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Opening reception set for Tuesday for exhibit exploring Chinese young adult consumers

January 22, 2011
News Photo
Chinese couples often purchase coordinating "lovers clothes" to broadcast their relationship status.

What began as summer research into Chinese life and culture is now a new exhibit opening Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the Collier Heritage Room of Drake University Cowles Library.

The
exhibit, titled "Young Adult Identity and Consumption in Urban China,"
provides an opportunity to learn about Chinese young adults as consumers
and how they impact the global economy.

Darcie Vandegrift
created the exhibit with Drake student co-curator Rachel Crown as well
as a summer and fall student teams. Vandegrift is associate professor of
sociology and interim director of Drake's Center for Global
Citizenship.

Thanks to a fellowship and research grant from the
ASIANetwork, Vandegrift and her students spent four weeks last summer in
Nanjing, China, studying the "ba ling hou" -- Chinese urban young
adults born in the 1980s. Members of this Generation80后 grew up under
the Chinese one-child policy in a society shaped by rapid economic
transition, emergent global influences and shifting technology
landscapes.

The Drake students immersed themselves in many
different facets of Generation 80后 life, from bookstores to karaoke
bars, to learn about how young adults perceive purchases of everyday
things as a way of showing who they are.


News Photo
From bookstores to karaoke bars, Drake students immersed themselves in many facets of Generation 80后 life.

"This generation is so
fascinating because they eat, think and consume products far differently
than older generations, those that lived through the Cultural
Revolution and grew up with Confucian and more traditional ideals," said
Xian Zhang, a graduate from Urbandale who went on the trip while
majoring in sociology and law, politics and society.

Vandegrift's
fall 2010 honors class then created the exhibit with photos, artifacts,
interviews collected during the Nanjing trip.

"People use
consumption as a vocabulary for solving problems," Vandegrift said. For
example, because public displays of affection are discouraged in China,
couples instead purchase coordinating "lovers clothes" to broadcast
their relationship status, she said.

The opening reception for the exhibit will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the Reading Room of Cowles Library. Vandegrift will give a
presentation on the students' research findings and the experience of
creating the exhibit. The exhibit continues through Feb. 28 and will conclude with a raffle of many of the items featured in the display.

The exhibit and lectures are all free and open to the public.

"Young Adult Identity and Consumption in Urban China "

Learn
about Chinese young adults as consumers and how they impact the global
economy. The free exhibit, developed by Drake University students,
features photos, objects and analysis brought back from a summer
research project in Nanjing.

When: Jan. 18 - Feb. 28, 2011. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11:45 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.

Where: Collier Heritage Room, Drake University Cowles Library, 2725 University Ave.

Info:http://www.balinghouproject.com/balinghou/

Sponsors: Humanities Iowa, ASIANetwork, Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler and Hagen P.C. and 10 Drake affiliate units

Exhibit opening reception and talk for "Young Adult Identity and Consumption in Urban China"

Co-curator
and faculty adviser Darcie Vandegrift
will discuss the students' research findings and
creation of the exhibit.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25

Where: Reading Room, Cowles Library

Info:http://www.balinghouproject.com/balinghou/

Sponsors: The Drake Center for the Humanities, Drake's Chinese Cultural Exchange Program and the ASIANetwork

"Contemporary China in Historical Perspective" Lecture

R.
Bin Wong
, director of the Asia Institute and professor of
history at
the University of California - Los Angeles, is regarded as one of the
top Chinese historians in the United States. His work explores why early

China and Europe took different paths.    

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15

Where: Parents Hall, Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave.

Sponsors: Humanities Iowa and Drake's Center for Global Citizenship, Chinese
Cultural Exchange Program and the Department of History



"Service Encounters: Retail Work, Consumption and Inequality in Urban China" Lecture  


Amy
Hanser,
assistant professor of sociology at the University of British
Colombia, will give a presentation based on her ethnographic study of
rules of dress and conduct in retail work in China. This talk should
appeal to anyone interested in doing business in China.

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21

Where: Reading Room, Cowles Library

Sponsors: Drake's Women's Studies Program, the Department for the Study of Culture Society and the College of Arts and Sciences