IIAS Lunch Lecture

Rings of Desire - Beijing as an Ordinary City

An IIAS/UKNA lunch lecture by Professor Jeroen de Kloet.

“The city,” so does Robert Park argue in his seminal essay from 1915, “shows the good and evil in human nature in excess.” Which inspires him to read the city as a laboratory to study human behaviour.

In his talk, Jeroen de Kloet (UvA) will connect the notion of excess to the significance of the ring roads in Beijing – an excessive city par excellence, too big, too polluted, too crowded, too ugly, and changing too fast, making one lose his way time and again.

The ring roads function as a symbolic device to keep a sense of control over this excess; they help to locate people and places, they function as the highway in the center, and they create the mental map of the city. How do Beijing citizens relate to the ring roads? What projects have emerged around the ring roads – such as the 5+1 art project in which artists engage with the migrant communities located between the 5th and the 6th ring road?

Based on his experience of living in the city of Beijing and the daily encounters, Prof. De Kloet hopes to reveal that despite its excesses, Beijing remains above all quite an ordinary city. 

Jeroen de Kloet from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is Professor of Globalization Studies and director of the Amsterdam Center for Globalisation Studies.

Everyone interested is welcome to attend after registration.

About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, an IIAS researcher or visiting scholar will present his or her work-in-progress in an informal setting to colleagues and other interested attendees. IIAS organises these lunch lectures to give the research community the opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas.