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Sinica Podcast

Ed Lanfranco: from Hoarder to Historian

Thu May 23 2024
ChinaHistoryCollectingProtestsArtifactsMapsPolitical TurmoilRevolutionary RecordsSARS Epidemic

Description

The podcast discusses current affairs in China, including books, ideas, research, and cultural trends. Kaiser Gohle is joined by Edlant Franco to talk about historical artifacts collected in Beijing. Edlant Franco shares his experience of living in Beijing since 1988 and his transition into a writer. Franco's interest in China stemmed from its rich history and geopolitical significance. The speaker talks about their involvement in protests during their youth and their tendency to collect various items throughout their life. They discuss collecting paper items like baseball cards, comic books, and ticket stubs from different places they have visited. The speaker reflects on having to leave behind a collection of antique items when leaving China due to cultural relic regulations. They mention a porcelain jar from the 1530s that holds sentimental value for them. The speaker shares memories of visiting old Beijing brands and restaurants, collecting brochures and knickknacks as keepsakes.

Insights

Maps Reflecting Historical Events

Beijing maps from different eras show the city's evolution and changes in street names, reflecting historical events like the Cultural Revolution.

Political Turmoil Sparked by Historical Artifacts

Collection of 160 photos and 40 other photos from the April 5th Tiananmen incident of '76 sparked political turmoil

Historical Documents and Revolutionary Records

The speaker acquired historical documents in Beijing in 2003-2004, including revolutionary records and posters.

Collecting Political Movement Memorabilia

During the 1989 political movement in China, the speaker collected over 200 leaflets, audio cassette recordings of speeches, photographs, and other memorabilia related to the events.

Researching Historical Events

The speaker discusses their experience at the Harvard Yinching Library while researching for a thesis on a historical event.

Living Through the SARS Epidemic

The podcast discusses the experience of living through the SARS epidemic in China, highlighting both the challenges and unexpected positive outcomes.

Historical Guidebook and Progressive Metal Album

A guidebook from 1930 and 1931 about Beijing includes interesting recommendations and historical anecdotes.

Chapters

  1. Current Affairs in China
  2. Collecting Paper Items
  3. Maps and Historical Events
  4. Historical Artifacts and Political Turmoil
  5. Revolutionary Records and Posters
  6. Collecting Historical Documents
  7. Collection of Political Movement Memorabilia
  8. Researching Historical Events
  9. Living Through the SARS Epidemic
  10. Historical Guidebook and Progressive Metal Album
Summary
Transcript

Current Affairs in China

00:09 - 07:14

  • The podcast discusses current affairs in China, including books, ideas, research, and cultural trends.
  • Kaiser Gohle is joined by Edlant Franco to talk about historical artifacts collected in Beijing.
  • Edlant Franco shares his experience of living in Beijing since 1988 and his transition into a writer.
  • Franco's interest in China stemmed from its rich history and geopolitical significance.

Collecting Paper Items

07:00 - 13:50

  • The speaker talks about their involvement in protests during their youth and their tendency to collect various items throughout their life.
  • They discuss collecting paper items like baseball cards, comic books, and ticket stubs from different places they have visited.
  • The speaker reflects on having to leave behind a collection of antique items when leaving China due to cultural relic regulations.
  • They mention a porcelain jar from the 1530s that holds sentimental value for them.
  • The speaker shares memories of visiting old Beijing brands and restaurants, collecting brochures and knickknacks as keepsakes.

Maps and Historical Events

13:29 - 20:44

  • The speaker discusses keeping a copper Hoppe bowl from China for a practice soccer match.
  • The speaker collects maps, particularly focusing on Beijing maps from different time periods.
  • Beijing maps from different eras show the city's evolution and changes in street names, reflecting historical events like the Cultural Revolution.
  • The transcript touches on the speaker's experience at the Soviet Embassy in Beijing and plans to take the Trans-Siberian before June 4th, 1989.
  • There is mention of significant events happening around June 4th, including an explosion on the Trans-Siberian and Michael Chang winning the French Open.
  • The podcast also references the April 5th incident of 1976 in Tiananmen Square, commemorating Zhou Enlai's death.

