To help you make sense of what you have read and of your reaction to it, my suggestion is for you each to keep a reader’s diary– perhaps a learner’s diary about what you think about your changing thoughts, attidtudes and beliefs.
A diary is a personal and very intimate thing– yet I hope you will be willing to share the thoughts you note down in yours with your classmates, and me !
Virginia Woolf once wrote about diaries: “What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through.”
Feel free to keep your diary in any form you wish. To make keeping notes easier, I am including here a ‘diary’ form that you can use, or adapt, to keep notes on anything and everything that catches your attention in the book: curiosities, intercultural misunderstandings, things you learn about China… and ideas about intercultural communication to remember for the future and keep in mind during your working life.
For next week, please get started reading River Town ! We will be discussing the first 52 pages…. Chapter 1 “Downstream” + The City, which describes FUling, and Chapter 2, “Shakespeare with Chinese Characteristics”. I hope you enjoy the book, and encourage you to think, as you read it, not only about the differences between Chinese university life and yours, but also about what these differences would mean in your life, in shaping your worldview, your dreams, and your hopes for the future.
The following photos give you a glimpse at Fuling today, 13 years after the publication of River Town.
If you are having trouble picturing China in your mind’s eye, why not try browsing through some of the fantastic articles, photo galleries, videos and more published on the National Geographic website? More than 50 of them have been published by Peter Hessler !
some great starting places….
a 5-minute video entitled “China from above” with spectacular photography:
an article published by Peter Hessler in 2013, describing a return visit to Fuling and how the city’s growth reflect’s China’s enormous advances…
a fantastic article entitled “China’s Journey” published in National Geographic by Peter Hessler in 2008:
National Geographic provides a wealth of information about China: I suggest you browse through the magazine’s website…
a quiz on architectural treasures: