In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Feb
24
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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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 Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Feb
28
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

View Event →

Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing
Nov
30
1:30 PM13:30

Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s unique local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways while also visiting essential landmarks along the edge of the old city.  Our walk will take us through the neighborhoods around Dengshikou and Dongsi which during the late-19th and early-20th centuries was where many of Old Peking's elite lived and worked.

We'll discuss the lives of missionaries, scientists, diplomats, ministers, and Hua Guofeng, the unfortunate successor to Chairman Mao. We'll also look at daily life in the hutong neighborhoods of Beijing and talk about the evolution of these spaces and what the future development of Beijing means for the preservation of historic neighborhoods in the capital.

We'll also visit the Zhihua Temple and watch a performance of Ming Dynasty court music performed on traditional instruments and spend some time exploring the Shijia Hutong Museum, one of the best museums in the city.

The walk will take about three hours and begin and end at the Dengshikou Metro Stop (Line 5).

Duration: About three hours

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Nov
29
10:00 AM10:00

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

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

View Event →
The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City
Nov
24
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 →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Nov
18
2:00 PM14:00

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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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 →
Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Nov
17
2:00 PM14:00

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 of the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of history's most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s past 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.

During this two-hour walk, 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, the events which have made Tiananmen Square famous around the world, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to a modern megalopolis.

View Event →
The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Nov
4
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We'll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China. 

View Event →
Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Nov
1
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

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.

But this walk is more than  just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing's urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing's historic center? 

While we wander the hutongs, we'll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.

Walk Duration: About two to three hours

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 Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Oct
28
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We'll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China. 

View Event →
Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Oct
21
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 of the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of history's most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s past 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.

During this two-hour walk, 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, the events which have made Tiananmen Square famous around the world, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to a modern megalopolis.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Oct
20
2:00 PM14:00

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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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
18
1:00 PM13:00

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

The year was 1919. Just seven years earlier, a revolution had swept away the last crumbling vestiges of the old imperial system. From the ashes of the Qing Dynasty, a new republic was born and then betrayed. Since then, China had become a failed state. Much of the country was in the hands of warlords or foreign powers outside the control of a weak and corrupt government in Beijing. 

The generation which came of age in this decade would rise to the challenges of the era. On May 4, 1919 they took to the streets of Beijing in a massive demonstration which gave birth to Modern China. Their experiences and ideas during what became known as the May Fourth Era left a powerful legacy which continues nearly a century later. 

This two-hour walk and discussion will visit the epicenter of the May Fourth Movement: the original campus of Peking University. There we will meet the scholars and students who defined a generation and gave rise to a nation. 

We'll also discuss the end of the empire and the rise and fall of the Republic of China, and the origins of the Chinese Communist Party as we explore some of the hidden byways around the old campus and visit the relics and residences of Beijing's old intelligentsia. 

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Oct
14
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

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

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.

But this walk is more than  just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing's urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing's historic center? 

While we wander the hutongs, we'll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.

Walk Duration: About two to three hours

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 Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Oct
10
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We'll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China. 

View Event →
Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion
Oct
7
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 of the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of history's most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s past 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.

During this two-hour walk, 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, the events which have made Tiananmen Square famous around the world, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to a modern megalopolis.

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Oct
5
2:00 PM14:00

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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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 →
Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Oct
1
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.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Sep
30
10:00 AM10:00

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

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

View Event →
Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing
Sep
29
1:30 PM13:30

Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s unique local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways while also visiting essential landmarks along the edge of the old city.  Our walk will take us through the neighborhoods around Dengshikou and Dongsi which during the late-19th and early-20th centuries was where many of Old Peking's elite lived and worked.

We'll discuss the lives of missionaries, scientists, diplomats, ministers, and Hua Guofeng, the unfortunate successor to Chairman Mao. We'll also look at daily life in the hutong neighborhoods of Beijing and talk about the evolution of these spaces and what the future development of Beijing means for the preservation of historic neighborhoods in the capital.

We'll also visit the Zhihua Temple and watch a performance of Ming Dynasty court music performed on traditional instruments and spend some time exploring the Shijia Hutong Museum, one of the best museums in the city.

The walk will take about three hours and begin and end at the Dengshikou Metro Stop (Line 5).

Duration: About three hours

View Event →
Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Sep
27
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

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.

But this walk is more than  just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing's urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing's historic center? 

While we wander the hutongs, we'll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.

Walk Duration: About two to three hours

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 Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace
Sep
23
10:00 AM10:00

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

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We'll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China. 

View Event →
In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the Temple of Heaven
Sep
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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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 →
Manchus in the Palace: Myths, Legends, and History at the Forbidden City
Sep
15
2:00 PM14:00

Manchus in the Palace: Myths, Legends, and History at the Forbidden City

Interested in learning more about the Forbidden City but prefer to avoid the crowds and the lines? History guy Jeremiah Jenne brings the best of his Forbidden City walk and talk to the comfortable confines of The Hutong. Learn about the backstory of Beijing as an imperial capital and the construction of the Forbidden City. We’ll explore the history of the emperors, eunuchs, officials, and concubines who lived and worked there. We’ll discuss the differences between Ming and Qing, the legacy of the Manchus, and the past, present, and future efforts to preserve Beijing’s most famous palace. Jeremiah will also share his favorite travel hacks for visiting the palace!

View Event →
Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Sep
11
10:00 AM10:00

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

  • Yuanmingyuan Metro Stop Exit B (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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 →
Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing
Sep
2
1:30 PM13:30

Missionaries, Ministers, and Musicians: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Beijing

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s unique local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways while also visiting essential landmarks along the edge of the old city.  Our walk will take us through the neighborhoods around Dengshikou and Dongsi which during the late-19th and early-20th centuries was where many of Old Peking's elite lived and worked.

We'll discuss the lives of missionaries, scientists, diplomats, ministers, and Hua Guofeng, the unfortunate successor to Chairman Mao. We'll also look at daily life in the hutong neighborhoods of Beijing and talk about the evolution of these spaces and what the future development of Beijing means for the preservation of historic neighborhoods in the capital.

We'll also visit the Zhihua Temple and watch a performance of Ming Dynasty court music performed on traditional instruments and spend some time exploring the Shijia Hutong Museum, one of the best museums in the city.

The walk will take about three hours and begin and end at the Dengshikou Metro Stop (Line 5).

Duration: About three hours

View Event →
Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace
Aug
12
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
Aug
11
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 one of the city's largest public parks and a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side. 

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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
Aug
9
10:00 AM10:00

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

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We'll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China. 

From May to October, we will also get a chance to explore parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

View Event →
The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple
Aug
5
1:00 PM13:00

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

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) and the Confucian Temple are physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.  

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy, students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At Yonghegong (The Lama Temple), we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau. The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

This walk will explore both sites and offer insight into the history of Confucianism and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism while exploring two of Beijing's most famous and celebrated historic sites.

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Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng
Aug
4
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

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.

But this walk is more than  just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing's urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing's historic center? 

While we wander the hutongs, we'll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.

Walk Duration: About two to three hours

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.

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