Thomas David DuBois, professor of humanities, Beijing Normal University, and research affiliate, Fudan Development Institute.
China’s commercial revival of the 1980s initiated a wave of nostalgia for old brands, which various political and commercial actors spent the subsequent four decades trying to develop, enhance or exploit. Such attempts can be divided into two types: The heritage approach of the “old brands revitalization project” and the “creative nostalgia” of retro advertising. Both aim to nurture a sense of nostalgia for old brands, but they espouse opposing logic: The former emphasizing authenticity, while the latter mines the past for fun, novelty and irony. These trends are expressed in the food sector, which comprises the majority of classic enterprises, and has been shaped by explosive growth. Rather than a generational rejection of the past, it is the rush to establish a presence in the crowded national market that drives China’s classic food brands to repackage nostalgia from authenticity to novelty, from scarcity to replicability, and from heritage to retro.
On campus: IB 1055
Zoom Meeting ID: 923 2445 4204 (passcode: 121048)