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Teaching About Asia - January 2008

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
January 18, 2008


A craftsman makes rat figurines and a dragon boat out of palm leaves in Hangzhou, China
in anticipation of Lunar New Year - February 7 commences the Year of the Rat. (Reuters)

Many of us may still be lamenting the end of the holiday season, but for the many Asians who follow the lunar calendar, the new year will begin on February 7. And according to the Chinese zodiac, it will be the Year of the Rat. Are you planning to incorporate discussion of the Lunar New Year and its cultural significance into your curriculum?  If so, please share your ideas in our "Teaching About Asia" web forum, an online community of educators dedicated to bringing more of Asia into the classroom. It's easy to sign up - just send us a quick e-mailScroll below to the "Teachers on Asia" section to see what forum members have been talking about.

Space is still open for our two Spring 2008 professional development seminars on "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom," to be held from February to May at the UTLA Building in Los Angeles and Millikan Middle School in the San Fernando Valley. Teachers are encouraged to visit the "K-12 Curriculum" section of our website for additional detail and application information.  Seminar overviews and schedules can be found below. 

Teachers are also invited to join us in March and April 2008 for one-day workshops on "Human Rights in Asia" and "Chinese Film and Politics." Teachers who attend both may be eligible to receive one LAUSD salary point.  Details are being finalized - we will keep you posted.       

If you have already completed an NCTA seminar, you can extend your East Asia learning experience in China and Japan over the summer. Apply for the NCTA California Summer Study Tour to China and Japan by downloading the application from our website. The application deadline is February 1, 2008.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe (go to our newsletter subscription page and select the “K-12 Education” subscriber category). As always, we welcome your feedback - please write to us at

In this issue:


♦  NCTA Seminars - Spring 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI) is committed to improving teaching about China and the rest of Asia.  For Spring 2008, we will be holding the "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" seminar in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) at two locations: the UTLA building in Los Angeles and Millikan Middle School in the San Fernando Valley.

The seminars will meet on six alternating Tuesday evenings from 5 to 8 pm, with three Saturday sessions from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Priority in enrollment will be given to World History and Language Arts teachers, but all teachers are encouraged to apply.  Enrollment in each seminar will be limited to 20 participants. 

"East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" at a glance:

Duration: 36 hours
Eligibility: Open to all; priority enrollment for World History and Language Arts teachers
Class size: 20 teachers per seminar
Seminar focus:  1) Helping teachers address CA educational standards by exploring East Asian history and culture; 2)  Using new media resources to develop East Asia-focused lesson materials
Seminar topics
East Asia: Geography/Early East Asia, East Asia since 1900, Cosmopolitan East Asia, Women in East Asian History, Chinese Philosophy, Late Imperial China, Classical and Warrior Japan, The Meiji Restoration, Japanese Literature, Using Poetry; New Media: Web Research, Web Collaboration
Upon sucessful completion of seminar and follow-up requirements, individuals are eligible to receive:
    →  $500 stipend
    →  $200 in East Asian referene and teaching materials
    →  $300 school library grant for East Asia-focused materials
    →  Two LAUSD salary points or six USC continuing education units

Seminar schedules:

UTLA (Los Angeles): February 5 to May 27, 2008
Millikan (San Fernando Valley): January 29 to May 31, 2008


Click here for additional information on the seminars, application directions and forms. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, January 25, 2008.

♦  2008 NCTA California Summer Study Tour to China and Japan

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) invites seminar alumni from 2001-2007 seminars in California to participate in our 2008 study tour to China and Japan. California teachers who have successfully completed an NCTA seminar coordinated by CSUF, Stanford, UCLA, or USC are eligible to apply. 

→  Tentative tour dates: June 28 to July 19, 2008
→  Application deadline: Friday, February 1, 2008

Additional information, application directions and forms for the study tour are available for download on our website. 

