This is a proposed panel discussion for the current Chinese 489 cohort to discuss our senior projects - which is especially important now to address the xenophobia against Asian Americans and misunderstanding and fear of China in the US. This presentation discusses the importance of examining various subjects pertaining to China (feminism, textiles, politics, and COVID) from a multilingual, multicultural perspective. It is important to have a multilingual/multicultural perspective because there is currently much anti-Asian sentiment in the US due to racism and xenophobia that stems from a fundamental lack of understanding. We have been fed a single-story about China, and now it's time to break down those barriers.
My portion of the panel would be to discuss my project which was on the parallels between China's role in the fashion industry over time and their role as a world power. It presents the issue with a variety of historical context so that exhibit viewers are able to understand the power dynamics at play. China was once a manufacturing hub that the West, particularly Britain and the US took advantage of when importing silks along with various other products. This power was further exacerbated with the Opium Wars and the fall of the dynastic system. China was then in a recovery period while building its own strength until the end of the cultural revolution. Similarly, at that time they were essentially not involved in the textile trade until reform and opening in the 70s. From there China established themselves as a manufacturer and exporter of goods. At the time they had a significantly more balanced power dynamic when it came to trade which also translated to their overall world power as the United States began to view China as a threat. Tensions continued to rise as China felt as though it was being taken advantage of and the US desired to regain control over their trade. However as China became more powerful the dynamic maintained a tense equilibrium with China continuously grappling for more power. Similarly, there has been a push for Chinese designers to gain recognition in the fashion industry for their incredible work. As China becomes a greater force to be reckoned with as a world power, its designers are also making a name for Chinese fashion.