World Civilizations: China – Travel & Study Course 

   Instructor:  Jana Russ 
   Office: CAS 201A 
   Phone: 330-972-6076 

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.


   Instructor Webpage:
   China Resource Page:

   this syllabus is online at:

Course Objectives
To examine the geography, history, religion, and basic cultural elements of China; to analyze the revolutionary changes that have affected the lives of ordinary people in China in the 20th century.
2. To “walk in Chinese shoes,” to gain a critical understanding and appreciation of a Chinese worldview and be able to reflect on that worldview in light of one’s own life.

Course Requirements

  • Take part in the three-week Travel Study Trip to China and Korea through the Office of International Programs.
  • Attend five other class get togethers prior to the trip, during which we will see slides of China, watch Chinese films, and discuss various aspects of Chinese culture which will prepare you for the trip.  (At least one of these will probably involve a Chinese dinner.)
  • At least three pieces of Writing:
    • A journal you will keep of your experiences as we travel.
    • a Critical Book Review of an historical novel or biography you will select from a list of readings (you look in the “Scar Literature” section)
    • and a Reflection Paper based upon what you have read and the journal you will keep throughout your trip.
  • Additional readings prior to travel: various short web-based primary texts available on the China Resource page, my web pages, and as clickable links through the online version of this syllabus. 
    • Web /email discussion questions will be based on the readings. You will need a valid UA email account and access to Zipline.

The text book for this course is:  China: its History and Culture, 4th edition by W. Scott Morton.  You are responsible for entirely reading the web texts (anything underlined on this syllabus is available as a clickable link in the online version) as well as your approved novel and the basic history text.  The Tentative Schedule lists the days various readings will be discussed in class.  Quiz / Discussion questions will be based on assigned reading for the days they are given.  Be sure you come to class prepared to discuss the readings--non-participation or failure to keep up with the material may affect your grade.  We will hold a book discussion of the novel you are reading on the last class day. 

Papers will be due after you return from the trip--be sure you know the due date on the papers.  Late papers will not be accepted unless you have made prior arrangements with me and have a very good reason, even then they may still be subject to grade reduction.   All papers must be typed, double-spaced, in no larger than 12 point font, with 1 inch margins (for help visit the Writing Lab in 215 Carroll Hall and also look at the guidelines for writing term papers on the "China Resource Page" at ).  There are computers available in the Polsky building, the GSC, and the library.

Writing Lab
For those who need help with papers expert tutorial assistance is available at the Writing Lab, which is located in Carroll Hall, room 212.  Students are encouraged to make appointments, but may also drop in to see if a tutor is available.  For appointments call 972-6548.


You will be graded on three written assignments: your journal (20% of your grade), your book review (20%), and your reflection paper (40%).  Another 20% of your grade will be for participation in class, in email or bulletin board discussions and in participation and cooperation on the trip. 

Just don’t do it!  Plagiarism will result in the automatic failure of the course and may be reported to the Dean for possible academic discipline.  Plagiarism includes:
1. Using a paper, or portions of a paper, that someone else wrote (this includes too closely paraphrasing sentences in a text!)
2. Using a paper that has been previously turned into another class or turning in the same paper to two different classes
3. Using the ideas or words of another writer without giving proper credit/citation
Be certain in every paper that you document all sources quotes and consulted that are sources of ideas you use.  Use MLA citation styles.  If you are ever unsure whether you are plagiarizing, come and see me.  I will not penalize you for making a mistake, as long as you come and talk to me about it before turning in your paper.

Attendance and Participation
There is a large amount of material to cover in this course--your attendance and active participation are essential.  We only have five meetings before the trip to cover preparatory material.  We can adjust the course times and meeting places to try to meet everyone's needs. You may only miss one class without penalty.  The second absence may result in a full letter lowering of your grade.  If you miss more than three classes, you risk failing.  Don’t be late--recurrent tardiness will be counted as an absence!  The easiest way to improve your grade is by active participation in class discussions.  If you never talk in class, or are abusive in your talk, your grade may suffer.  Reading and writing assignments must be completed before the class begins.  Late work will not be accepted unless previously arranged--and then only with a grade reduction.  For those who may be taking this class through the web or via Distance Learning, I will contact you to make special arrangements for your viewing of the films or of substitute films.  Discussions will also be conducted via Pipeline, the University’s email system, you must check the bulletin board online regularly and respond to course questions there as well as in class meetings. Look for the class name and number under the “My Courses” section of Pipeline to find the class bulletin board.  

A  young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elders outside his home. He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with “jen” [humanity]. After doing this, if he has energy to spare, he can study literature and the arts.”                                       --Confucius

Tentative Schedule

    Meeting 1:  Geography and Ancient Empires
Read: web texts:   "The Mandate of Heaven" and "Chinese Language and Writing". Choose a biography or novel from the list and get my approval on it.
Slides of cities we will visit, Film: “Unruly Dragon” 
Websites to visit
: see "Cities and Sites in China" on the China Resource Page and take a look at the pages for: Shanghai, Kaifeng, Shaolin Temple, Beijing, and Great Wall.

    Meeting 2: Religion and Philosophy, The Scholar Gentry and the Confucian Bureaucracy
Read: your novel, web texts:  "Selections from the Confucian Analects,"   "Dao De Ching" and "Examples of Filial Piety"
Film: “The Great Wall”
Websites to visit:   "History Timeline" with commentary by dynasties

   Meeting 3:  Women and Families, the changing role of women from ancient times to the Communist Era
Read: your novel, web texts: “Chinese Footbinding”, "Views of a Female Confucian”,  and "Women in China"  
Film: “Small Happiness” (additional suggested film for viewing on your own: "Raise the Red Lantern")

   Meeting 4:  The fall of the Empire, Mongols to Manchus and Foreign Invaders
Read: finish reading your novel, web texts: "Commisioner Lin’s letter to Queen Victoria and The Opium War"
Film: “The Forbidden City” (additional suggested film for viewing on your own: "The Last Emperor")
Websites to visit: Virtual Tour of the Forbidden City,  "Nanjing Massacre"

    Meeting 5:  China as Nation: from the Kuomintang and Chinese Communism to the Cultural Revolution and beyond
Read: web texts: "SunYat-sen: Fundamentals of National Reconstruction"
Film: “To Live”
Websites to visit: "The Cult of Mao" "Tiananmen Square"

I recommend taking your novel and text along on the trip, you will find it useful to have reading material on the planes and trains.  Papers are due within 4 weeks from return date of China trip (the sooner you turn them in the quicker your grade will go in).