The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Aug
5
10:00 am10:00

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

  • Beigongmen Metro Stop (Exit D)

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne.

Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within. But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated.

As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Aug
8
10:00 am10:00

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace

  • Yuanmingyuan Metro Stop Exit B

The Old Summer Palace contain the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, one of a series of lavish imperial gardens destroyed in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today the shattered pillars, stone foundations, and abandoned archways are a vivid reminder to visitors of the “Century of Humiliation” and the tragedy of imperialism in 19th-century China. The events of that century continue to play a role in shaping how China views the world today.

We will discuss the background to the Opium Wars and how the memories of the imperialist era are kept alive as part of China’s contemporary political culture. Along the way, we will wander the ruins and explore one of Beijing’s most beautiful historic parks. From May to October, we will also get a chance to see parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Aug
9
10:00 am10:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

Our walk begins at Beixinqiao in the heart of historic Beijing and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing
Aug
23
10:00 am10:00

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing

  • Beihai Bei Metro Stop (Exit B)

This walk takes us around Beijing’s scenic lakes including Qianhai and Houhai. We will first visit the gorgeous former home of Guo Moruo, an author, artist, and poet who was one of the most influential Chinese scholars of the 20th century.

We will then visit the palace of Aisin-Gioro Yixin, better known as Prince Gong. The younger brother of the Xianfeng Emperor, Yixin helped defend Beijing from the Anglo-French Expeditionary Force in 1860 after his brother had fled the city. Later Yixin would become a diplomat, a reformer, and an official who suffered through a long career serving under the Empress Dowager Cixi. His palace, a Beijing landmark, is famous for its lavishly restored pavilions and gardens.

Finally, we will travel around the lakeside to the former home of Soong Ch’ing-ling, the widow of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. One of the famous “Soong Sisters” (her brothers-in-law include Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang’s finance minister H.H. Kung), she established her own legacy after her husband’s death in 1925. 

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Aug
30
10:00 am10:00

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

For much of China’s modern history, the area around Tiananmen has been the political epicenter for the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of recent history’s most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s history from its days as an imperial capital through the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and down to the present day.

We’ll visit the Beijing Urban Planning Hall (a fascinating museum in desperate need of a catchier name!) and explore Tiananmen Square. We will conclude our stroll by taking in two of Beijing’s most beautiful parks, both former imperial spaces that were part of the Forbidden City.

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the political significance of Tiananmen, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to modern megalopolis.

May Fourth and the Birth of Modern China: A Walk and Discussion
Aug
31
10:00 am10:00

May Fourth and the Birth of Modern China: A Walk and Discussion

  • Wangfujing (St. Joseph's) Cathedral

The years between 1912 and 1919 marked an era of profound change in Beijing and for China. The end of the imperial era in 1912 unleashed social and political which even 100 years later continue to shape the way China sees the world.

This two-hour walk will take us past the homes of Lao She, Chen Duxiu and and Mao Zedong into the halls of the original campus of Peking University...the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement. We'll discuss how the May Fourth Demonstrations were not only the culmination of an age of intellectual dynamism but also marked a major shift in the evolution of modern China.

We'll discuss the end of the empire, the rise and fall of the Republic of China, and the origins of today's Communist Party. We'll also explore the roads not taken and we will also look at the artists and intellectuals who contributed to this era of monumental change.


The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Jul
20
10:00 am10:00

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

  • Beigongmen Metro Stop (Line 4) Exit D

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne.

Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within. But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated.

As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Jul
15
10:00 am10:00

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City

  • Tiananmen West Metro Stop (Line 1) Exit B

For nearly 600 years, the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties governed China from behind the high red walls of the Forbidden City. This walk and discussion looks at what life was like in the palace for the men and women who lived and worked there. 

We will talk about the differences between the two dynasties. The Ming were a Chinese dynasty, founded in 1368 by a commoner who rose to become emperor. The Qing Dynasty was founded by the Manchus, a people from what is today Northeast China. Beginning in 1644, the Qing Empire ruled China by conquest.

Although the Qing Dynasty ended in 1912, the imperial legacy continues to influence China’s present and future.

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing
Jul
4
10:00 am10:00

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing

  • Beihai Bei Metro Stop (Line 6) Exit B

This walk takes us around Beijing’s scenic lakes including Qianhai and Houhai. We will first visit the gorgeous former home of Guo Moruo, an author, artist, and poet who was one of the most influential Chinese scholars of the 20th century.

