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The Adam N. Brown '97 Memorial Award in Geography is presented each year to recognize the best written work in a Geography course. The student receives $500.00 and an engraved trophy. Additionally, their name will be listed on the Adam N. Brown '97 plaque in 021 Fairchild.
As in previous years, it was a challenge for us to decide on a winner because of the strength and topical breadth of the nominated papers. Ultimately, we selected Jasmine Xu ’16 who wrote the winning paper for Geography 29: Global Cities in Spring 2016, “A Lost Generation: Exploring Social Consequences of Urbanization in China Through Jia Zhangke’s 24 City”, analyzes the film “24 City.” Set in Chengdu, China, the film weaves together the stories of factory workers who see their workplace redeveloped into a luxury real estate project.
As Jasmine observes, the film offers an important lens through which to understand the social consequences of China’s transition to a ‘socialist-market’ economy and the gentrification that has comes with it. What happens to the people who have devoted their entire lives to a factory that is then demolished in favor of a “lifestyle product” for young urban professionals? It’s in some ways a very familiar story, but Jasmine’s paper shows how it plays out with distinctly Chinese characteristics.
Empirically rich and eloquently written, it’s an altogether outstanding piece of student work. We’re delighted to recognize Jasmine’s achievement with the Adam N. Brown award.