Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Nov
25
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
May Fourth and the Birth of Modern China: A Walk and Discussion
Nov
26
1:00 PM13:00

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

  • Wangfujing (St. Joseph's) Cathedral (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Nov
22
1:00 PM13:00

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

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Nov
19
2:00 PM14:00

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

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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Nov
18
1:00 PM13:00

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

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?

View Event →
The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Nov
15
1:00 PM13:00

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

  • Beigongmen Metro Stop (Exit D) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Nov
12
9:00 AM09:00

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

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 two-hour 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!

View Event →
The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Nov
11
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Oct
22
9:00 AM09:00

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

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 two-hour 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!

View Event →
The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Oct
21
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Oct
18
10:00 AM10:00

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

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?

View Event →
Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Oct
12
1:00 PM13:00

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

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Oct
9
1:00 PM13:00

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

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?

View Event →
The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Oct
8
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Oct
5
10:00 AM10:00

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

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.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Oct
4
9:00 AM09:00

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

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 two-hour 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!

View Event →
May Fourth and the Birth of Modern China: A Walk and Discussion
Oct
3
10:00 AM10:00

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

  • Wangfujing (St. Joseph's) Cathedral (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Oct
1
10:00 AM10:00

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

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Sep
30
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Sep
28
10:00 AM10:00

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

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?

View Event →
The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Sep
17
1:00 PM13:00

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

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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Sep
10
10:00 AM10:00

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

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?

View Event →
The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Sep
9
10:00 AM10:00

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

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.

View Event →
The Prince, the Widow and the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing
Sep
7
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 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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. 

View Event →
Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Sep
6
10:00 AM10:00

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

  • Beixinqiao Metro Stop (Line 5) Exit D (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Sep
3
9:00 AM09:00

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

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 two-hour 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!

View Event →
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 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Aug
29
10:00 AM10:00

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

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
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 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

View Event →
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

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.

View Event →
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

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.

View Event →