You are here

Teaching About Asia - October 2008

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
October 1, 2008

New USCI documentary Election ’08 and the China Challenge
focuses on China's role in the November election

The upcoming election is no doubt the current hot topic in your classroom, but have you had the opportunity to frame discussion around one of the most important, yet often overlooked, factors affecting the outcome of November 4?  The U.S.-China relationship is complex and evolving, and many argue it is the 21st century’s most important bilateral tie.  The USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI) is proud to announce the release of Election ’08 and the Challenge of China, a forty-minute documentary examining key issues and the stances taken by the candidates and the historical role of China in U.S. campaign politics.

Election ’08 and the Challenge of China is available for streaming on the USCI website ( and at USCI’s YouTube channel (  Teachers and other educators are invited to contact us for a free DVD copy of the documentary for their classrooms - e-mail or fax your request to USCI at 213-821-2382.  Please provide your name and e-mail, grade and subjects taught and school name and mailing address.

Karen Johnson of Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis, Mo. writes: "...I just viewed [two documentary segments online].  I found them very interesting, balanced and plan to use them in my sophomore Asia class. Keep up the good work. I particularly like the fact that you interviewed both sides of the political spectrum... the content is understandable for high schoolers."  Check out the documentary and send us your feedback as well by writing to

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).

In this issue:


♦  Free DVD for teachers: Election ’08 and the China Challenge

Election ’08 and the Challenge of China is produced by the USC U.S.-China Institute, reported by former CNN Beijing bureau chief Mike Chinoy and features historical and contemporary news footage, interviews with former officials and scholars, as well as candidate speeches and interviews with the candidates’ key China advisors. 

The documentary has eight segments and is designed for a general audience:

Part 1 - The Big Picture
Part 2
- Tensions over Trade
Part 3
- Human Rights
Part 4
- Taiwan and China’ Military Buildup
Part 5
- China’s Growing International Clout
Part 6
- China in U.S. Campaign Politics
Part 7
- McCain and China
Part 8
- Obama and China

The documentary is available for streaming on the USCI website ( and at USCI’s YouTube channel (

Teachers and other educators may request a free DVD copy sent to their school by e-mailing or faxing 213-821-2382 (please provide name and e-mail, grade and subjects taught and school name and mailing address.  

♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events

USCI and other USC research centers coordinate a range of on-campus programs exploring important issues and trends in Asia.  Below are several events that highlight topics you may wish to cover in your classroom. 

For additional event details and to browse our entire event calendar, please click here.  Visitor information for the USC campus can be found here.  

•  Lecture - What Does Chinese History Tell Us About China’s Rise?

Speaker: Victoria Hui, Political Science, University of Notre Dame
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008
Time: 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Location: USC University Club, Banquet Room
Cost: Free

Chinese IR scholars have turned to Chinese history to support the official claim of “peaceful rise,” suggesting that China never sought territorial expansion in the past and will never do so in the future. Victoria Hui examines this claim by analyzing China’s historical records and argues for the centrality of war in China’s formation and transformation throughout Chinese history.  More information...

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

Speaker: David Bachman, University of Washington, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Location: USC Leavey Library
Cost: Free

David Bachman is the associate director of and professor at the Jackson School. He has written about 50 articles and book chapters 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.  More information...


♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

•  Pacific Asia Museum - Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art

Date: September 17, 2008 to January 11, 2009
Location: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: Adults $7; students/seniors $5; free every 4th Friday of the month
Education coordinator: Amelia Chapman, 626-449-2742, ext.19

Features Chinese ink rubbings, folk paintings, silk embroideries and Japanese woodblock prints related to the ritual of honoring the ancestors, an important concept in Confucian ideology.

The museum’s website also offers an online exhibition:Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China

•  Mingei International Museum - India Adorned

Date: July 11, 2008 to April 19, 2009
Location: 1439 El Prado (on the Plaza de Panama), San Diego, CA 92101
Hours and admission: click here

Objects of worship, personal decorations, and items used in daily life are among those included. Many items can be viewed via the website.

♦  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:

→  On 12th century European explorer Benjamin of Tudela: "In the 1100s a Spanish Jew named Benjamin traveled to China and reported on his travels in a well-known diary that was widely read throughout Europe.  It has even been speculated that Benjamin's diary precipitated Marco Polo's interest in making the trip.  The diary...has been translated into English and is entitled The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela.  [Also available is] a beautiful picture book entitled The travels of Benjamin of Tudela: through three continents in the twelfth century."
- Susan Dubin, Valley Beth Shalom Day School Library

→  On The Japanese Tea Ceremony website: "Great website to teach and learn about the Japanese tea ceremony. Well written with easily accessible language. Includes great links to images of tokonoma and beautiful Japanese art. Excellent website for those looking to incorporate a tea ceremony in their curriculum as I was when I found it."

- Lesly Culp, Vista Murrieta High School

→  On the UCLA World History Colloquium series online:  "By chance I stumbled upon a series of lectures being given at UCLA in its World History Colloquium...Scholarly papers are available for download. You can still catch some of the meetings since they go on [until November]. One the papers you can download is Imagining Pre-Modern China."

- Alexei Nicolai, Arleta High School

♦  Subscription 
Please feel free to forward this e-mail.  If you wish to unsubscribe, please e-mail


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