♦  USCI in the Classroom - Discover Asia at USC

The USCI website ( is your one-stop shop for news and resources about China and the rest of Asia. Our comprehsneive events calendar provides the most up-to-date listings of China- and Asia-related events. As we begin the spring semester, we invite teachers and friends to visit the USC campus for lectures and conferences that are free and open to the public. Campus maps and visitor information can be found here. Upcoming USCI offerings include:

 •  Legislating Harmony? Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law in China

Speaker: Mary Gallagher, University of Michigan
Date: Thursday, January 31, 2008
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Location: USC Leavey Library Auditorium
Cost: Free; refreshments will be provided

Professor Gallagher focuses on the connection between labor and law in China by examining the legal mobilization of Chinese workers in Shanghai and labors standards and practices in four Chinese regions.

•  China's Rise and the Limits on Balancing by US Allies in Asia

Speaker: David Bachman, University of Washington
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 pm
Location: USC University Club, Pub Room
Cost: Free; refreshments will be provided

Professor Bachman is an expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy, China's political economy, and Sino-American relations. He is currently working on a book on defense industrialization in China, 1949-1985, and projects related to China's rise in Asia.

 •  History and China’s Foreign Relations

Symposium: The Achievements and Contradictions of American Scholarship
Date: Sunday, February 17, 2008
Time: 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Location: Doheny Library, Intellectual Commons Room
Cost: Free; reception follows
RSVPs are appreciated - please call 213-821-4382 or e-mail us

This USCI symposium brings together historians, political scientists, and policy analysts to discuss whether or not studies of the past help to illuminate the China's foreign affairs in the present.

Featured panelists include Michael Swaine (Carnegie Endowment), Alice Lyman Miller (Hoover Institution), John Wills, Jr. (USC), James Hevia (University of Chicago), Peter C. Perdue (Yale University), Brantly Womack (University of Virginia), and Harry Harding (George Washington University).

♦  Non-USCI Learning Opportunities

For information on the seminars and other learning opportunities below, please contact the host organization directly.

•  Korea Academy for Educators

Saturday Workshops for Public and Independent Curricular Supervisors, Administrators, and Teachers
Dates: April 12th and April 26th, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Learn about Korean history and culture and the Korean American experience, gain an understanding of Korean students and issues relating to U.S. foreign policy with both South and North Korea.

The fee for two workshops is $50 and includes breakfast, lunch, parking, books, lessons, and DVDs. For LAUSD teachers desiring one salary point credit, an additional charge of $15 will cover the cost of evaluating 32 hours of required homework. For information, visit or e-mail  

Summer Seminar
Dates: July 7-11th, 2008

Learn about Korea from prominent scholars, view engaging and informative films, explore Koreatown, and create art that reflects ancient tradition at the Fifth Annual Seminar on Korean History & Culture and the Korean American Experience for K-12 Educators, held at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036).

Participants receive free materials (books, lessons and classroom resources). Educators of all disciplines and grade levels are welcome.
There is a $75 charge for the five-day seminar. Four units of credit (quarter system) will be available from the UCLA Extension. Teachers who complete requirements and are registered ($165 check payable to The Regents of UC) with UCLA by May 25th will receive a $100 refund after attending the seminar.
*Three fellowships will be available for teachers who live over 60 miles from the LA area.

For information, visit or e-mail  

•  Confucius Institute - Scholarships for K-12 Teacher of Chinese

The Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas is offering several Accelerated Chinese Teacher Certification Scholarships on a competitive basis for Mandarin speakers who want to become K-12 teachers of Chinese.  Scholarship awards include $7500 plus subsidized study in China and other benefits. 

Recipients will participate in a licensure program in Mandarin Chinese at the University of Kansas.  Both native speakers and non-native speakers of Mandarin Chinese are eligible to apply; applicants need not be Kansas residents or American citizens.  For eligibility requirements and application information, please contact Nancy Hope ( at the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas.


♦  Additional Resources for Teaching about Asia - Podcasts

•  Kennedy Center ArtsEdge - Sounds of China

The Kennedy Center National Arts and Education Network features in its Look-Listen-Learn section the Sounds of China PodPage, an audio series exploring unique aspects of Chinese music through sounds, performance and interviews.

