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Creative Power brings exceptional Progress. There is an advantage in correct persistence. ---From I-Ching (Book of Change)


Changing China

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters, 2008-2009

Faculty: Rose Jang (China Studies, performing arts), COM 357, Ext. 6705,

Wenhong Wang (China Studies, sociology, communication), COM 356, Ext. 6024,

David Shaw (international business, economics), COM 361, Ext. 5503,

Major areas of study include China studies; Chinese history, philosophy, religion, and literature; language studies; sociology; international business, political science and economics; visual arts, theatre and performing arts, movement and martial arts; as well as research and writing.

Class Standing: This Core program is designed for 66% freshmen and 34% sophomore and above.

From the ancient titles of "Middle Kingdom" and "All under Heaven" and nearly four thousand years of written history and ongoing civilization emerged a complicated, multi-ethnic modern nation, a fast-changing world presence and global economic power called China. What is China? Who is Chinese? How has China changed and how is it changing today? This program will attempt to respond to these questions by exploring a series of thematic topics inspired by the unique and recurrent characteristics of Chinese history, society and culture, from the classical to the contemporary. These topics will cover ideology, arts and literature, aesthetics, urban/rural dynamics, environmental development, business and industrial development, international trade, cross-cultural interactions and many other related issues. Our ultimate goal is to understand today’s China as a vital global player by seriously examining the predominant cultural traits it has inherited from the past.

Along with the program thematic explorations through reading, writing, lectures, viewings and seminars, most students will work in a Chinese language class for the whole year to build fundamental skills in conversation and reading that will support their studies and prepare them to travel to China in spring quarter. Some students will have the option to take a business workshop in lieu of language class. The business-track workshop will investigate cross-cultural communications and classical Chinese strategy and its implications for business today during fall quarter. In winter and spring quarter, the business workshop will undertake a computer simulation of the competitive marketplace in modern China, followed by an intensive social science-based research project, including environmental scanning with application to practical marketing plans or business plans, in examining China’s ever-changing business environment. The workshop will prepare students for business-oriented internships or independent projects in spring quarter.

Fall quarter, we will emphasize the foundations of Chinese culture by focusing on the major cultural elements and phenomena which have endured centuries. Chinese philosophy comprised of the primary "Three Teachings" of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism, and blended with popular mythology and beliefs, will inform our study of Chinese literary tradition and its enduring works of poetry, prose, fiction and drama. These ideological concepts will also provide the framework for us to examine, on one hand, the Chinese people’s deep connection with the land and natural environments and, on the other, their practical and creative strategies in business and economic developments which have paved the way to entrepreneurism and capitalism “with Chinese characteristics”. Through hands-on workshops, we will also study and experiment with Chinese classical arts such as calligraphy, brush painting, acupressure, interior and garden design, theatre/performing arts, Taiji and martial arts.

Winter quarter we will focus on China's modern period and the Chinese Diaspora. We will start with the 17th century when internal ethnic disharmony and interventions by Western powers destabilized its centuries-old monarchy, and continue to the twentieth century when China transformed into a republic, and then into a Communist state. We will study the cultural, social, economic and political ramifications of these changes. Relevant issues include international and civil conflicts, border disputes, immigration, ethnic unrest, cults of personality, ideological crises, cultural revolutions, modernization programs, the return of nationalism, economic and industrial progress, and drives for democracy.

In spring quarter, we will focus our energy on today’s China. We will pay close attention to China's current image as a dynamic economic powerhouse and enigmatic, ambitious world political presence, as well as its internal need for a well-functioning legal system and civil society. Students will have the option of traveling to China to further study Chinese language and culture, business environment, Taiji, calligraphy, visual arts, and Chinese opera. Those who stay on Evergreen's campus will continue to engage in serious China studies via projects or internships. Throughout the year, we will constantly challenge ourselves to position China's unique circumstances in the context of the rest of the world and universal concerns of humanity.

Total: 16 per quarter
Enrollment: 70 in fall and winter, 47 in spring
Special Expenses: $200 for art supplies and event tickets; $4,000 for optional travel and study abroad in China in the spring. A deposit of $150 is due February 1, 2009.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in China studies, Asian studies, international studies, social sciences, international business, Eastern philosophy, Chinese literature and language, world literature
Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen and CTL