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The Power of Collectivism

In The Art of Travel, 6. Book #1, Shanghai by Irina2 Comments

I sense that the common theme in Jack Livings’ short story collection, The Dog, is the power of collectivism in Chinese society. The various protagonists in his stories deal with the pressures and expectations of belonging in a community or family. The concept of “saving face” plays a large part in these stories as characters’ thoughts seem to contradict their …

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The Chronicles of China: The Dog, The Heir, and The Pocketbook

In The Art of Travel, 6. Book #1, Shanghai by Brooke1 Comment

The Dog by Jack Livings is a collection of short stories that epitomize the lives or varied individuals throughout China. I believe Livings wrote these stories for an American audience as they play with common themes and stereotypes that are often verbalized in American society. For example, the very first short story that Livings presents us with is titled “The …

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The Dark Underbelly of China

In The Art of Travel, 6. Book #1, Shanghai by Rachel2 Comments

The key to understanding China is that there is always something more going on behind the scenes. In his collection of short stories, Jack Livings takes the representation of China that most travelers have heard of, like high work ethic, gang violence, and the myth of locals eating dogs, and flips it over, exposing a more nuanced and stirring portrayal …

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Golden Week in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

In The Art of Travel, 5. Politics, Shanghai by Yuka Niwa2 Comments

Chinese politics is both complicated and straightforward depending on who you talk to. On October 1st, China celebrated “国庆节” (Guoqing jie) or the National Day of the People’s Republic of China which also marks the first day of ‘Golden Week’, a week long holiday for Chinese Nationals and NYU Shanghai students. October 1st is the “official” day for when the …

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A Hopeful Future

In The Art of Travel, 5. Politics, Shanghai by Rachel1 Comment

In my Chinese class, I learned that the Chinese language doesn’t use gendered pronouns. Instead, the word ta refers to he/him and she/her pronouns. According to The Economist, it was sometimes hard to tell if 9th century Chinese love poetry, during the Golden Age of Chinese literature, was directed towards men or women. Currently in mainland China, homosexuality is no …

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The Cat of Century Ave

In The Art of Travel, 4. The Spirit of Place, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

In the hedge that separates NYU Shanghai from its office building neighbor lives a little cat. I’ve seen this cat a couple of times while passing through to enter the building’s hidden 7/11 convenience store but only recently started sitting down and petting it. I’ve often seen her basking in the sun, enjoying the attention of NYU students and office …

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Leaping Forwards with the “Digital” Spirit of Shanghai

In The Art of Travel, 4. The Spirit of Place, Shanghai by Yuka Niwa2 Comments

Shanghai is a city that seamlessly combines the east and the west, the modern with the traditional. There are buildings that look as though they were taken from the future and editions of sports cars parked alongside the road that haven’t been released yet in many countries, yet there are also groups of old ladies dancing “guang-chang wu” (courtyard dance) …

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The Soul in Shanghai’s Labyrinth

In The Art of Travel, 4. The Spirit of Place, Shanghai by Brooke1 Comment

“The great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not too much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly—but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the feeling, that mysterious sense of rapport, of identity with the ground”—Lawrence Durrell, “Landscape and Character”. I can not tell you the …