans to shut down the entire city as cases of the Omicron variant skyrocketed. Now entering its third week, Shanghai’s historic citywide lockdown has imposed unprecedented restrictions and sacrifices on its 25 million people. Among the hapless homebound residents w…
 
As China launches the most stringent lockdowns since the first Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan two years ago, Jeremiah enters his second week in lockdown mode in his Beijing apartment. David and Jeremiah exchange personal accounts and analyses of their own experiences under China’s official “Zero Covid” directive. Topics include the inconsistent and som…
 
As Covid-19 gradually recedes and China resumes domestic travel, we are pleased to interview Mo Yajun about her book Touring China: A History of Travel Culture, 1912-1949, a fascinating history of the development of China’s travel industry during the Republican period. Professor Mo recounts how early tourism guides and photographic travel journals …
 
Do Chinese people know more about the US than Americans know about China? Is there an “information deficit” between average educated Americans and their Chinese counterparts? Educators working in US-China academic exchange programs have noticed a marked information asymmetry, a “China cluelessness” on the part of American students. At the same time…
 
On the cusp of the Chinese New Year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Jeremiah and David record an Olympian episode of the podcast. The guest is Mark Dreyer, a veteran sports reporter, who has just released his new book, Sporting Superpower: An Insider’s View on China’s Quest to Be the Best. Mark has worked for Sky Sports, Fox Sports, AP Sports…
 
In this week’s episode, we talk with Jean Hoffmann Lewanda about her father Paul Hoffmann’s memoir, Witness to History: From Vienna to Shanghai: A Memoir of Escape, Survival and Resilience, recently published by Earnshaw Books. Paul Hoffmann left Vienna at the age of 18 to escape the rise of Nazism, arrived in Shanghai in 1938, and became a part of…
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David talk with James Griffiths, Asia Correspondent for the Globe and Mail, about his new book Speak Not: Empire, Identity and the Politics of Language. This podcast can be considered the third installment of a trilogy of Barbarian at the Gate episodes that deal with the politics of language and dialects in China (see …
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David have a long-overdue discussion with historian and writer Maura Cunningham. Maura was Editor-in-Chief of the classic blog China Beat, a fellow at the Asia Society Center on US-China Relations, Program Officer at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and is now the Digital Media Manager for The Associatio…
 
This week Jeremiah and David catch up with an old friend, China history scholar Marketus Presswood., who has just released a documentary on jazz in China entitled Yellow Jazz, Black Music, available on Vimeo. Based on years of research and extensive interviews, the documentary traces the influx and development of jazz music in China, from the Shang…
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David talk about the foreign experience of travel in China, drawing upon their personal experiences over the years as explorers, educators, and tour guides. The two trade accounts of the rapid expansion of China’s travel industry in decades after Reform and Opening, the occasional brushes with anti-foreign sentiment, a…
 
In this episode (taped on the eve of June 4th), Jeremiah and David examine the zeitgeist of China in the 1980s through the lens of the historic 1988 documentary River Elegy《河殇》. The six-part documentary was a scathing critique of Chinese traditional culture and political philosophy, portraying hallowed icons such as the Great Wall and the Yellow Ri…
 
In this episode, we host Ruth Poulsen, Director of Curriculum and Assessment at the International School of Beijing and author of a recent article in The American Educator entitled "What's the Line between Culture Shock and Racism?" Ruth is a long-term ex-pat, having spent much of her childhood and adult life in various countries in the Middle East…
 
On the show this week, Jeremiah and David dialogue about one of their long-term common missions: educating American study abroad students about the complex culture and politics of China. With the rise of the PRC as an economic power, it has always been vitally important to get American scholars to this country to gain first-hand experience with the…
 
In today's episode, Jeremiah and David meet up with legendary Canadian TV personality, comedian, and cultural ambassador Mark Rowswell, better known to generations of Chinese audiences as Dashan. On the eve of the annual CCTV Spring Festival Gala, "the most-watched TV show in the world," Mark briefly recounts his experiences on the show, its import…
 
This week, Barbarians at the Gate offers another Beijing-themed podcast. Jeremiah and David talk with writer and long-time Beijing resident Jonathan Chatwin, author of the widely-acclaimed book Long Peace Street. The book is Jonathan's account of a two-day walk along Beijing's Chang'anjie (literally "Long Peace Street"), a trek of 30 kilometers tra…
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David talk with Matthew Hu, former Managing Directory of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, Co-founder of the Beijing Courtyard Institute, and a longtime activist for the preservation and restoration of historic Beijing architecture and historical landmarks. This episode is definitely for lovers of old Be…
 
Yuanmingyuan, the "Garden of Perfect Brightness," commonly referred to as the Old Summer Palace, was a Qing Dynasty imperial residence comprised of hundreds of buildings, halls, gardens, temples, artificial lakes, and landscapes, covering a land area five times that of the Forbidden City, and eight times the size of Vatican City. This expansive com…
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David catch up with writer, editor, and journalist Alec Ash, to discuss the new US edition of his 2016 book Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China. Alec’s book is an intimate portrait of six diverse members of China’s “post-80s” generation, tracing their lives’ trajectory in the context of China’s turbulent and unpred…
 
Following on the previous BATG episode about the Chinese education system, in this installment, Jeremiah and David are pleased to continue this discussion with award-winning journalist and author Lenora Chu. Lenora is the author of Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School and the Global Race to Achieve, a melding of memoir and journalism …
 
In this episode, Jeremiah and David delve into the Chinese education system, focusing on the evolution of China’s universities. Starting with Trump’s recent ill-advised (and quickly rescinded) executive order to cancel the F-1 visas of a substantial number of 370,000 Chinese students studying in the US, the discussion moves to China’s multi-billion…
 
In this episode Jeremiah and David are pleased to talk with veteran New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson. Ian is one of our most prolific and wide-ranging China writers, over the last decades amassing a vast catalogue of articles covering Chinese politics, religion, language, history and media. His most recent book, The Sou…
 
Champions Day in the city of Shanghai, November 1941. The world was at war but the clubhouse at the Shanghai Race Club (now People's Park) was packed with owners and punters cheering on the pony. The funeral of Shanghai's richest widow, Liza Hardoon, was a spectacle which filled the streets of the International Settlement. Japanese occupiers and th…
 
Barbarians at the Gate returns to that ever-relevant and contentious topic, language reform in China and the fate of fangyan, the various local speech forms referred to as “dialects.” Joining us on the podcast is Gina Anne Tam, Assistant Professor in History at Trinity University, and the author of the recent book Dialect and Nationalism in China, …
 
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