Three different episodes focus on the endangered music of the Yunnan peoples, the traditional sounds of the pipa, bamboo flute, qin and other Chinese instruments and the creative space between them where ancient and avant-garde sounds intersect. Users can listen online, download individual files, or subscribe to the Podcast. Lesson plans and related web links are also provided.

•  The Smithsonian - Asia-related Podcasts and Radio Asia

The Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian provides an extensive offering of Asia-related podcasts, while Radio Asia offers a stream of complete tracks from the collections of Smithsonian Global Sound.

Highlights from the Asia-related podcasts include "Tan Dun's Map Project and China's Endangered Music," by the composer/conductor of the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and "Silk Road Stories," offerings from Washington DC volunteers who trained with a professional storyteller to tell tales about their homelands along the ancient Silk Road. 

•  Asia Society - The Weekly Fix

Listeners can subscribe to receive free regular podcast programs ranging from weekly newscasts to series that feature artists, writers, musicians, activists, and policymakers who present the uniqueness and diversity of Asia.


The Weekly Fix highlights the latest headlines on Asia with expert analysis and commentary.  The January 15 edition recaps the KMT landslide in the Taiwan elections and Indian concerns over the rumored wedding of French President Sarkozy.

•  Radio Free Asia - Podcasts in multiple languages

Radio Free Asia broadcasts only in local languages and dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, Uyghur, and the Wu dialect; Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham); Burmese; Khmer to Cambodia; Korean to North Korea; Lao; and Vietnamese. 

Podcasts are now available for each language stream and for the individual programs offered under the Mandarin and Tibetan streams.

•  Lonely Planet - Travel stories

The website of the popular travel guides offers podcasts of real-life travel experiences from contributors across the world. Browse the podcast index for stories about adventures in Malaysia, Thailand, China, Indonesia and India.

•  BBC Asian Network - Love Bollywood

Fans of popular Indian cinema can hear interviews with the stars and celebrities from the world of Bollywood, plus the latest news and film reviews, taken from the BBC "Love Bollywood" program.  

•  Got a good tip on teaching resources? 

→  E-mail us and we will share it in the next issue

♦  Teachers on Asia

•  "Asia in My Classroom" Discussion Forum

Teachers of all levels and subjects are invited to join our "Asia in My Classroom" forum. To become a registered user (enabling you to post to the board), please e-mail us your request along with your name, school, and the grades and subjects you teach.  What teachers have been talking about:

→  From a commentary on the film 3:10 to Yuma: "During the holiday season, with the host of men in my family, I was encouraged to rent the film...As the film progressed, the conflict of getting Wade Biggs (Russell Crowe) to the train in Yuma intensified with the Pinkerton investigator (Peter Fonda), the rancher (Christian Bale) and others working their way through the lands of the Apache and coming upon...the next surprise...the Chinese railway workers. While the director does not presume that the Calvary, cowboys, railway systems and the Wells Fargo Banks all happened at the same time, he gives himself Hollywood license to conjoin the events that helped to shape the West...So, the discovery seemed to be - One never knows where a few interesting insights can surface, even when you select the film at gunpoint."
- Susan Pavelka Gregg, Palos Verdes High School

→  From a discussion on science-focused web resources: "I gave some other students of mine an extra credit assignment to study the chemistry of smog and I asked them to write a report on the Air Quality and Mitigation of Smog in Preparation of the 2008 Olympics. To my surprise, there is so much out there in terms of online information. Here is one of them. This too comes from, a very valuable online site for science related news. The students really learned the problems of smog but also what it is doing to other countries and China and what they plan to do about it."

- Kevin Kung, Palisades Charter High School

→  On planning a class trip to the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo: "Lynn Yamasaki will make possible a great day... [from] paying for transportation and having the center closed so you can have it all to yourself, she will help in making your time the most efficient...You have to attend a cool orientation in which you will be given videos and a kit, besides a great lunch. Contact Lynn (School Programs Developer) at 213-830-5660 or"

- Patricia Campuzano, San Pedro High School


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USC U.S. - China Institute

3535 S. Figueroa Street, FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
United States of America

phone: 213-821-4382
fax: 213-821-2382