One Turbulent Year - China 1975
China today attracts one of the largest foreign student populations in the world. In 1975, though, very few foreign students were allowed to study in then-isolated China, especially Western students. But, Dr. Peter Peverelli was a part of a small cohort of students who studied in Beijing Language Institute at the tail end of the turbulent Cultural Revolution. In One Turbulent Year – China 1975 (Boekscout, 2013), Dr. Peverelli writes on his experiences in Beijing as one of the first Western students allowed to study in China through a special exchange agreement between the Chinese and Dutch governments. Despite their student status, Dr. Peverelli and his classmates had VIP status and were seen as essentially diplomats. He even attended the state funeral for Zhou Enlai, one of the most important political figures in China during the past century. One Turbulent Year chronicles daily life under incredible and rare circumstances, as these Western European college students were interacting not just with Chinese locals, but also with their Eastern Bloc and “Third World” counterparts at the height of the Cold War. These were still universities students, they coveted holiday breaks, took leisurely bike rides around the city between classes, and still had parties and drank beer, but it was just under the backdrop of this critical juncture in Chinese history.
Dr. Peverelli joins New Books in Education for the interview. You can also read his blog or follow him on Twitter at @SItheorist for more details and updates on his book. For questions or comments on the podcast, you can also find the host on Twitter at @PoliticsAndEd.