Chinese Gardens in Britain 2

Course video 11 of 50

Having assessed China’s ancient and modern conceptions of landscapes, and how they moved between cultures, social groups and societies, we will turn to the concept of entangled landscapes in the second module. Here, we will evaluate representations and narratives that explore the agency, conundrums and possibilities of applied transcultural aesthetic (and functional) paradigms in national politics of garden and park design. In a first step, the traveling concept of the Chinese garden will help us to evaluate the cultural and geopolitical affordances of gardens between Asia and Europe that are very often intimately connected to utopian visions of the ideal community. Next, we will encounter two different examples of a Chinese garden that bespeak their original sociopolitical functionality and conceptual underpinnings as much as the changes of these same when travelling across time and space. Our third theme of hometown nostalgia will study the turn of artists and intellectuals towards imaginary gardens of the past in view of large-scale heritage demolition in China. Finally, we will probe into the history of rural reconstruction and encounter two successful approaches towards the re-/creation of sustainable landscapes.

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