The University of Akron
UA History Department
China Resource Page

Cultural Project
Your task for this assignment is to find a topic, research it, and present it to the class.
First:  The Topic
Think about the subjects we've covered in the class: people, places, events, aspects of culture.  What appeals to you?  One idea for an easy project is to go to the English Language Institute on the third floor of Olin Hall and to sign up for a Chinese conversation partner.  You would have weekly conversations with your partner and gather information about life in China to report on for your presentation (if you choose this option you will have to start conversations early in the semester!).  

If you are interested in a particular place (Tiananmin Square, The Great Wall, the Yangtze River, the Forbidden City) you might look for films or books or internet travel information and do your presentation with some history of the place, possibly with pictures, and be prepared to tell the class why it is or was important to the Chinese people.
Other ideas students have found interesting in the past include:  footbinding, sports in China, foods or a particular food (rice, tea, 100 year eggs, Peking duck), Chinese beer (and why it is made in Shandong province), clothing styles, Tai Chi, Feng Shui, Buddhism, news media in China, Hong Kong film industry, silk, dragons, human rights issues, Maoist propaganda posters, Chinese opera, the New Year's festival, Chinese music, various films, various books .  

You must get approval on your final topic before you can use it in class.
Second:  Research
Next cruise the internet, cruise the China Resource Page, go to the library, see what you can find out about your subject.  Remember that while published books have to pass a review before they are printed there is no such check on the internet.  Do not accept everything you read on the internet as true unless you can cross-reference it with a trustworthy source (like your text book!).  If you find interesting websites you might measure them against this checklist. Take lots of notes, focus your topic, and remember to think about the relevance of this subject.  How has it impacted China?  How does it enhance what we learned in class?
Third:  The Presentation
Plan on a 10-15 minute presentation in class.  You don't need to write up your topic, but you will probably use your notes (in an organized format) while you talk.  A good presentation will have some audio-visual aid (pictures from a book or website, samples of food, a couple minute film clip, getting everyone up for a lesson in Tai Chi).  If you feel technologically inclined and want to put your presentation into a powerpoint slideshow, a video, or setup on a website, let me know so that we can have the appropriate equipment available.  You will be given a three part point grade on:
  1. how you handled the topic (the quality of your research, the connections you draw to the class or Chinese history)
  2. your presentation style (preparedness, public speaking, visual aids, handouts if any)
  3. the Ohh-Ahh factors (how much the class and I enjoyed it)    
Check the syllabus to see what percentage of your grade is for the Cultural Project.   

This page last updated, Sept.2002.  Please email us with comments or corrections.
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