We will then visit the palace of Aisin-Gioro Yixin, better known as Prince Gong. The younger brother of the Xianfeng Emperor, Yixin helped defend Beijing from the Anglo-French Expeditionary Force in 1860 after his brother had fled the city. Later Yixin would become a diplomat, a reformer, and an official who suffered through a long career serving under the Empress Dowager Cixi. His palace, a Beijing landmark, is famous for its lavishly restored pavilions and gardens.

Finally, we will travel around the lakeside to the former home of Soong Ch’ing-ling, the widow of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. One of the famous “Soong Sisters” (her brothers-in-law include Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang’s finance minister H.H. Kung), she established her own legacy after her husband’s death in 1925. 

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Jul
2
9:00 am09:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

Our walk begins at Beixinqiao in the heart of historic Beijing and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Jun
30
9:00 am09:00

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven

  • Temple of Heaven (East Gate)

The Temple of Heaven features some of the most iconic architecture in Beijing. It is also a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. On this walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss the ritual and historical significance of the spaces we visit.

We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger even into the 21st century.

Along the way, we will have a chance to witness the vibrant culture of one of Beijing’s largest parks. We might see dancers, musicians, martial artists, even parents matchmaking their (often unsuspecting) grown children!

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Jun
13
10:00 am10:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Exit D)

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

Our walk begins at Beixinqiao and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.

Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens
Jun
11
1:00 pm13:00

Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens

  • Beihai Bei Metro Stop (Exit B)

The years between 1912 and 1927 marked an era of profound change in Beijing and for China. The end of the imperial era ushered in a new age of revolutionary thinking which affected not just the culture of the capital, but the very shape of the city.

We will explore this transformation as we stroll through some of Beijing’s most beautiful landscapes. Our walk takes us across the old “Imperial City,” the walled heart of the capital which contained the Forbidden City, several imperial gardens, and the residences of princes and eunuchs.  

First, we will explore Beihai Park, one of Beijing’s loveliest parks, and the lakeside gardens there which were once the private domains of the imperial court. 

We will then visit Jingshan, the 600-year-old artificial hill and former Imperial garden which on good days gives us a 360-degree view of Beijing and a stunning perspective on the Forbidden City and its environs.

Finally, we will stop at the former location of Peking University, the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement and where some of the most influential figures in modern Chinese history worked and studied. (Including a chubby intern from Hunan who would one day lead a revolution!

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing
Jun
4
10:00 am10:00

The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing

  • Beihai Bei Metro Stop (Exit B)

This walk takes us around Beijing’s scenic lakes including Qianhai and Houhai. We will first visit the gorgeous former home of Guo Moruo, an author, artist, and poet who was one of the most influential Chinese scholars of the 20th century.

We will then visit the palace of Aisin-Gioro Yixin, better known as Prince Gong. The younger brother of the Xianfeng Emperor, Yixin helped defend Beijing from the Anglo-French Expeditionary Force in 1860 after his brother had fled the city. Later Yixin would become a diplomat, a reformer, and an official who suffered through a long career serving under the Empress Dowager Cixi. His palace, a Beijing landmark, is famous for its lavishly restored pavilions and gardens.

Finally, we will travel around the lakeside to the former home of Soong Ch’ing-ling, the widow of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. One of the famous “Soong Sisters” (her brothers-in-law include Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang’s finance minister H.H. Kung), she established her own legacy after her husband’s death in 1925. 

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Jun
3
10:00 am10:00

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace

  • Yuanmingyuan Metro Stop Exit B

The Old Summer Palace contain the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, one of a series of lavish imperial gardens destroyed in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today the shattered pillars, stone foundations, and abandoned archways are a vivid reminder to visitors of the “Century of Humiliation” and the tragedy of imperialism in 19th-century China. The events of that century continue to play a role in shaping how China views the world today.

We will discuss the background to the Opium Wars and how the memories of the imperialist era are kept alive as part of China’s contemporary political culture. Along the way, we will wander the ruins and explore one of Beijing’s most beautiful historic parks. From May to October, we will also get a chance to see parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
May
30
9:00 am09:00

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

For much of China’s modern history, the area around Tiananmen has been the political epicenter for the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of recent history’s most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s history from its days as an imperial capital through the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and down to the present day.

