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  • Thumbnail for Calisthenics at West China Union University
    Calisthenics at West China Union University

    Calisthenics. Don Flaherty also witnessed a political demonstration while in Chengdu. “The students at Szechwan National University…which is just down the Min River from Chengtu, once obtained the release of a former City councilor arrested by the secret police…[O]ne evening when [the councilor] was walking down a city street he was grabbed by a man in a jeep and whisked off to an unlighted prison cell. His wife got in touch with the Student Self Government Association at Szechwan National University, where he was well known and admired because of his speeches `in the name of the people’ there…The next morning more than 2,000 students were on the march…About one in ten left his classes at West China Union to join the protest.†[71]

  • Thumbnail for Main Road - The City of Chengdu
    Main Road - The City of Chengdu

    “The road in from the bridge and the old South gate is one of the city’s main arteries.†[2]

  • Thumbnail for Plaque at temple in Kuanxian near Chengdu
    Plaque at temple in Kuanxian near Chengdu

    “There are annual sacrifices to Li-Ping at his temple at Kuanhsien, and his six characters advise to ‘Dig the channels deep and keep the dykes low’ is adhered to by a yearly cleaning of the irrigation canals.†[67]

  • Thumbnail for Faculty at West China Union University
    Faculty at West China Union University

    American educators were a tightly knit group and they maintained their school ties and affiliations in China.

  • Thumbnail for Bamboo and a farmhouse on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Bamboo and a farmhouse on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    “Across the plain to the horizon were the small patches in shades of green. Scattered under bamboos turned ever so slightly yellow were the farmhouses of frame bamboo covered with bamboo matting and rice straw thatching. Occasionally there was a more prosperous, tile-roofed farmhouse surrounded by a wall. Inside were the family, the chickens, the pigs, the water buffalo.†[6-7]

  • Thumbnail for Terracing along the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Terracing along the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    In his book Broken Bits Don Flaherty describes a trip he took from Chengdu to Hong Kong and back by truck, jeep, plane, train, and boat. The first leg of the trip, by road was by open, public truck crammed with goods, luggage, and passengers. “Once we passed from the Chengdu Plain, the country became rugged. But it continued to be intensely cultivated. There were terraces all of the way up the hillsides – sometimes twenty or more levels from the bottom. The geometry of man imposed on the ancient angry thrusts of nature.â€

  • Thumbnail for Professor Flaherty at West China Union University
    Professor Flaherty at West China Union University

    Don Flaherty participated in the life of the university, including giving a lecture on contemporary “life and letters†entitled “The Twentieth Century Limited.â€

  • Thumbnail for Flaherty's Arrival at China West Union University
    Flaherty's Arrival at China West Union University

    Don Flaherty joined the faculty of West China Union University as an English instructor. “West China Union University is a private institution operated by American, Canadian, and English protestant missionary societies. During the Japanese war its campus was the seat of refugee universities from [Beiping, Jinan,] and Nanking. Now there are some 1500 students on its campus who are students of arts, science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, education, and bio-chemistry. About half of the men students dress I western fashion with sports jackets and slacks. There are even a few large knotted ties…The other half of the men wear ankle length gowns. These are usually dark blue, and have long sleeves. “ [69]

  • Thumbnail for Bridge at the City of Chengdu
    Bridge at the City of Chengdu

    “Shortly after five Lusa, the rickshaw puller, and I left our riverside compound for the city. [Huaxida], which is the Romanization of the Chinese characters meaning West China Union University campus, lies just south of the Min River, which serves as a moat around Chengtu. We crossed the river by means of the Marco Polo bridge – so called because it is described in THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO. The marble facings were long ago removed, leaving only a rough, old graceful span.†[2]

  • Thumbnail for Chongqing
    Chongqing

    “I have often thought about the question: ‘What makes a city glamorous?’ Certain cities, Paris, Peiping, New York, San Francisco, have a certain ‘it’ that most cities lack. One of the factors of a city’s appeal, I think, is concerned with geography…On its narrow peninsula where the Chaling joins the Yangtze, Chungking rises on its steep bluffs out of the mists of its rivers.†[17 “On an island in the Yangtze…is the Chungking winter airport…In February’s low water the island was al’ but connected with the Chungking shore.†[21]

  • Thumbnail for Silver Street in the city of Chengdu
    Silver Street in the city of Chengdu

    Craftsmen engages in the same sort of work usually have shops on the same street. On sliver street, artisans fashion trays, tea services, eating utensils, and delicate filigree jewelry from pure silver…Since the war brought the aluminum skins of airplanes there has sprung up an aluminum street…[68]

  • Thumbnail for Men and waterwheel on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Men and waterwheel on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    Men working in the countryside. This image captures a man operating a water wheel.

