Sino-American Relations

Discipline: East Asian Studies
Instructor: Xie/Israel
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1540
End: 1655
Field Work: Day 1 | Japan
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites. However, academic or other exposure to Chinese history, society, culture, politics, or foreign relations, as well as some knowledge of American history and foreign relations, will be useful. Download Syllabus

Taught by Professors Israel and Xie, this course seeks to convey an understanding of the interaction of two nations that occupy center stage at the beginning of the 21st century. One is the world’s sole surviving super-power, the other the world’s most populous state, now in the fourth decade of the longest sustained period of rapid economic development of any third world country. In spite of profound political and cultural differences, as the world’s first and second largest economies, the two are interlinked and interdependent. In addition to exploring diplomatic, military, and economic relations between China and the United States, we will take a close look at the more diffuse but equally important cultural, social, academic, and psychological interactions between their people. Through the dynamic interplay of Chinese-American team teaching and with first-hand onshore exposure to China and related Asian cultures, students should emerge from this course better able to understand the common interests and complexities that characterize Sino-US relations in an age of globalization.


Field Work

Country: Japan
Day: 1

Nearly half a century ago,  Ginny Stibbs, a New Orleans debutante,  graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California,  and flew to Taiwan to continue her study of the Chinese language.  There she met a young Japanese diplomat, Koreshige Anami.  From 2001 to 2006, Ginny and her husband, Ambassador Koreshige Anami,   presided over the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.  There she renewed her friendship with John Israel, her Chinese history professor from Claremont. In 2010 Ginny graciously agreed to host Professor Israel and group of Semester at Sea students for “A Day with Ginny Anami”.  It was a memorable experience, imparting the experiences and insights of this remarkable woman, who had spent her adult life using  tri-lingual, tri-cultural skills to promote international understanding.  Ginny’s invitation prepared us for our visit to her home and neighborhood: “Mitaka is a lovely suburb with lots of trees and cultural spots. The homes of two famous early 20th century Japanese authors are on my street as well as the atelier of the sculptor who did the Peace Statue in Nagasaki. My home is on Peace Street, so named because most of it was bombed in WWII. In my house, I can explain the traditional family altar, ofuro bath and the stories of my parents-in-law. Visitors will also see pictures of Chinese leaders with [Ambassador] Anami, which clutter our living room. We can talk of our long stays (altogether 12 years) in China. The station before Mitaka is Kichijoji, one of the hippest spots for young people. We will walk to Kichijoji through the Park and catch the street scene there and maybe wander into their big electronics store. Also, in the Park near my house is a temple and a shrine, where I could explain basics of Japanese Shinto and Buddhism.” Now, three years later, “A Day with Ginny Anami” has morphed into a field lab for our Sino-US Relations course:  “A Day with Ambassador and Mrs. Anami”.    Together with this extraordinary couple, we will explore the important and thought-provoking  interplay among Japan, China, and the United States – countries to which the Anamis have devoted their lives and careers. Academic Objectives:

  1. To see the Sino-Japanese-US triangle in East Asia through the eyes of a tri-lingual, tri-cultural couple who have played key roles in the relationship.