‘Picturing China’ on film, and in Shanghai

As part of a series of events and films marking its tenth anniversary year, the AHRC, which funds the BICC though its LBAS scheme, has made a short film about the ‘Historical Photographs of China‘ project at the University of Bristol. The project has received a lot of support from BICC and the AHRC, and is also being showcased on 2-4 March at the government’s UK Trade & Investment’s ‘GREAT Festival of Creativity’ in Shanghai.

Crossover Videos: Westerners in China and Chinese in the UK

Three documentary videos and discussion

Time: June 16, 2014 from 3-6.30pm

Place: London School of Economics, St Clements Building, STCS.75


Sponsored by the British Inter-university China Centre (BICC). Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council



3.00-3:15       Introduction, Robert Bickers and William A. Callahan

3:15-5:30       Video screening

3:15-3:45      “Robert Hart: For China and the World”; Jeremy Routledge & Robert Bickers

3:50-4:15      “Uncle Chuck: The Shanghailander”; William A. Callahan

4:15-4:45      “BBC” (British Born Chinese); Elena Barabantseva, Andy Lawrence, Ben Cheetham, Tom Turner

4:45-6:30      Panel discussion: Video documentary in humanities and social science research

Chair: Jeffrey Wasserstrom (UC, Irvine)

Panelists: Bickers, Routledge, Callahan, Barabantseva, Cheetham, Turner

Any questions, please contact w.callahan@lse.ac.uk


Robert Hart: For China and the World (31 minutes)

Robert Bickers (Bristol University) and Jeremy Routledge (Calling the Shots films)

‘For China and the World’ explores the largely forgotten history of Britain in China from the 1850s to the early 1900s through the life of Irishman Sir Robert Hart. Hart was the inspector general of China’s Imperial Maritime Customs from 1863 to 1911. An employee of China’s ruling Qing dynasty, he played a crucial role in the economic development of the country and in its interaction with foreign powers. Filmed in Shanghai and Northern Ireland, the film outlines the personal and political conflicts that motivated one of the most important foreign figures in Chinese history, as well as his legacy today.

Trailer: www.roberthartfilm.org


“Uncle Chuck: The Shanghailander (22 minutes)

Bill Callahan (London School of Economics)

What was it like to be an American in Shanghai in the 1920s? ‘Uncle Chuck: The Shanghailander’ examines the life-style of an American businessman who went to Shanghai in 1924, and left just ahead of the Red Army in 1949. It chronicles Chuck’s journey from small-town America to cosmopolitan Shanghai, and shows how he pursued the American Dream in inter-war China. The film puts the details of his family history in the context of global imperial history, when Shanghai was controlled by Europeans, Americans and Japanese.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/47901393


BBC (British Born Chinese) (30 minutes)

Elena Barabantseva (University of Manchester), Andy Lawrence, Ben Cheetham, Tom Turner (All Rites Reversed Films)

Little is known about life in the British Chinese community, which remains invisible to the public eye.  Daniel (age 11) and Kevin (age 13) are Chinese boys born in England, and this film explores how they fuse their Britishness with a strong sense of Chinese identity.  We look at the boys’ experiences at school and how they relate to people in their neighbourhoods, how they formulate their belonging and to what extent they feel they are stigmatised for being different. This is a ‘coming of age’ story, not just of two boys but of a community.  What can we expect from the next generation of British born Chinese?

Trailer: http://www.allritesreversed.co.uk/british-born-chinese.html

For China and the World: Sir Robert Hart

In the winter of 2012-13 BICC collaborated with Dr Weipin Tsai (Royal Holloway University of London), and Professor Hans van de Ven (Cambridge) on a project to restore the decrepit gravestone of Sir Robert Hart and Hester, Lady Hart. The Harts are buried in Bisham, near Marlow, yards from the bank of the River Thames. The initiative culminated in a rededication ceremony held in the churchyard on a cold February day in 2013.

