Month: July 2009


Cultural Politics / German / Hip-hop / Music

and in the meantime If all of the Teutonic sludge being slung around this blog is getting a bit heavy for you, then be comforted.  Prose was composed to the accompaniment of the oft-beloved, more often criticized, German rapper Bushido.   Bushido is a bit of a fraud — for all of his bravado and mini-forays into crudities, he still lives with his mom in Berlin — but I am simply very motivated by the tempo, […]

Remembering Tiananmen and 1989 in Europe [1]

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China / Cultural Politics / Sino-German Relations

June 4, 1989 may lay buried under new epochs already, but the meaning of that date for China and its observers is clearly going to continue reverberate for decades. The Germans, perhaps most of all.  China was, and remains, highly sensitive to commemorations of June 4, 1989, but for Germans, the inspiration of the Chinese student movement of the 1980s, and the violent end to the spectacle, acted as catalysts for deep introspection and mobilization […]


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Victory is doing good things you never thought you could do. Sunbeams strike the carrefour here in this foreign land, and, amid stone chambers, shapely vowels, the ungeheurerlich complexities of Gaul, arcs of joy cut inexplicably into my sternum. How can this be?  Is it not unseemly to declench oneself? Striding toward towers crowned by mute and lovely angels, I heave up great irrevocable laughs as I became somewhat less foreign to myself.

China’s Xinjiang Crisis [1]

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China / Chinese nationalism

Since the Xinjiang crisis erupted into violence on July 5*, I had a chance to view this problem from a few unique perspectives: 1. When the violence broke out, I was in China smack in the heart of another stronghold of nationalities, that is, the Korean Autonomous regions and counties on the border with North Korea, checking out the appeals for ethnic harmony.   The Koreans didn’t seem to give a damn about the Uighurs and […]

Qianmen: The Foreigner’s Lament [I]

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Art / Chinese Avant-Garde / Chinese nationalism / Cultural Politics / East Asian modernity / Pensee

(Note: Chinese characters may not display properly due to Turkish-style computer in Berlin via which this entry is being uploaded.) Preface: The connection of Tiananmen Square with political theater has been well documented by all number of scholars and observers, most often with reference to the 1989 student movement which culminated in the chaos of June 4. In my own visits to that space in Beijing, I have tried to resist what might be considered […]

Hu Jintao 1984 = Hu Jintao 2009

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China / Chinese nationalism / Cultural Politics / German / Sino-German Relations

For reasons which will be made clear to me only gradually, yesterday I managed to pull a 9-5 shift at the Bundesarchiv in Berlin.  I say “will gradually become clear” because most good archival visits are like making wine: one stamps through fields of grapes, leaving with pungeant feet and drunk on fumes, yet it takes months or years for the product to age properly and for the full value of the research to become […]