Prior to his appointment at the Central University of Nationalities, Dr. Zhang was a Fulbright scholar in the department of anthropology at Stanford University. He has done ethnological fieldwork with Yi, Muslim, Tibetan, and numerous other minorities in China. He was also the consultant on anthropology to the Ford Foundation in China and to the Chinese State Commission.
Modern China & its Peoples constitute a puzzling, challenging complex whole and those who engage its study often see the phenomenal trees but overlook the structural forest. This anthropological course is trying to be holistic with a strategy of focusing on the national minorities’ perspective by introducing its cultural diversity in unity, including its natural ecologies and cultural legacies, history and evolution, structure and agency, interaction between the big tradition and little traditions, the paradox of modern development and the necessity of safeguarding equity of cultural continuity as a requirement for better governance.
This course is based on lectures once a week, some of them will be delivered by minority scholars from different cultural backgrounds, Manchu, Mongol, Uyghur, Tibetan, Hui, Miao, Yi, Dong etc., together with Professor Zhang Haiyang and his Vietnamese assistant Dr. Nguyen Phuong Tram.
Each lecture is to be divided into three interesting parts: a brief introduction by the instructors, a active presentation on topics assigned in advance, and an intensive discussion based on your readings and observations.
A field trip to the campus of the Minzu University of China and its ethnic museum followed by an interaction with minority graduate students in over an Uyghur or Mongolian food table is the highlight before your final examination.
The aim of this lecture is to internalize an overall mental picture about the diversity in unity of peoples and cultures in China. It will enrich your conception of China, Chinese People, ethnic minorities in China and their cultures, etc. After this course, you will be different because you will have a different outlook on China in many ways. An interesting topic somehow developing it into a persuasive paper to demonstrate your agency in cross cultural communication is the requirement.
All the assignments and discussions in AND out of the classroom are mechanisms to ensure you to have the following learning outcomes: