Andrea Riemenschnitter, Chair Professor of Modern Chinese Studies at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University Zurich was surprised when she received an invitation for a four week scholarship entitled “Understanding China” at Fudan University, considering that she has already “been in the business” for some years. Strolling through the streets of Shanghai and seeing the Chinese New Year’s posters, with illustrations that were familiar to her, Professor Riemenschnitter started to dig deeper. She learned that a whole campaign promoting “Zhongguo Meng” was based on the illustrations of Feng Zikai, and was surprised that the campaign already started in 2013. Even after several recent visits to Beijing, she hasn’t heard about that before. Therefore Professor Riemenschnitter really had to come to Shanghai to understand China and received a lot of inputs for her project about environmental modernization, and how it is represented in cultural production.

Thanks to the Professor’s initiative to meet the local Alumni during her stay, we could organize a lecture that attracted a lot of interest and therefore was very well attended. The big audience received an insight into Prof Riemenschnitter’s research project, on which she is already working since 2011, as well as some funny anecdotes as the one mentioned before. Rather unfamiliar with the aspects of cultural studies, many were surprised by the broad variety of topics Andrea Riemenschnitter brought up, and the different media she worked with.  All the official propaganda materials, literary sources and unofficial web cartoons presented triggered different interpretations from the audience, and the question about a Swiss Dream, lead to long and lively discussions between Swiss and Chinese Alumni.

-          contributed by Isabel Bolliger, Junior Project Leader in cooperation with UZH