Reading Without Borders [CRN 27346]

Discipline: English
Instructor: Mason
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 15:10
End: 16:30
Field Work: Day 1 | January 31, 2017 | China
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Reading Without Borders offers a course in contemporary world literature. The scope will be global, and will reflect both the continuing legacy of post-colonialism and the pervasive influence of globalization in our contemporary world.  Recurring themes will include the clash of traditional and contemporary values within communities, exile, immigration, human (especially women’s) rights, and the challenge to personal and group identity brought on by global trade and electronic communications.  We will also note how cultural, ethnic and religious values come under threat and are forced to adapt to changing circumstances. Assigned readings in literature, some in translation, will focus on poetry, the short story and the personal reflection; we will also read some drama, and study narrative and documentary films, where appropriate. Our authors will be drawn principally from Asia, India and Africa, reflecting the voyage’s ports of call in Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. This will provide us an ongoing experiential focus in which to consider our studies.  Students will engage in both reflective and analytical writing as they investigate and report on their voyage experiences. They will be required to write journals, formal papers, and in-class examinations.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 1
Date: January 31, 2017

This Field class will involve students in an intense and full day, experiencing both the picturesque past, and also the energy and vitality of present-day Shanghai. We will begin with a walking tour from Peoples Square along the Nanjing Road to The Bund, a showcase of colonial British architecture, and then visit the beautiful traditional Yu Gardens. After lunch on the Nanjing Road, we will take the Light Arc Tunnel ride under the river to arrive at the Pearl Oriental Tower. Ascending the tower will give us a panoramic view of the globalized metropolis that is modern day Shanghai. We will also gain a taste of Shanghai’s likely future through a brief visit to the futuristic Super Brand Mall and a ride on the world’s fastest train, the Maglev.

Field Class Objectives: To gain a sense of Shanghai’s past, as seen in a few remnants of its disappearing old quarters and in the traditional Yu Gardens. To appreciate Shanghai’s diverse ethnic and cultural elements, with the remaining buildings of its former colonial foreign concessions, alongside its aggressively modernizing global world city. To glimpse Shanghai’s emerging future as a leader in trade and technology.

Field Class Assignment: Students will be evaluated 1) by their engaged participation in all aspects of the day’s program and 2) by a written reflection on the day’s events. This should be both impressionistic, conjuring the feel and texture of the day, and critical, reflecting on how the student personally feels and where he/she stands in relation to all that was seen, spoken and heard in the course of the day. This reflection must also refer to and incorporate references not just to the sites we visit, but also to the student’s reading in preparation for our visit. Beyond this, each student is encouraged to be an alert observer of this urban landscape, using a camera or sketchpad to record visual evidence to complement the written record. Students will be evaluated for this field lab, based on attendance at all parts of the day’s program, on curious and engaged participation, and on the quality of their response papers. Minimum final length: 1500 words. Field Lab is worth 20% of course grade

Learning Objectives:
1. To gain a sense of Shanghai’s past, as seen in the Yu Gardens and the Colonial architecture of the Bund.
2. To experience Shanghai’s present, as seen in its bustling, diverse megalopolis, and mingling of traditional with futuristic styles and architecture.
3. To glimpse at Shanghai and China’s globalized future with its huge malls and super speed transportation.