Professor Pentony Office: HSS 363; Office Hours: T & Th 11:30-1; W 5-6
China, as a civilization, is as old as memory and as young as yesterday's child in the new century. In the narrow sense, this is a course in Chinese policy which focuses upon the Chinese as they act and react in the perplexing world of domestic and international political, economic, and cultural relations.
In a broader sense, this is a course which seeks to examine what Andre Malraux called Man's Fate in his famous tale about Shanghai in the 1920s. The Chinese are about one-fifth of the world’s population; there is little doubt that what happens there will have a powerful effect on the remaining fourth-fifths of humankind. So, we embark both on a journey to the past, where much of what the Chinese think, act, and ponder began and a trip through our own time, where the cares and concerns of modern Chinese interact with the hopes, dreams, and realities of their Asian neighbors and the "barbarian" world beyond. It is an odyssey filled with drama and intrigue, promise and problems, facts and misconceptions, and excitement and frustration. The student must seek to make sense out of what was, what is, and what will be. Above all, the course seeks to elicit the feelings of wonder, admiration, and curiosity which I felt, now more than forty years ago, as I sat alone on a China hill overlooking the sweeping Sichuan countryside when China was under attack.
The educational philosophy of the course reflects the conviction of the instructor that students learn best by doing, i.e. reading, researching, writing, presenting, interviewing, and discussing their findings with their classmates and the instructor. Nonetheless, this is primarily a lecture-discussion course where the instructor (occasionally joined by guest lecturers) seeks to impart his understanding of the essence of Chinese policies and to respond to the inquiries and comments of students about the topics of focus.
The course is also based upon the assumption that one cannot develop valid insights about a nation's foreign policy without tuning in to the physical setting, to the culture, i.e. the ways of thinking and behaving and the values of a people, to the systems of political and economic action, to the patterns of response to past problems, and to the domestic needs which stimulate the leadership to action. The instructor will offer an analytical model that seeks to organize the inquiry and enlighten student understanding.
Samuel Kim, ed. China and the World, Westview Press: Boulder, 1998.
Alan Hunter & John Sexton, Contemporary China, St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1999.
Daniel Burstein & Arne de Keijzer, Big Dragon, Simon & Schuster:New York, 1998.
K. To improve research, writing, and oral presentation skills which are part of the essence of a liberal education
A competent student of another nation’s policies should develop habits of keeping track of the unfolding developments (This means current or today’s development) in that country, particularly in reference to its relationship with other nations and international institutions. Short of living, studying, and/or working in that nation, the major technique for accomplishing this purpose is to read regularly the accounts of the media, the professional experts, and others who have knowledge of on-going events.
Students will be asked to report on current developments in China beginning at the second class meeting. Each student will make a brief presentation (about four slides) indicating what has been going on in China in the past week. For this assignment students will be assigned to one of three categories: politics, economics, or culture. These presentations will be without notes, assisted only by computer-generated slides. Usually the presentations will be made during the first half-hour of the class. They will be graded on content and presentation. Students will only be expected to make one presentation during the semester. I reiterate: presentations will begin on the second week of class
Each student will read about the dynasties of traditional China. A very brief paper answering the questions below will be submitted to the instructor. (There are a number of good histories available in the library and good bookstores that can be used. John Hunter’s, Concise History of China is a good one.)
Students must write a one-paragraph personal reaction for each assignment (three in all); students should combine the paragraphs and turn in one paper. Due Last Class Meeting in March
Each student is to read two selections from Chinese literature (poetry, plays, novels, and short stories). One selection should be from traditional Chinese literature and the other from modern Chinese literature. A one-page reflection paper on each will be submitted to the instructor. All one-page papers are due on the last Wednesday in April.
Because food and its customs and courtesies are such an important part of Chinese life, one class period will be devoted to a presentation on these customs and courtesies as illustrated in Chinese banqueting behavior. The class will meet at a local Chinese restaurant for a meal and presentation. Attendance is required. The cost is approximately $15, excluding beverage, to be paid at the third week of class. A One page reflection paper is due one week later.
Attendance and class participation is required. Roll will be taken each class session. Any student leaving at the break will be counted absent for the entire period. Failure to attend and participate regularly can result in a reduction of the final grade; unusually effective participation can result in a raising of the final grade. Students should notify the instructor if they know they are not going to be able to attend. A physician or nurse must sign medical excuses.Late Arrivals. Late arrivals: A "late arrival" is after the roll has been called. The teaching assistant will record late arrivals. More than three will result in lowering the final grade.
It is presumed that all students are capable of doing college level work. Therefore, the instructor will deduct points from papers:
The contraction, it's for "it is" and other contractions will not be acceptable in the formal papers. Inclusion of contractions may result in a non-recoverable, twenty-five point reduction in the grade.
. At the very least papers must:
There will be an objective mid-term and an in class objective and essay final exam. They will be based on readings and lectures. Students will receive a list of study of questions upon which the essay exam will be based.
Grading is criterion-referenced , meaning that criteria are established for each grade category and grades are assigned according to the level of mastery exhibited by each student in meeting the criteria. This is often called "mastery learning." The result of criterion-referenced grading can be that all students in the class receive A's or all receive F's, depending on the level of mastery.