Thursday, August 27, 2015
Seeking a few good students for a weird new UMD class
The course number is CHIN429D and the title is "Selected Topics in Chinese Studies; Reacting to the Past: East Asia." It is a unique role-playing type course that has been offered at other institutions and which is particularly well-suited to honors college students. In it, we explore three moments in East Asian History - "The succession crisis of the Wanli Emperor," "Confucianism, Westernization, and the 1894 Kabo Reforms in Korea," and "Japan, the West, and the Road to World War, 1940-41." Each "game" requires students to use a central text in order to make in-class speeches to their classmates in order to sway them to vote or act a certain way. These close readings in context give students a chance to really understand the complexities of historical problems and the unique ways in which they were approached based on traditional mores and those who sought to amend, subvert or modernize them. Students interested in China, Japan or Korea are welcome, they do not need any prior knowledge of those countries or languages, but they need to be adventurous and rigorous.