Recreating Beijing: A Changing City and Citizenry, 1914-1984

Public lecture on leisure spaces in Beijing from 1914-1984

Image of citizens in Zhongshan park, Beijing

Date: Tuesday, October 18
Time: 4 pm – 5 pm
Venue: AM101, Alan MacDiarmid Building, VUW (map to the venue)
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Drawn from a current book project on leisure in Beijing since 1949, this talk will examine the display of modernity in one public park from the 1910s to the 1970s and the curious case of the invention of leisure in 1980.  Zhongshan Park (originally called Central Park) opened in 1914 on the site of an imperial sacrificial altar.  It soon attracted middle-class men and women to enjoy their leisure in a mix of ancient and modern surroundings.  By the 1960s the park was also a place to signal further changes in social behaviour. Despite this history of modern leisure, the start of the post-Cultural Revolution Opening Up seemed to require popular assurance that taking time off was a good thing.

About the Speaker

Paul Clark is Professor of Chinese at the University of Auckland. A specialist in post-1949 Chinese cultural and social history, he has published on film, Cultural Revolution culture and changing youth cultures since the 1960s.  He contributes to the work of the New Zealand Centre at Peking University, where he studied in the mid-1970s.