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FulbrightHays Group Projects Abroad to China
Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP), The University of Chicago
June 13 July 16, 1994
William Parish, University of
P. G. Misty Sheehan, College of DuPage, CoCoordinator
The FulbrightHays experience focused on
"Individualism and the State in China" for two reasons.
U.S. education agencies and representatives of business,
reiterate the need for American students to better understand
world economic and political systems, particularly those of East
Asia, which have a direct impart on the economic wellbeing of
the nation. At the same time that educators observe the rising
power of Pacific rim nations and the immediate employment impact
that these counties are having on U.S. students, they report both
growing student apathy toward world affairs and escalating racial
tension with newlyarrived Asian populations.
Teaching in colleges in the United States
in the 1990’s challenges the instructor to inspire students who
may be discipline problems; who may have poor study skills and a
sense of ennui or malaise and an inability to see where they can
function effectively in the adult world. Some students are in
danger of dropping out of the educational process altogether and
becoming a burden on the American social structure rather than
developing talents which would enable them to contribute to
changing society. As a result instructors spend considerable
energy to motivate students, to enable them to value their own
judgment, to develop successful decisionmaking skills, to
establish effective goals, and to involve their interest in the
tasks necessary for completion of goals.
In contrast, students in China today are
highly motivated and are an effective part of the dramatic
economic development of Guangdong Province and others areas of
China. For this reason ICISP has chosen the topic of
individualism. The content and activities of the project will be
presented to the participants to build upon and expand their
conceptions of the individual and his relationship to social
forces. What motives the Chinese student that is lacking in the
American college student?
Superficially, it appears that Confucian
ideals subordinate the individual to the honor of family and
state, but individual action appears to be a major factor in the
economic power of both mainland China and Taiwan. What is the
relationship of the individual to the state in the achievement of
individual economic, sociological and psychological goals?
The objectives of the experience were to utilize the exploration of the tension between individual and collective action in China to:
1. Revitalize classroom teaching through the introduction of comparative themes which foster critical thinking about cultures on the part of students.
2. Explore conceptions of the individual and his or her relationship to the forces of control in society in a traditional culture in China, under Communism and to contrast this experience with the newly emerging business culture on the Chinese mainland, with the exportoriented business culture in Taiwan, and with the business culture of the United S tates .
3. Establish a team of educational consultants who will guide colleagues and assist local secondary school faculty in developing course modules and resources on China.
4. Develop instructional materials, modules, units, and teaching strategies to be tested in participants’ classes in a variety of disciplines and courses that can be shared with others.
5. Impact Illinois minority communities and economic divisions through outreach to city, suburban, and rural community colleges and economic divisions.
6. Collect materials, artifacts, photos and slides that can be reproduced and distributed to all member ICISP colleges through ICISP.
7. Establish faculty and/or student exchanges with one or more community colleges on the mainland and in Taiwan.
The unique design of the project to achieve
these objectives involved multiyear training and production
commitment from the participants. University of Chicago faculty
led two ICISP seminars for faculty in each 19921993 academic
years and 19931994 academic years. A predeparture workshop
weekend continued the discussions with University of Chicago
The group studied the central theme of the
relationship between individual action and state control at the
History Department of Beijing University. They visited Beijing
and Guangzhou, representing the state and its burgeoning trade in
the 20th century under Communism, and Xian and Dunhuang for an
understanding of the historical process. Experiencing Taiwan’s
model of economic success and its culture with scholars from
Academia Sinica and other Taipei institutions completed the
overseas agenda. FulbrightHays funded 60% of the overseas costs
with the other costs supported by the participants’ institutions
and/or the participants themselves. Tang Wen Fang of University
of Pittsburgh coordinated the arrangements with Beijing
University and the Coordination Council on North American Affairs
in Chicago coordinated the arrangements in Taipei.
Lectures and visits addressed the
individual as perceived in sociology, history, economic theory,
political theory, religion, the visual arts, literature, and
theatre as the individualism/group issue runs throughout all
Chinese and American social institutions. The Taiwan and mainland
portions of the field experience provided parallel lectures on
the economy, family, and arts patronage .
The answers are a process. As participants
study and integrate their experience abroad, interacting with
students, colleagues and community members, they take the
experience to each of their disciplines, enriching the work .
An ICISP East Asian Resource Center has
been established at College of Lake County for access of
materials gathered through the ICISP development of Asian
Studies, supported by College of Lake County; University of
Chicago, East Asian Center; and National Endowment for the
Humanities. The Center can be accessed through Interlibrary loan.
The China Team is preparing a series of videos for use in the classroom. Outside of one reporting, a study of the group’s perceptions and observations, the others are short, approximately 10minute pieces focusing on a particular aspect of China. They include at present:
Five Weeks Before the Wall:
Musings of Scholars (45 minutes)
The Great China Economic Circle (30 minutes)
Images of Women in China (10 minutes)
Classical Chinese Architecture (forthcoming)
Religion in China (forthcoming)
The Imperial Complex in Beijing (to be announced)
With thanks to:
U.S. Department of Education, FulbrightHays Group Projects Abroad
University of Chicago, Center for East Asian Studies
Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs
Beijing University, History Department
Coordination Council for North American Affairs in Chicago
Illinois Humanities Council
College of DuPage
Danville Area Community College
Illinois State University
College of Lake County
McHenry County College
Black Hawk College
Elgin Community College
Pabst Brewing Company
Melissa Bregenzer Literature Danville Area
Cecilia Carreon English Elgin Community College
Mary Coffman Literature Danville Area Community College
Fred Glaysher English Oakland University
Linda Gruber English Kishwaukee College
Curt Hulteen Psychology Black Hawk College
Peter Klassen Sociology College of DuPage
Keith Krasemann Philosophy College of DuPage
Cass McGovern Murphy Library College of Lake County
Ray Olson Sociology College of DuPage
Martha Palit History Parkland College
Louis Perez History Illinois State University
Brian Sager Economics McHenry County College
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