Chinese Culture: Interaction
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Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has been in the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China's economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing a full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of Chinese cultural exchange and interaction with other countries in history.
Key questions of the course
- How did the Silk Road emerge in history? Who was Matteo Ricci? What happened in history regarding the Chinese cultural exchange of religions, arts and sports with the West?
- Where is Central Asia? What was Pax Mongolica? What role did silver play in the Saga of the Silk Road?
- What cultural exchanges occurred between Vietnam and China? How did Vietnam contribute to the introduction of Buddhism to China through the maritime Silk Road? Which of the Vietnamese princes served as a high-ranking official in the Chinese court of the Ming dynasty?
- How did China confront Western colonialism as a global trend in the early 20th century? Who was Sun Yat-sen? How did he connect China with the rest of the world? How did Pan-Asianism arise and go bankrupt?
- What is the relationship between rituals, ghosts and alcohol in China? What are the stories behind Chinese medicinal food, correlative cosmology and tea? How many major types of Chinese cuisine are there? What sorts of food were exchanged between China and other countries in history?
- A team of 5 experts in Chinese culture has designed the course. They are, in alphabetical order, Prof Han, Dr Ng, Dr Pan, Dr Schoenberger and Dr Tsui.
- The compact design of the mini-lectures suits the busy schedule of edX learners.
- Introductions by animation hosts highlight the key questions of each unit.
- Illustrations and maps are designed to liven up the mini-lectures.
- Self-learning is supported by review questions and forums.
- Cross-referencing enhances a fruitful learning experience across the units of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture.
Prof Xiaorong Han holds a PhD in history from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He is currently Professor and Head of Department of Chinese Culture in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has conducted research on the interactions between intellectuals and peasants and between state and ethnic minorities in China, as well as China’s relations with Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam.
Dr Ng received his B.A. and M. Phil. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. After a few years of academic pursuit in the United States, he obtained his Doctoral Degree from the University of Arizona in 1997. His areas of research cover political, social, military, and minority studies with substantial emphasis on the Tang and Song dynasties. Currently he has developed his research interest in the history of Hong Kong.
Dr Lu Pan
Lu PAN is Associate Professor at Department of Chinese Culture, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests cover a wide range of topics in Cultural Studies, with a focus on visual culture, city, media and memory. She is author of three monographs on public visual politics in East Asian cities (2015), memory and urban space in Berlin and Shanghai (2016) and war monuments in Great China (2021). In addition to her academic research and teaching, Dr. Pan is an active video artist and curator.
Kevin Conrad, Jr. Schoenberger
Dr Schoenberger graduated in 2013 with a PhD in pre-modern Chinese literature from Yale University. Since then, he has worked as a researcher and teacher at Harvard University and The University of the South. His research focuses on musical and prosodic aspects of traditional Chinese poetry and performance from a cognitive perspective. He has published peer-reviewed articles on related topics in English and Chinese and is currently completing a manuscript on musicality in late imperial Chinese drama.
Dr Schoenberger has also participated in a number of collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts. Funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, he is currently writing a book on the life and work of a late-Ming artist, Xu Wei in collaboration with other senior scholars of literature, history and art history. He has also presented his work in English and Chinese at international conferences and workshops at the University of California, Los Angeles and Suzhou University.
Methodologically, Dr Schoenberger focuses on using new techniques of cognitive science and digital humanities to offer quantitative evidence for arguments about Chinese poetry and drama’s aesthetic effects.
Dr Brian Tsui completed his graduate training at Columbia University after receiving a B.A. from the University of Hong Kong. Before joining PolyU, Dr Tsui served at the Australian National University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World.
A historian by training, Dr. Tsui is interested in the intersection between revolutionary politics and mobilization of cultures on both the left and the right in China’s twentieth century. His first book, China’s Conservative Revolution: The Quest for a New Order, 1927-1949 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), studies mass politics under the Guomindang, the dilemmas confronting Chinese liberal intellectuals caught between an authoritarian state and a supposedly untamable populace, and the Nationalist Party’s appeal to Pan-Asianism as a strategy to garner international support. His current research focuses on the advent of “New China” as an Asia-wide event, zeroing in on how the advent of the People’s Republic was interpreted by Indian nationalists and Asian Christians in the early 1950s.