I’m still in Nanjing, getting ready to head out first to Yangzhou to see Patricia and the Grand Canal, and then to Qingdao to visit the Mark Xie, a Davidson alumni who is the headmaster of the Leewen Foreign Language School; every year, we send a number of recent graduates to teach English at the Leewen School, and I look forward to my first visit to Qingdao and the Qingdao Brewery tour!
The picture above is just outside my hotel. Much of Nanjing is under construction, especially this area that is just a block north of a major commercial center, Xinjiekou. With the rapid economic change taking place in littoral cities like Nanjing, new money and investments are pouring in to change the landscape. As a result, old neighborhoods that were like the five-story apartment building in the center of the picture are being replaced by shopping malls and office buildings. My friend Pan Tianshu, a classmate from Harvard’s anthropology department who is now at Georgetown (but will soon be returning to his alma mater Fudan University in Shanghai) did his dissertation fieldwork precisely on a Shanghai community like the one that must have been here before. So while many are winning in the game of global capitalism, some communities are being dispersed to the suburbs further out of the city because of economic growth. Communities can reconstitute themselves in the suburbs, but it will be different. I’d like to come back to Nanjing and see what this area looks like next year, or the following year; I’m sure I won’t recognize the area. Landmarks seem to be changing from day to day.