We’ll visit the Beijing Urban Planning Hall (a fascinating museum in desperate need of a catchier name!) and explore Tiananmen Square. We will conclude our stroll by taking in two of Beijing’s most beautiful parks, both former imperial spaces that were part of the Forbidden City.

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the political significance of Tiananmen, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to modern megalopolis.

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
May
27
10:00 am10:00

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

  • Beigongmen Metro Stop (Exit D)

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne.

Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within. But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated.

As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

 Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens
May
21
1:00 pm13:00

Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens

  • Bei Hai Bei Metro Stop (Exit B)

The years between 1912 and 1927 marked an era of profound change in Beijing and for China. The end of the imperial era ushered in a new age of revolutionary thinking which affected not just the culture of the capital, but the very shape of the city.

We will explore this transformation as we stroll through some of Beijing’s most beautiful landscapes. Our walk takes us across the old “Imperial City,” the walled heart of the capital which contained the Forbidden City, several imperial gardens, and the residences of princes and eunuchs.  

First, we will explore Beihai Park, one of Beijing’s loveliest parks, and the lakeside gardens there which were once the private domains of the imperial court. 

We will then visit Jingshan, the 600-year-old artificial hill and former Imperial garden which on good days gives us a 360-degree view of Beijing and a stunning perspective on the Forbidden City and its environs.

We will stop at the former location of Peking University, the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement and where some of the most influential figures in modern Chinese history worked and studied. (Including a chubby intern from Hunan who would one day lead a revolution!

Finally, we will visit the former residence of Beijing's most beloved author, Lao She. Lao She wrote such classics as Rickshaw Boy, Teahouse, and Cat Country but came to a tragic end during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
May
20
10:00 am10:00

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

For much of China’s modern history, the area around Tiananmen has been the political epicenter for the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of recent history’s most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s history from its days as an imperial capital through the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and down to the present day.

We’ll visit the Beijing Urban Planning Hall (a fascinating museum in desperate need of a catchier name!) and explore Tiananmen Square. We will conclude our stroll by taking in two of Beijing’s most beautiful parks, both former imperial spaces that were part of the Forbidden City.

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the political significance of Tiananmen, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to modern megalopolis.

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
May
18
10:00 am10:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Exit D)

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
May
17
10:00 am10:00

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

  • Costa Coffee

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple/Imperial Academy are well-known for their association with Buddhism and Confucianism respectively. But these sites have also long played a significant role in state ideology and the ideology of empire building.

First, we’ll look at the religious and philosophical context for both locations. What are the origins of Buddhism in China and the Tibetan Plateau? Who was Confucius and why is he so important to China’s political culture?

Then we’ll consider how the Qing emperors appropriated the forms and functions of Tibetan Buddhism. What was the relationship between the Qianlong Emperor and the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Rolpe Dorje? Why did the emperor decide to consecrate his father’s palace as a Lama Temple? This connection between the state and Buddhism in Tibet has had profound implications for the history of Beijing’s relationship with the Tibetan Plateau.

At the Confucian Temple, we will talk about how Confucianism became the dominant ruling ideology and the role that the system of exams and academies, notably the adjoining Imperial College, played in perpetuating Confucianism through the centuries. How did students navigate the perilous journey through the exam system and what kinds of shortcuts might tempt the less scrupulous candidates?

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
May
7
1:00 pm13:00

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City

  • Tiananmen West Metro

For nearly 600 years, the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties governed China from behind the high red walls of the Forbidden City. This walk and discussion looks at what life was like in the palace for the men and women who lived and worked there. 

We will talk about the differences between the two dynasties. The Ming were a Chinese dynasty, founded in 1368 by a commoner who rose to become emperor. The Qing Dynasty was founded by the Manchus, a people from what is today Northeast China. Beginning in 1644, the Qing Empire ruled China by conquest.

Although the Qing Dynasty ended in 1912, the imperial legacy continues to influence China’s present and future.

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
May
6
10:00 am10:00

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace

  • Yuanmingyuan Metro

The Old Summer Palace contain the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, one of a series of lavish imperial gardens destroyed in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today the shattered pillars, stone foundations, and abandoned archways are a vivid reminder to visitors of the “Century of Humiliation” and the tragedy of imperialism in 19th-century China. The events of that century continue to play a role in shaping how China views the world today.

