2019 Dresher Center Summer Faculty Research Fellows
Politics and Money traces the rise of financial capitalism in the U.S. since WWII. During the postwar era, the economy began transitioning away from its industrial base to increasingly revolve around profit-making through financial instruments and various forms of investment. Moreover, the economic security of citizens has increasingly depended on their access to credit instruments. The way that federal policies interacted with the banking system influenced this economy-wide “financialization.” Chapin explores how connections among the Federal Reserve (monetary policy), government economic policy (discal and regulatory policy), and the banking system stimulated financialization by affecting credit distribution and investment opportunities across the economy.
Easy Living examines how the idea of working within the home was constructed and disseminated in popular culture and by the communication and real estate industries through mass media during the 20th century. Marketing and advertising materials from the housing, telecommunications, and office technology industries demonstrate that public discourse reflected changing concepts about what it meant to work in the home, corresponding to larger social, political-economic, and technological forces. Easy Living reveals that current discourse on work-life balance has a longer history, and the notion of the home as a space that exists solely in the private sphere is a myth, as the social meaning of the home and its market value in the public sphere are intricately linked.
The West Pagoda examines the transformation of Xita (West Pagoda), a small but thriving commercial neighborhood of Shenyang, the industrial capital of Northeast China over 370 years. The Xita space was originally a Tibetan-Buddhist pagoda erected in the western suburb of the Manchu capital during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1911). It had served as a landmark of the political/spiritual alliance between the Manchu, Mongols, and Tibetans. In the early 20th century, colonial powers (first Russia then Japan) and local warlords constructed competing railways that intersected in Xita and created a disaporic enclave for Koreans in the rapidly industrializing metropolitan area. From the 1950s to the 2000s, Xita experienced the rise and fall of socialist industrialization and eventually turned into an ethnic commercial district in a “rust city.” Song argues that this neighborhood provides a unique lens for understanding the long-term evolution of Shenyang, urbanization, industrialization, and global connections in East Asia.