Teaching Classical Chinese Literature Across a Globalized World: Challenges and Strategies

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Teaching Classical Chinese Literature Across a Globalized World: Challenges and Strategies
Stream: Literature
Presentation Type: Roundtable
Authors:
Qiaomei Tang, Grinnell College, United States (organizer, discussant)
Nanxiu Qian, Rice University, United States (roundtable-chair)
Qiulei Hu, The City University of New York, United States (discussant)
Su Yu, Nanjing University, China (discussant)
Evan Nicoll-Johnson, University of Alberta, Canada (discussant)
Chao Ling, Bates College, United States (discussant)

Abstract:

In today’s globalized world, how to teach classical Chinese literature has become increasingly challenging. For one thing, facing a new generation of students who grew up consuming fast entertainment and are accustomed to instant gratification afforded by technology, how to lead them to appreciate the beauty, subtlety, and profundity of classical Chinese literature? Secondly, with students demanding for cultural, racial, and gender diversity and equality, how to inform them that, in fact, classical Chinese literature bears all these values? Last but not least, the writing of classical Chinese literature was once indeed a globalized practice, at least in the so-called Sinosphere, namely, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, because classical Chinese was the written language for all these countries beginning as early as the seventh century. Modernization in the East Asia unfortunately terminated the use of this language and has left a big gap for people in this area to understand their culture and history in greater details. How to reconnect classical Chinese literature with the Sinosphere literatures and understand their reverse influence has become a necessary topic for our teaching within a globalized context.

The participants of this roundtable are well qualified in taking up this topic, for all of us are products of a “globalized” training in classical Chinese literature and have pertinent teaching experience in diversified institutions. We either graduated from a major classical Chinese literature program in China and received further education in the US, or educated in the US but are now teaching in Canada or Mainland China. We teach either at a small liberal arts college or a big research university, and our students are from all over the world. Naturally we have encountered all kinds of challenges and tried to figure out strategies to deal with the problems. All this we would like to share with our audience and to solicit their responses.