We will discuss the background to the Opium Wars and how the memories of the imperialist era are kept alive as part of China’s contemporary political culture. Along the way, we will wander the ruins and explore one of Beijing’s most beautiful historic parks. From May to October, we will also get a chance to see parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Apr
29
9:00 am09:00

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven

  • Temple of Heaven East Gate

The Temple of Heaven features some of the most iconic architecture in Beijing. It is also a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. On this walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss the ritual and historical significance of the spaces we visit.

We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger even into the 21st century.

Along the way, we will have a chance to witness the vibrant culture of one of Beijing’s largest parks. We might see dancers, musicians, martial artists, even parents matchmaking their (often unsuspecting) grown children!

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Apr
28
10:00 am10:00

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

  • Outside Beigongmen Metro (Exit D)

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne.

Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within. But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated.

As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Apr
27
10:00 am10:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • The Hutong

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

Our walk begins at The Hutong venue and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Apr
26
10:00 am10:00

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

For much of China’s modern history, the area around Tiananmen has been the political epicenter for the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of recent history’s most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s history from its days as an imperial capital through the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and down to the present day.

We’ll visit the Beijing Urban Planning Hall (a fascinating museum in desperate need of a catchier name!) and explore Tiananmen Square. We will conclude our stroll by taking in two of Beijing’s most beautiful parks, both former imperial spaces that were part of the Forbidden City.

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the political significance of Tiananmen, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to modern megalopolis.

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Apr
22
10:00 am10:00

The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City

  • Tiananmen West Metro Stop Exit B

Cost: 300 RMB (260 RMB for members of The Hutong) includes all guide fees and admission tickets

For nearly 600 years, the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties governed China from behind the high red walls of the Forbidden City. This walk and discussion looks at what life was like in the palace for the men and women who lived and worked there. 

We will talk about the differences between the two dynasties. The Ming were a Chinese dynasty, founded in 1368 by a commoner who rose to become emperor. The Qing Dynasty was founded by the Manchus, a people from what is today Northeast China. Beginning in 1644, the Qing Empire ruled China by conquest.

Although the Qing Dynasty ended in 1912, the imperial legacy continues to influence China’s present and future.

Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens
Apr
21
10:00 am10:00

Revolution, Restoration, and China's Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing's Imperial Parks and Gardens

  • Beihai Bei Metro Stop (Exit B)

The years between 1912 and 1927 marked an era of profound change in Beijing and for China. The end of the imperial era ushered in a new age of revolutionary thinking which affected not just the culture of the capital, but the very shape of the city.

We will explore this transformation as we stroll through some of Beijing’s most beautiful landscapes. Our walk takes us across the old “Imperial City,” the walled heart of the capital which contained the Forbidden City, several imperial gardens, and the residences of princes and eunuchs.  

We will stop at the former location of Peking University, the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement and where some of the most influential figures in modern Chinese history worked and studied. (Including a chubby intern from Hunan who would one day lead a revolution!)

We will then visit Jingshan, the 600-year-old artificial hill and former Imperial garden which on good days gives us a 360-degree view of Beijing and a stunning perspective on the Forbidden City and its environs.

Finally, we will explore Beihai Park, one of Beijing’s loveliest parks, and the lakeside gardens there which were once the private domains of the imperial court. 

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Apr
19
10:00 am10:00

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

  • In front of Costa Coffee

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple/Imperial Academy are well-known for their association with Buddhism and Confucianism respectively. But these sites have also long played a significant role in state ideology and the ideology of empire building.

First, we’ll look at the religious and philosophical context for both locations. What are the origins of Buddhism in China and the Tibetan Plateau? Who was Confucius and why is he so important to China’s political culture?

Then we’ll consider how the Qing emperors appropriated the forms and functions of Tibetan Buddhism. What was the relationship between the Qianlong Emperor and the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Rolpe Dorje? Why did the emperor decide to consecrate his father’s palace as a Lama Temple? This connection between the state and Buddhism in Tibet has had profound implications for the history of Beijing’s relationship with the Tibetan Plateau.

At the Confucian Temple, we will talk about how Confucianism became the dominant ruling ideology and the role that the system of exams and academies, notably the adjoining Imperial College, played in perpetuating Confucianism through the centuries. How did students navigate the perilous journey through the exam system and what kinds of shortcuts might tempt the less scrupulous candidates?

