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Fulbright­Hays Group Projects Abroad to China

sponsored by
Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP), The University of Chicago

June 13 ­ July 16, 1994

William Parish, University of Chicago, Coordinator
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 scholars.

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
Kishwaukee College
Illinois State University
College of Lake County
McHenry County College
Black Hawk College
Elgin Community College
Parkland College
Pabst Brewing Company


Melissa Bregenzer Literature Danville Area Community College
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
Work, Family, and Self in Chinese Society, William Parish
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Whyte, Martin K. and William L. Parish. Urban Life in Contemporary China. Chicago: 1984.

Economic Organizations

Byrd. William A. The Market Mechanism and Economic Reforms in China. Armonk: MESHarpe, 1991.
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Huang, Yasheng. "Economic Bureaucracies and Enterprises During Reforms" China Quarterly 123 (1990):431­458.
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World Bank. China: Long­term Issues and Options in the Health Transition. Washington, 1992.


Griffin, Keith and Zhao Renwei, The Distribution of Income in China. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993
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Family Life, Child Socialization, Gender
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Lee, Yeanju, Mary Brinton, and William L. Parish "Married Women’s Employment in East Asia," 1992 Draft article.
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Interpersonal Relations
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Cheng, Tunjen, and Stephan Hagard. Political Change in Taiwan. Lynne Rienner, 1992.

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Village Studies and Comprehensive Accounts

Chan, Anita, R. Madsen and J. Unmger. Chen Village Under Mao and Deng, 2nd ed., (University of California Press, 1992) ch. 10­12.

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The Central Role of Chinese Culture in the Modern Age

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Comparative Analysis of the Agricultural Economics of East Asia

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Economic Transformation and Political Change

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The Plum in the Golden Vase (Chin P’ing Mei) and the Erotic Motif in Chinese Fiction

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The Historical Evolution of Family Life in China.

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State, Intellectuals and the ’People’ in Modern China

Prasenjit Duara

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A Short Guide for Working with China’s Religious Traditions

Anthony C. Yu

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"The Quest of Brother Amor: Buddhist Intimations in The Story of the Stone" in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 49/1 (Harvard, June 1989): 55­92.

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