Historical Artifacts and Political Turmoil

20:14 - 28:03

  • Collection of 160 photos and 40 other photos from the April 5th Tiananmen incident of '76 sparked political turmoil
  • Protests in Beijing and Nanjing started after the death of Joe and Lai, leading to a bottom-up protest under Mao's reign
  • Historical artifacts including books, maps, periodicals, documents, photographs were available for sale in early 2000s
  • Unpublished photographs and poetry from the 1976 movement were obtained, showing a shift from counter-revolutionary rebellion to patriotic movement

Revolutionary Records and Posters

27:40 - 34:25

  • A historic leaflet from April 7, 1976, reveals the decision to remove Deng Xiaoping from all party positions and appoint Hua Guofeng as premier.
  • The speaker acquired historical documents in Beijing in 2003-2004, including revolutionary records and posters.
  • The collection includes a record with patriotic songs like 'March of the Frontier' dating back to around 1969-1972.

Collecting Historical Documents

34:00 - 41:34

  • The speaker recalls dumpster diving at a Diplomatic compound and obtaining valuable files related to Sino-US relations and the Cultural Revolution from AFP.
  • The speaker discusses collecting historical documents such as the first joint communique between US and China and the announcement of diplomatic ties in 1978.
  • The speaker reflects on the importance of US-China relationship collection due to personal involvement in the equation.
  • A story is shared about two pandas being transported from Beijing to the United States in 2002, highlighting visa issues post-9/11 and sedation of pandas for travel.

Collection of Political Movement Memorabilia

41:08 - 48:17

  • The speaker questions why it is easier for pandas to get a visa to the United States than it is for Chinese citizens.
  • During the 1989 political movement in China, the speaker collected over 200 leaflets, audio cassette recordings of speeches, photographs, and other memorabilia related to the events.
  • The speaker's collection includes items like penance supporting students and hunger strikers, photos taken by their roommate, and clippings from the LA Times about martial law declarations.

Researching Historical Events

47:53 - 54:44

  • The speaker discusses their experience at the Harvard Yinching Library while researching for a thesis on a historical event.
  • They mention having leaflets with time stamps and hour stamps from May 16th, which they consider a turning point in history.
  • The speaker talks about digitizing historical records and seeking help for the 50th anniversary of an incident.
  • They share their collection of UPI files and express a desire to sort through them in the future.
  • Discussion shifts to the Underground City of Beijing, Mao's concerns about nuclear exchange, and exploring the tunnels.
  • The speaker recalls visiting a touristy part of the Underground City with unique attractions like a silk factory gift shop.
  • There is mention of restrictions on Chinese nationals entering certain areas only accessible to foreigners.

Living Through the SARS Epidemic

54:27 - 1:01:50

  • The podcast discusses the experience of living through the SARS epidemic in China, highlighting both the challenges and unexpected positive outcomes.
  • Individuals found some silver linings during the SARS outbreak, such as reduced traffic allowing for unique experiences like riding a bicycle around an empty city square.
  • Despite the seriousness of the situation, there were moments of humor and personal growth shared by those affected by SARS.
  • The conversation delves into nostalgic items from the past related to healthcare practices and historical fiction set in Beijing throughout different decades of the 20th century.

Historical Guidebook and Progressive Metal Album

1:01:39 - 1:05:48

  • A guidebook from 1930 and 1931 about Beijing includes interesting recommendations and historical anecdotes.
  • Recommendations include books by authors such as Lin Yutang and Roger Garside.
  • A new progressive metal album called 'Awaken the Endless Deep' by a band named Aishin is recommended, featuring Chinese creation myths in its lyrics.
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