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Coming Home to China

2007
Author:

Yi-Fu Tuan

Coming Home to China

A portrait of returning home after a long absence

In 2005, distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan ventured to China to speak at an architectural conference, returning for the first time to the place he had left as a child sixty-four years before. In this enchanting volume, Tuan's childhood memories and musings on the places he encountered during his homecoming are interspersed with new lectures, engaging principles of human geography and the changing Chinese landscape.

Coming Home to China is a quintessential work by the preeminent humanistic geographer. It reveals the deep connection between Yi-Fu Tuan’s personal identity and his lifetime of profound insights into what it means to be human.

Edward Relph, University of Toronto

In the summer of 2005, distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan ventured to China to speak at an international architectural conference, returning for the first time to the place he had left as a child sixty-four years before. He traveled from Beijing to Shanghai, addressing college audiences, floating down the Yangtze River on a riverboat, and visiting his former home in Chongqing.

In this enchanting volume, Tuan’s childhood memories and musings on the places encountered during this homecoming are interspersed with new lectures, engaging overarching principles of human geography as well as the changing Chinese landscape. Throughout, Tuan’s interactions with his hosts, with his colleague’s children, and even with a garrulous tour guide, offer insights into one who has spent his life studying place, culture, and self.

At the beginning of his trip, Tuan wondered if he would be a stranger among people who looked like him. By its end, he reevaluates his own self-definition as a hyphenated American and sheds new light on human identity’s complex roots in history, geography, and language.

Coming Home to China

Yi-Fu Tuan is author of Cosmos and Hearth, Dear Colleague, and Space and Place, all from Minnesota. He retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998.

Coming Home to China

Coming Home to China is a quintessential work by the preeminent humanistic geographer. It reveals the deep connection between Yi-Fu Tuan’s personal identity and his lifetime of profound insights into what it means to be human.

Edward Relph, University of Toronto

Coming Home to China both adds to the literature on humanistic geography and reveals more about the life and thoughts of one of its leading architects.

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

An engaging book.

Times Literary Supplement

Yi-Fu Tuan is ineluctably present as tour guide and trip philosopher. With him we see, hear, and smell China. His geographies of experience open up new horizons and new questions that leave all of us immeasurably richer.

Eurasian Geography and Economics