Category Archives: World Languages and Cultures

The fate of all the other Shimenkans- Perline

For this last blog post, I want to trace back to the beginning of my project and think about the future for China’s reconstruction plan for impoverished areas.

One of the initial reasons why I conducted this research project is that I felt a loss of identity after continuing my education in America for several years. I remember feeling a loss of connection to the city I grew up in, and I realized that I was forgetting the culture I was born into. Trying to remember and reconnect with my culture, I decided to conduct an independent research project on Shimenkan. Growing up in Kunming in an upper-middle-class family, my life was confined to a small circle. My research project would allow me to learn more about contemporary Chinese politics and the socioeconomic diversity of my province. Continue reading

Investigative research in Uruguay- Peirce

Over Thanksgiving break I did some of my own research, in an attempt to find some historical connections between government, soccer, and politics in South America. Using information from the corruption I learned about Argentina, I searched online for similar topics, but rather than in the late 20th century, the early 20th century. I had no luck with obvious stories because there simply wasn’t as much media coverage on soccer during that time. Continue reading

What happened recently in my project -Qiaochu

In my last blog, I will talk about the progress I have made in my project in the past few weeks and share the future prospect of my project.
The past few weeks, a new member, Komeli, joined the Chester County China Initiative team. He has stayed in Beijing for 7 years and has learned mandarin during this stay. After graduating from Tsinghua University in 2013, Komeli started an international trade company. Continue reading

Reflection blog – Perline

During my summer trips to Shimenkan, I was able to explore and view the current state of the village from my own perspective. The experience was definitely special and seeing the actual village made it easier to learn about the history. For a large portion of the semester, I’ve been studying the history of Shimenkan and I explored topics like poverty, the value of charity, charity and more. Continue reading

Researching AFA(Asociación de Futból Argentino) corruption – Peirce

This week to open up corruption in South America I did some investigating on some of the biggest, most powerful, and well known officials and leaders in soccer. I came across a man named Julio Grondona, the late former president of soccer in Argentina. Grondona died in 2011, marked as a sad day in Argentinian soccer across the world. Two of the most recognizable Argentinian world soccer stars of all time, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, spoke about the greatness of Grondona for Argentinian soccer’s growth and well being, as well as wishing his family and friends well in their time of mourning. Continue reading

Negocios y Emoción – Peirce

Before making the subject switch from Spain to South America, Dan and I spent this week reading and discussing soccer in the world and the effects of globalization on modern soccer. We used two different chapters from Goles y banderas: futbol e identidades nacionales en España by Alejandro Quiroga Fernandez de Soto, the same book we used to discuss identities in Spain. Continue reading

Identities in Spanish soccer and culture, conclusions of study in Spain – Peirce

For our last week of studying Spanish soccer and culture, T.Dan and I read and discussed two different chapters from a book discussing soccer identities in both Catalonia and País Vasco. Goles y banderas: futbol e identidades nacionales en España by Alejandro quiroga fernandez de soto, is the name of the book, written entirely in Spanish. Continue reading

One’s value – Perline

With no doubt, the work Pollard did had a lasting impact on the community of Shimenkan. The village of Shimenkan would still be poor and isolated without Pollard’s influence from the last century. The major reason why the Chinese government invested so much money on this village is to control the Christian influence. As a way to show power, the government used the money in building infrastructure to show the villagers that the government can bring a better life than Christianity. Continue reading

More in depth research on Catalonia – Peirce

In the week of October 2nd after my teaching experience, T.Dan and I could not ignore the events in Catalonia surrounding the referendum for independence. I did my own research on the subject, bringing articles to Dan for discussion. There were a plethora of things to talk about, including the Spanish police’s acts of violence in attempts to stop people from voting, as well as how likely is it that Catalonia will ultimately declare independence. If you are unaware of the situation currently in Catalonia, I will give a brief synopsis before diving into the significance of it as well as my conclusions on how it relates to soccer.

On October 1st polls were opened in the region of Catalonia for its citizens to vote on whether they were for or against declaring independence from Spain. The Spanish government and its officials have rules this referendum illegal and against the Spanish constitution. On the day of the referendum many Catalan citizens were violently prevented from voting by the Spanish police force. Many leaders in the Catalan government were also arrested by the Spanish police.


In the following days many different officials on both sides have reported on the referendum, Spain maintaining their stance that it is illegal and will not be acknowledged. Catalan people and government officials have pleaded with other European countries as well as the EU for support in their fight for independence. The reported statistic on the vote count was 90% of people able to vote, voting for independence, and 10% against.

It is clear that the Catalan identity is strong throughout the whole region and now more than ever, the Catalan people are proudly fighting for their cultural, economic, and regional independence. The aftermath of the October 1st vote date has been sticky, and yet to be resolved. So it is hard to say how significant the referendum is yet, but regardless of the outcome, it is clear that Catalonia is its own country, recognized or not.

The police violence against voters was horrific, rubber bullets and excessive force were used during large pro independence rallies. 822 Catalonians were placed in the hospital from the violence. Using both Spanish sources and sources around the world to understand the reaction of this violence was fascinating. A CNBC article quoted Jordi Turull, a Catalan official as saying, “what the police are doing is simply savage, it’s an international scandal.” While Spanish sources based in Madrid have shown a different light, ignoring the police violence and focusing on the breach of the Spanish constitution.

While this was big international news and unignorable, it was less significant to our study of soccer and more to the world that soccer lives in. As a result of this referendum and violence FC Barcelona played their La Ligament match against Las Palmas in front of an empty stadium.


In the interest of getting back on track with our study of soccer, Dan and I planned readings for the following week in a book from the library about identities of both FC Barcelona and Atheltic Club Bilbao. Barcelona’s identity is strong and only getting stronger, and the historical context of the biggest representation of the region in the world, FC Barcelona, is one Dan and I were excited to explore.

The value of money – Perline

How much has changed in Shimenkan since Pollard’s arrival?

How much has changed in Shimenkan since the Chinese government started their reconstruction work?

The answer to the first question is A LOT, but the answer to the second question can be both a lot and very little.

When Pollard first arrived at Shimenkan, he had no money. As a religious missionary, he had hope and a plan to do his work in the village. Without money, he couldn’t buy land from the villagers or the local government. However, he made a deal with the landlord. He asked for “some land that is only worth one whole piece of calfskin”. The landlord was confused, but he thought a full piece of calfskin is barely anything, so he said yes to Pollard’s request. That night, he cut up a whole piece of calfskin into thin strips and sewed them together into a long line. The next day, when he met with the landlord to take the land, he rounded up enough land to build a church with the strip of calfskin. With some villagers’ help, a church was built. In the beginning, the church served both as a school and a church. As time went, the first school and the first hospital was built at Shimenkan.

Three years ago, the Chinese government started to reform areas that are in poverty. Shimenkan was listed under one of the targeted rural villages in the “help the poor” project in China. In the whole process, the government invested over 10 BILLION Yuan on this small village. New apartment-style houses were built, and the village is physically connected with roads. However, even with the new houses and the roads, villagers here are still trapped in poverty. The government doesn’t seem to understand that the real way to improve these people’s lives is to teach them how to fish, not just give them the fish. From the physical appearance, Shimenkan has changed much more than what Pollard had done. However, what the village really needs is education that will provide them a chance and the ability to connect with the outside world.

With little money and resource, Pollard built a church, a school and a hospital that really improved people’s quality of life. With more than enough money, the government only helped the village on the most basic level. I hope that the government can see that it is the education system that needs to be improved so the villagers can build more wealth on their own.

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This picture was taken in the early days of Pollard’s arrival. I found this picture in the Shimenkan gallery.