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Ilha Formosa


Xinjiang and Islam



Raitt 116
Monday and Wednesday 12:30-2:20

Instructor: Stevan Harrell
Office: Denny M41 (Rarely there)
Office hours: Make an appointment; I'm flexible.
Phone: 543-9608 (Rarely there)

This course is designed to acquaint you with the peoples around the periphery of China, particularly but not exclusively those that are included today within the borders of the People's Republic of China. The primary theme is boundaries and the way people draw, sharpen, blur, or cross them at different times and in different places. We will consider five regional cases: the Mongols and other peoples of the steppes to the North, the Muslim cultures of the Northwest and elsewhere, the Tibetans of the plateau to the West, the ethnically mixed areas of the Southwest, and the multilayered identities of Taiwan. In every case, we will examine the life of peripheral peoples as part of the Sinocentric world; at the same time, we will attempt to hear not just the voices of the Chinese observers and overlords, but the voices of the local people as well. Lectures will be supplemented with slide presentations, guest lectures, etc.

This is a writing-intensive course: You will need to turn in five book reviews (for five of the six required books) and three synthetic essays (on three of the five geographic units that comprise the course).

The book reviews should be 300-500 words each, and you can turn them in on a Catalyst go-post site--they are all due on Fridays. The reviews should not be just summaries, but rather should tell the rest of us what you think about the book--what are its strong and weak points, what questions did the author raise and how satisfactorily did he or she answer them? They should also just flat out tell us whether you liked the book or not and why. Reviews will count a total of 25% of your grade; if you want to write all six, you may drop the lowest score.

There will be five synthetic essay assignments, one for each of the five geographic case study units, each posted on the first day of the unit. For each assignment, you will have a minimum of three choices of topic. That is you will be writing on three out of about 15 or 20 suggested topics. The synthetic essays should be between 1500 and 2000 words long. All essays will be "handed" in and "handed" back by email. The essays will count a total of 75% of your grade; if you want to write four you may drop the lowest score and if you are a real Stakhanovite or Lei Feng and want to write five, you may drop the lowest two scores.

The due dates for all the writing assignments are available on the class schedule page; I've tried to space them out reasonably, but since you don't have to do all of them, you ought to be able to avoid too many all-nighters.

Books and Other Readings:
There are six required books for this class:
Familiar Strangers, by Jonathan N. Lipman
Down a Narrow Road, by Jay Dautcher
The Struggle for Tibet, by Wang Lixiong and Tsering Shakya
Taming Tibet, by Emily T. Yeh
China's New Socialist Countryside by Russell Harwood
A Landscape of Travel by Jenny Chio
All are available at the University Bookstore.

Other readings are accessible as .pdf files or as UW library resources from links on this website.