Hiking Through History: The Great Wall at Gubeikou
Apr
16
4:00 pm16:00

Hiking Through History: The Great Wall at Gubeikou

  • Dongzhimen Metro Stop (Outside Exit C)

Did it work? Why was it built? And did the Chinese ever try and make the Mongolians pay for the wall?

This interpretative walk and discussion explores the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall. While we hike along this majestic and relatively quiet stretch of wall,  Jeremiah Jenne and Hiking Guide Simon Ashmore will share their insights into the history and ecology of our route. We’ll discuss who built the wall and why and bust a few Great Wall myths along the way. We’ll also look at the habitat and ecosystem created by the wall and how the environment shaped its construction and maintenance. Along the way, we'll stop for our packed lunches (please bring your own!) and talk about efforts to preserve the Great Wall - and what the Wall means for residents of the local community today.

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Apr
4
1:00 pm13:00

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

  • Costa Coffee

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple/Imperial Academy are well-known for their association with Buddhism and Confucianism respectively. But these sites have also long played a significant role in state ideology and the ideology of empire building.

First, we’ll look at the religious and philosophical context for both locations. What are the origins of Buddhism in China and the Tibetan Plateau? Who was Confucius and why is he so important to China’s political culture?

Then we’ll consider how the Qing emperors appropriated the forms and functions of Tibetan Buddhism. What was the relationship between the Qianlong Emperor and the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Rolpe Dorje? Why did the emperor decide to consecrate his father’s palace as a Lama Temple? This connection between the state and Buddhism in Tibet has had profound implications for the history of Beijing’s relationship with the Tibetan Plateau.

At the Confucian Temple, we will talk about how Confucianism became the dominant ruling ideology and the role that the system of exams and academies, notably the adjoining Imperial College, played in perpetuating Confucianism through the centuries. How did students navigate the perilous journey through the exam system and what kinds of shortcuts might tempt the less scrupulous candidates?

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Apr
2
1:00 pm13:00

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

  • Outside Beigongmen Metro Stop (Exit D)

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne.

Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within. But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated.

As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Apr
1
1:00 pm13:00

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

  • The Hutong

Cost: 260 RMB (220 RMB for members of The Hutong) includes all guide fees and admission tickets

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the Beijing hutongs. One of the capital’s most distinctive features, the hutongs have long been at the core of Beijing’s urban culture. This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng district, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. It is also an area with a vibrant present, as old spaces are repurposed as new commercial and residential spaces. We will discuss the history of the hutongs in the imperial period, who lived there and why.

Our walk begins at The Hutong venue and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Mar
30
1:00 pm13:00

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

  • Costa Coffee

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple/Imperial Academy are well-known for their association with Buddhism and Confucianism respectively. But these sites have also long played a significant role in state ideology and the ideology of empire building.

First, we’ll look at the religious and philosophical context for both locations. What are the origins of Buddhism in China and the Tibetan Plateau? Who was Confucius and why is he so important to China’s political culture?

Then we’ll consider how the Qing emperors appropriated the forms and functions of Tibetan Buddhism. What was the relationship between the Qianlong Emperor and the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Rolpe Dorje? Why did the emperor decide to consecrate his father’s palace as a Lama Temple? This connection between the state and Buddhism in Tibet has had profound implications for the history of Beijing’s relationship with the Tibetan Plateau.

At the Confucian Temple, we will talk about how Confucianism became the dominant ruling ideology and the role that the system of exams and academies, notably the adjoining Imperial College, played in perpetuating Confucianism through the centuries. How did students navigate the perilous journey through the exam system and what kinds of shortcuts might tempt the less scrupulous candidates?

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Mar
29
9:00 am09:00

In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven

  • Temple of Heaven (East Gate)

Cost: 300 RMB (260 RMB for members of The Hutong) includes all guide fees and admission tickets

The Temple of Heaven features some of the most iconic architecture in Beijing. It is also a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. On this walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss the ritual and historical significance of the spaces we visit.

We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger even into the 21st century.

Along the way, we will have a chance to witness the vibrant culture of one of Beijing’s largest parks. We might see dancers, musicians, martial artists, even parents matchmaking their (often unsuspecting) grown children!