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click on to enlarge Chatham University explores similarities between Rust Belt towns in China and America (2)

Picture: Courtesy of Chatham College

Rust and Revival in China and the U.S.

The plight of manufacturing unit cities in China’s industrial Northeast might sound fully unrelated to Pittsburgh and the encircling Rust Belt area. However Dorothee Hou, a scholar of Chinese language literature who has lived in each areas, says they share essential commonalities.

To discover them additional, Hou will go to Chatham College on Fri., Nov. 18 to talk with Allen Dieterich-Ward, an professional on Pittsburgh’s industrial historical past primarily based at Shippensburg College of Pennsylvania.

“There are positively numerous similarities,” says Hou, who teaches at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. “That is why I wished to work on the literature that got here from China’s Rust Belt.”

These similarities, says Hou, aren’t nearly shared financial and labor patterns however lengthen additionally to tradition and identification. Like in Pittsburgh and different American Rust Belt communities, Chinese language employee identification runs deep within the nation’s industrial heartland.

Hou says for some staff, leaving decaying communities for booming coastal facilities like Shanghai and Beijing carries the disgrace of household betrayal. And, as with blue-collar staff in center America, Chinese language city elites additionally are likely to look down on the parochial working class notably these from the Dongbei area within the Northeast.

“So, the stereotype is that they may all simply keep of their automobile or their heat mattress as a result of it is too chilly outdoors,” Hou says. “They’re lazy and in addition they’re type of silly. They are not very enterprise minded.”

For his half, Dieterich-Ward says he’ll attempt to body Pittsburgh’s industrial narrative broadly and expansively to ask comparisons with Chinese language working communities. He says it is essential to unpack phrases like “pre-industrial,” “industrial,” and “post-industrial” that may artificially recommend a single steady narrative.

“Pittsburgh remains to be an extremely industrial metropolis,”  he says. “I imply, Homestead is now a shopping center, however the [Edgar Thompson Steel Works] remains to be a functioning metal plant. We nonetheless have one of many largest coke ovens in the USA, proper downstream.”

China, which turned a world manufacturing chief after Pittsburgh’s steelmaking heyday, but is dwelling to a whole bunch of hollowed-out industrial cities, equally exhibits the futility of simplistic narratives round industrial progress, says Dieterich-Ward.

“[China, Taiwan, and South Korea] are locations that … patterned themselves to an extent off of American industrial cities however are coming of age at a time of various technological potentialities,” he says.

Karen Kingsbury, division chair of Chatham’s humanities program, says she hopes the dialogue will assist “join the dots between the Chinese language and American experiences of Rust and Revival — a subject of particular relevance right here in our area.”

“For all of us who care about the way forward for our shared world, educating ourselves in regards to the gaps and overlaps between Chinese language and American expertise, over the previous century or so, should be a high precedence,” Kingsbury says. “We’d like that data and understanding if we’re to each stop disaster and promote mutual well-being.”

Rust and Revival in China and the U.S. 2-4 p.m. Fri., Nov. 18. Chatham College. Woodland Street, Shadyside. Free. Registration required.

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