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Cultural Heritage Preservation in Modern China: Problems, Perspectives, and Potentials

Author:

Lisa Bixenstine Safford

Hiram College, US
About Lisa

Lisa Bixenstine Safford is in her twenty-sixth year of teaching art history, and is Art Department chair and Director of the new Center for Global Interaction at Hiram College.  While her expertise is in Western art, Renaissance and Modern, she has received numerous grants from NEH, Fulbright-Hays, AACU, and ASIANetwork to travel and learn in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, and India, forming the foundation for four courses, including study abroad, on Asian art and culture.

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Abstract

Beijing, motivated by the 2008 Olympics, has impressively modernizedin the past decade, replacing crumbling infrastructure and architecture, missingstreet lights, grey dirt, and weeds with wide boulevards crowded with late modelcars, ultra-modern bridges, subways, and skyscrapers. Yet, experts say, everythingin China is a trade-off. My focus is on one form of trade-off, the degradation of historicChina. Traveling in China exactly ten years after my first visit gave me opportunitiesto meet with representatives from media, education, and government, andask: how well has China maintained its cultural heritage in the face of rapid modernization?And how important is it for citizens and government to do so? Today’sChina, where “everything new is better,” must be rendered “livable” for growingnumbers of citizens who are part of an ongoing mass internal migration involvingrelocation from rural areas to rapidly burgeoning cities, increasing pressures torepurpose spaces occupied by old structures. This paper presents current problemsrelating to historic preservation, and some perspectives for the future.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.69
How to Cite: Safford, L.B., (2014). Cultural Heritage Preservation in Modern China: Problems, Perspectives, and Potentials. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts. 21(1), pp.3–15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.69
Published on 24 Feb 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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