Slow Boats and Caravans

I grew up in New Hampshire, a picturesque corner of the United States which despite pockets of unreconstructed redneck atavism and preppy savagery is given an outsized voice in choosing the US president. There's also skiing, maple syrup, and moose if you're into those things. Having grown up in a small town where the only historic event of note in the last century was the premature death of the lead singer for a popular classic rock band, I have been steadily following my muse westward until West became East. I first traveled to Japan in 1990 and learned, after repeated concussions, that door frames in Asia were sized differently than in the United States. On a somewhat related note, I also learned to bow when entering a room.  

When I was 20, I spent a year traveling and studying in Southeast Asia. I also played a lot of rugby. In fact, on the brief notation of my time studying at the National University of Singapore, it probably still reads: "Jenne, Jeremiah. Major: Legalized Assault/Rugby."

I first went to China in 1996 and was immediately fascinated, as have many before and since, with this enormously diverse and fast-changing society. An extended sojourn in academia took me back to Beijing in 2002 where I have been based ever since. For most of that time, I've worked in international education, leading student programs and teaching courses in Late Imperial and Modern Chinese history and Chinese philosophy. 

I'm also a writer, although not so much of dissertations. I created the Chinese history website Jottings from the Granite Studio and over the years I've published hundreds of articles on culture, history and travel in publications all over the world, most notably The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, and China File.  You can also find some of my stories in the anthologies China in 2008: A Year of Great SignificanceThe Insider’s Guide to Beijing, and the 2015 collection While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writer’s Colony.  

Finally, I also founded the company Beijing by Foot, which leads historical walking tours and educational programs for students, companies, organizations, and travelers in Beijing and around China.


Past Jottings and Selected Articles

Allies and Collaborators