Saturday, March 18, 2006


Here is my school--
The China Youth University of Political Sciences
The red banner says "Civilized Society, Civilized People, Civilized Transportation, Civilized Roads"

The school is run by the Communist Youth League. It's on the grounds of the Central CYL School (中央团校), originally established in 1948. The China Youth University for Political Sciences was established as a supplementary school (with a size surpassing the CYL school) here in 1985. The name is a bit misleading--they don't have a political science department yet. That's on the way. They excel in social work and work with juveniles.

The University is small as Beijing universities go. A number of schools in the neighborhood here, such as the Nationalities University, People's University, Beijing University, and Beijing Foreign Studies University, dwarf it in size.

Here is the door at the guard gate: "Hello, Comrade!"
In spite of the Communist Youth League affiliation and the "comrade" business on the door, I don't think that there are many--if any--true believing communists here.

I am not taking classes here, but my institutional affiliation is here. I was introduced to a professor here, Meng Dengying,
by my good friend Viren Murthy back in Chicago. Mr. Meng has a strong interest in Western critical theory and Marxism. He did his Ph.D. thesis on Althusser's theory of ideology. He's more of a theoretician than an activist, but he does try hard to encourage students to spend time working in the poverty-sticken areas in western China. He was eager to introduce me to his students, to let them know that there are Marxists in the United States. Most of his students, like most students in China, think that Marxism is all crap.

I live in the foreign students' dorm. The other students in the dormatory are Koreans, Indonesians, and Japanese. I believe I am the only native English speaker on the campus. Right outside my dorm room they're building a new dorm. They work on it late into the night, maybe all night.
The workers, like most construction workers all over China, are mostly mingong--people from the countryside who have come into the city for work. I'll say a little more about mingong in a later post.

The construction work adds a layer of dust to the ambient dust. The windy season--the time of year when dust blows off of the desert into the city--is just winding down here. Everything outside gets very quickly, and sometimes there are huge gusts of wind that make it difficult to walk or throw a bit of grit into your face. The wind blows down the big signs put up around campus announcing the daily or weekly events.


Anonymous Mom said...

How about posting pictures of your host prof and the students?

Thu Mar 23, 11:27:00 AM  

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