Although I officially started my sabbatical sometime in August, when classes started at Davidson, my real official start is when I left home for China on Saturday, 2 September, for Shanghai. I arrived in Shanghai on Sunday so that I could make my first day of class on Monday, 4 September. I will be teaching a graduate seminar on Globalization and Culture for the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University, one of top universities here in China. Jet-lag did not bother me as much as not being as connected to the internet as I usually am in the US; my subjectivity, to use Donna Haraway’s term, has been fully cyborg-ized, and I am somehow missing something to my sense of self when deprived of an internet connection! So while my room at the Dongyuan guesthouse is pleasant, as you can see in the above picture, I will have to find other accommodations so that I can fill my internet fix.
The Dongyuan guesthouse on Zhengtong Road is next door to the foreign students dormitory where I stayed for close to a month in 2001, when I brought a group of Butler students to China. I was pretty familiar with the area, but like the rest of Shanghai, the street has changed a lot. The middle school is still there, and the Korean BBQ restaurant “Seoul Kitchen” is still there, but the internet cafe that was across the street from the foreign students dormitory is gone. Gone also was the Lanzhou noodle restaurant on Guoding Road, just around the corner, that was a favorite of mine and the Butler students while we were here. I did find another internet cafe just north of the Dongyuan foreign experts guesthouse, but it isn’t quite the same as having internet in your room (like I had during the summer on my last visit to Shanghai). But it feels good to be back in Shanghai.