  • Thumbnail for Traffic accident along the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Traffic accident along the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    “As the driver [of the postal truck] started down the mountain he turned off his motor. I braced myself. As we free-wheeled around blind S-curves the driver leaned on his horn…When our momentum became so great that we couldn’t have gotten around the next curve on even two wheels, the driver reluctantly applied the brakes. The brakes were uneven, and the truck began swaying from side to side. I wondered whether I was lucky or unlucky to be seated so as to be unable to see where I would end.†[7]

  • Thumbnail for Worked landscape on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Worked landscape on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    “There were places where man’s geometry was impossible, and the red, yellow, or chocolate brown earth stood chin up. There was little foliage, the hills centuries ago having been denuded of trees in the clearing of the land or because of the great need for fuel. There were clumps of the quick growing, great grass, bamboo, and scattered oil trees of tung and castor, pruned to within an inch of their lives.†[8]

  • Thumbnail for Main Building at West China Union University
    Main Building at West China Union University

    Like a number of other colleges and universities founded by Westerners in the early twentieth century, West China Union University was built to modern specifications but in a Chinese style. The main building, with its pagoda-like tower, is an example of this kind of gesture toward tradition.

  • Thumbnail for The Plain of Chengdu
    The Plain of Chengdu

    “In the Ch’in Dynasty Li-Ping became Governor of Szechwan and engineered the division of the water of the Min River as it enters the Chengtu Plain at Kuanhsien so that the whole plain is irrigated, and thanks to his genius there has never been a famine on the Chengdu Plain.†[67]

  • Thumbnail for Traversing a river on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Traversing a river on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    Carrying an automobile across the water.

  • Thumbnail for Professor Flaherty and his arrival to China
    Professor Flaherty and his arrival to China

    Donald W. Flaherty (1921-1986) taught political science and Asian Studies at Dickinson College from 1951 to 1983. Professor Flaherty had many academic interests, including constitutional law. But he made it clear to students and colleagues alike that his greatest concern as a teacher and scholar was teach about Asia, its history, politics, economic life, and culture. Following his death in 1986, his formers students, friends, and colleagues established the Donald W. Flaherty Lecture in Asian Studies in honor.We may trace the roots of this lifelong passion to his experiences during and after the Second World War. Like many American Asianists of his generation, Don Flaherty served in the Pacific. After the war, he sought a teaching post in China. The images in this presentation are part of a collection of slides taken by Don Flaherty during his residency as a Syracuse-in-China Teaching Fellow at West China Union University, Chengdu, Sichuan. Quoted passages are from Professor Flaherty’s memoir of that time, Broken Bits.

  • Thumbnail for Bicycles in the City of Chengdu
    Bicycles in the City of Chengdu

    “In the last twenty years several of the city streets have been widened.†[68] On the modern, paved and widened streets photographed by Don Flaherty, bicycles now raced past rickshaws under the watchful gaze of modern police. “On the streets there are a few jeeps and civilian cars. At each bridge there is usually a broken-down truck, unable to make the grade. There are young Chinese, and foreigners of all ages on bicycles. There are many rickshaws: broken down public ones whose coolies wear straw sandals even in the coldest weather, and shiny private ones with pneumatic tires, upholstery, tiger skin lap robes, feather dusters and better dressed coolies.†[68-69]

  • Thumbnail for Students Marching at West China Union University
    Students Marching at West China Union University

    “In China, university students are an important political force. In a country where there is widespread illiteracy combined with a lack of a democratic tradition, young students filled with some learning and much zeal are political enthusiasts.†[70] Collective demonstrations of resolve extended to non-political activities as well. Here West China Union students march in a parade that was part of campus festivities.

  • Thumbnail for Women at West China Union University
    Women at West China Union University

    “The coeds skirts are definitely long. Dresses fall to within 12, some even to within 10 inches off the floor. However, they are slit to the knee and it is possible to walk in a Chinese long dress. In cool weather the well dressed coed wears a sports jacket over her dress. The jacket is as simple as a man’s but more colorful. The coed is a bobby soxer. In a land of unheated buildings she has to be. Her shoes are of the sports type, with t-h-i-c-k rubber soles.†[70]

  • Thumbnail for Another view of waterwheels on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Another view of waterwheels on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    “Where there are streams of sufficient force there are water wheels. The force of the water against the baffles turns the wheel, raising bamboo tubes which have collected water and emptying the tubes at the top into a trough, from which bamboos lead to the terraces to be irrigated.†[8]

  • Thumbnail for Shop in the City of Chengdu
    Shop in the City of Chengdu

    “The shop fronts are open to the street, and are closed at night by putting boards in place. The family running the shop lives behind and over it in the same building.†[68]

  • Thumbnail for Handicrafts in the City of Chengdu
    Handicrafts in the City of Chengdu

    “There are also streets whose craftsmen…produce shoes, furniture, cotton goods, woolen cloth, silk embroideries, pewter, wood carvings, and pottery.†[68]

  • Thumbnail for Waterwheel on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing
    Waterwheel on the road from Chengdu to Chongqing

    “The water is raised by crude wooden chain lifts whose treadles are worked by the feet of of two, four, or even six men.†[8]