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Mahjong: Public Conversation Series

Conversations on Contemporary China: David Spindler and Michael Meyer

November 23, 2008; 3:00 p.m.

Inside/Outside: The Great Wall of China
Museum Theater

Please note: this program has been rescheduled from November 16 to November 23. In addition, due to unforeseen circumstances, Peter Hessler will be unable to participate in this program as previously announced; award-winning author Michael Meyer will join David Spindler in conversation. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Great Wall is arguably China’s most powerful and resonant icon—one referred to in a number of artworks in Mahjong. The finale of the museum’s public conversation series will explore the fascinating history—cultural, political, and military—of this incomparable phenomenon.

David Spindler, a Beijing-based independent historian, began his study of the Great Wall in 1994 while doing graduate work in history at Beijing University; for the last six years he has devoted himself full time to the topic. Spindler and the fascinating findings of his research were the subject of a major profile in The New Yorker in 2007.

Michael Meyer is the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, a critically acclaimed book about day-to-day life in Beijing’s oldest neighborhood—where the author has lived—and its threatened destruction. The winner of a Lowell Thomas award for travel writing, Meyer has published widely, including in Time magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and Smithsonian. Meyer’s familiarity with the Great Wall and with preservation practices in and around Beijing will ensure an engaging and searching conversation with David Spindler.