A new 31 minute film, ‘For China and the World’, documents this process, and explores the story and legacy of Robert Hart, who for six decades led China’s Imperial Maritime Customs service. With narration by Tim Pigott-Smith, the documentary assess the private and public worlds of this enigmatic figure. The film gets its world premiere on Saturday 29 March during the Asian Film Expo at the 2014 annual meeting of the US Association for Asian Studies in Philadelphia. You can catch the trailer here, and copies of the DVD can be purchased here.

Director Jeremy Routledge, from Calling the Shots, and co-producer Robert Bickers, will be on hand for a Q & A after the film screening: 2:10pm room 309/310, Marriott Downtown Philadelphia. The film will be shown at Queen’s University Belfast this coming May, and in London, on 12 June.

China Dreams: The Debate

China Dreams: The Debate
, Directed by Bill Callahan.

Bill Callahan’s film gets a screening as part of the AAS Film Expo, followed by a Q & A with the director himself. When: Saturday, 03/29/14, 2:50pm

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping made the ‘China Dream’ his official slogan, many people inside and outside the PRC have been asking ‘What is the China Dream?’ Is it for national greatness or for a comfortable life? This 11 minute video’s provocative approach will inspire student discussions of Chinese identity, politics and international relations.

Next month Bill is presenting another film he has directed at the Ethnografilm Festival in Paris: “Border Crossings”. Time: Friday April 18, 2014, 3:00pm. Venue: Cine 13, 1 Avenue Junot, 75018 Paris, France

Borders not only separate things, but are the place where people come together. “Border Crossings” (10 min.) examines how Chinese and non-Chinese people experience their encounters with the Other (and thus with their Self) at the Lo Wu Bridge, the iconic border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

费城: BICC goes to Philadelphia

BICC has a strong presence at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, which is taking place in Philadelphia on 27-30 March. (In Mandarin Chinese it is 费城: Feicheng). BICC researchers have organised four panels, and contribute to several others. Two BICC-funded films were also accepted for screening in the AAS Film Expo: ‘For China and the World‘, produced by Robert Bickers and Calling the Shots, and ‘China Dreams: The Debate‘, directed by Professor Wiliam Callahan.

Dr Margaret Hillenbrand (Oxford) has organised a panel on ‘The Past and Present of Digital Culture in China‘, William Callahan has organised ‘China Dreams: Historical, Theoretical, and Policy Perspectives on the PRC’s Future‘, which explores in a multidisciplinary way the meaning of the concept ‘The China Dream-Zhongguo meng’ which was introduced by Xi Jinping soon after he was appointed the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. This term struck a chord in China, becoming the “hottest term” of 2012 according to Beijing’s State Language Commission. Former BICC researcher Kelvin Cheung (The Hong Kong Institute of Education) is also presenting on the panel.

Anna Lora-Wainwright (Oxford) has co-organised a panel with Yanhua Deng on ‘Protest and Policing in Contemporary China‘, chaired by Prof. Kevin O’Brien and with Prof. Guobin Yang acting as discussant. The panel examines contention and policing in contemporary China.  It looks at various forces involved in protest control, including the police, work units, social ties, and information communication technologies (ICTs).  It also highlights the range of strategies citizens use to fight back against repression, such as resorting to elite allies and ICTs-based mobilization.  Focusing on one in-depth case study of high-profile resistance in a rural setting. Dr Rachel Silberstein (Oxford) has co-organised with Buyun Chen, of Swarthmore College, a panel on ‘Fashioning Textiles, Fabricating Fashion: The Technology of Cloth and Clothing from Seventh to Twentieth Century China‘, which  explores how the production and consumption of textiles shaped fashion in Chinese history.

Robert Bickers is participating in a roundtable assessing the impact and legacy of Paul Cohen’s 1984 volume Discovering History in China, while Professor Barend ter Haar (Oxford) is chairing another roundtable on ‘Literacy and Writing in Premodern China‘. Manchester network co-ordinators Pierre Fuller and Jane Caple are also presenting.