Hinton to Discuss Traditional Chinese Architecture at Next Vision Series Lecture

Posted: February 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Carma Hinton
Carma Hinton
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Carma Hinton, Robinson Professor of Visual Culture and Chinese Studies, will present “This Old Chinese House: Traditional Village Architecture and Its Fate through Revolution and Reform” at the next Vision Series lecture on Monday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.

The lecture will take place on Mason’s Fairfax Campus in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Reserve tickets online or visit the Center for the Arts ticket office, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call 703-993-8888. A reception will follow the lecture.

“I can’t wait to replace this old house with something modern!” complains a young man. “No girl will marry me with a house like this!”

“This house was built by our ancestors. You’re not tearing it down!” declares his father.

Such disputes have become common among the villagers of China’s southern Anhui province, famous for its spectacular mountains and distinct local culture. The houses in question are magnificent 300-year-old structures with carved beams and lattice windows, legacies of a merchant culture from late imperial times.

Using excerpts from her films, Hinton will take the audience into these houses and explore the customs related to home, family and clan. She will discuss issues of destruction, transformation and revival of traditional culture in the context of China’s 20th-century revolution and 21st-century economic boom.

Born in Beijing where she lived until she was 21, Hinton has directed more than 13 documentary films about China, including “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” and “Morning Sun.”

A scholar as well as a filmmaker, she has a PhD in art history from Harvard University and has held teaching positions at Swarthmore College, Wellesley College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, she has lectured widely on Chinese culture, history and film at educational institutions in the United States and around the world.

Her films have been shown in numerous film festivals worldwide and at the Film Forum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., among others, and broadcast on television stations around the world, including PBS, the BBC and ARTE.

She has received two George Foster Peabody Awards, the American Historical Association’s John E. O’Connor Film Award, the International Critics Prize and the Best Social and Political Documentary at the Banff Television Festival, as well as nominations for Best Documentary Feature by the National Film Board of Canada, the ABCNEWS VideoSource and Pare Lorentz Awards by the International Documentary Association, and a National News & Documentary Emmy Award.

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