Exploration Seminars
Beijing, China
Beijing: In the Streets, On Stage, and on the Film Screen
August 23 to September 13

What is happening to Beijing, as it is revving up toward the 2008 Olympics? How do city planners, playwrights and filmmakers envision the city that is transforming so rapidly? What are Beijing’s special traits, and how do its citizens think of their identity? How does the cinema influence that identity?

In this course, we will learn the history of Beijing, read the plays and films that tell of China’s capital, and understand how urban planners and filmmakers work in the city. Class work will be accompanied by guided tours through Beijing’s lanes, watching plays performed on stage, tour the Beijing film scene, and meet with directors. A select, small number of students from China will join class discussions. No knowledge of the Chinese language is required, although those proficient in the language will get an added benefit from the drama performances.

Class assignments include reading the assigned texts, attendance of 2-hour three times a week, attendance of daily activities inside and outside campus, and scheduled discussion sessions with local students. At the end of the course, each student will present an analytical paper on a relevant aspect of the course (architecture, drama, film, or any other pre-approved subject). Students may suggest (subject to the instructor’s approval) individual projects for extra credit, based on additional work, such as interviews or short documentary films.

Participants will receive 5 credits in:
Comparative Literature (C LIT) 322 “Studies in Asian and Western Literatures,”
International Studies – East Asian Studies (SISEA) 399 “Study Abroad: East Asian Studies,”
or in another course, in their major, if deemed appropriate by the Study Abroad program.

 Fei Fei Chan's website on the seminar