Welcome to Talk of the Tang. I’m Danny Townsend – a recent graduate of Yale University and a 2010-2011 Fulbright Fellow in China. I’ve started this blog to detail my year in China, where I’ll be studying Mandarin and researching contemporary political thought. I’ll post more on my research project soon, but for now I thought that I’d start off with a simple post introducing the blog.
There are a few things I’m trying to accomplish here. One is to report back on my experiences and travels for friends and family in the US. There are a lot of “[Name]’s Big Trip to [Place]!” blogs, though, and I hope that a lot of the more interesting things I’ll have to share are going to relate to my research project. So, I’ll also be using this blog to share what I come across in my research – some of which will be my own writing, some of which will just be links to things that I’ve found informative or that I think are particularly worth a gander. In homage to what is probably the most talked about aspect of Chinese culture, its food, I’m dividing the posts into two categories: “dishes” will be longer posts, while “dumplings” are the shorter posts of pictures, news stories, anecdotes, etc. If there’s one that particularly suits your fancy more than the other, use the links at the top to sort them.
As for the name, Talk of the Tang: 唐, or Tang, is the transliteration of my last name in Chinese. 唐 is also the name of an old and famous dynasty, and it’s one of the 老百姓, or “Hundred Old Names,” that are the most common surnames in China. The Tang dynasty’s historical popularity means that 唐 has in some places become synonymous for “Chinese,” as in the word 唐人街 which literally means “streets of the Tang people” and is used to refer to Chinatowns around the world. For all of these reasons, in addition to the irresistibility of puns, it seemed like the right name for the blog.
This is also a good place to give an important disclaimer. My language study and research are both being funded by the Fulbright Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State. I’m very grateful for their support, and should make it clear that all of the views I express are mine – this blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog, and nothing should be viewed as reflecting the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.
So, now that I’ve said that, if you have any questions, criticisms, or comments about what’s on the blog (or what’s not), feel free to email me rather than Hillary Clinton: drmtownsend [at] gmail.com