Professor Dongping Han was born and raised in rural Shandong, China. His mother was a farmer and his father was a blue-collar worker in a state-owned factory. His parents were both illiterate. Dongping started working after school on a collective farm when he was only nine. Before he finished high school, he had learned to do all kinds of farming work. After he graduated from high school, he worked in the village factory, first as a lathe operator and then as a machinist. He served as the factory manager for four years before he went to college in 1978 when China reintroduced the college entrance examination again. He was the first and the only one that year from his hometown to enroll in college. He studied English Literature as an undergraduate, and then went on to work on an MA in Translation. He taught at Zhengzhou University for three years before continuing his studies at the National University of Singapore for a diploma in Education.
Dongping next traveled to the USA for his MA in History from the University of Vermont where he also taught Chinese Language and Chinese History. He continued his studies at Brandeis University, earning his Ph.D. in Politics there in 1998. While working on this degree at Brandeis, he also taught American students Chinese, Chinese students English, and courses on Chinese Politics and International Politics of the Pacific.
Dongping taught two years at Western Illinois University before he came to his current position at Warren Wilson College in 2000. In the last twenty-one years, he has taught International Politics, Comparative Politics, Chinese History, Environmental Politics and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. He has led more than a dozen study abroad trips to China. He also won five outside grants to take four students each time to study in rural China. Dongping believes that in order to understand China, students need to learn about the Chinese rural areas.
In his free time, Dongping likes to play table tennis, and enjoys gardening and cooking. Each year at Warren Wilson, he organizes the annual celebrations of the Chinese New Year and Moon festival with his students. Together they slaughter a pig from Warren Wilson farm, barbecue it and make traditional dumplings. Cross-cultural activities such as these enhance the classroom learning and Dongping looks forward to creating new traditions with his Semester at Sea students. He also challenges you to a match of table tennis on the deck of the MV World Odyssey!