Week 05: Mar. 8 – Mar. 14

This week, we’ll deviate slightly from the focus on modern China per se, and look more closely at the relations with the US. This means the “Basic set” is the larger chunk, and the “Exploration packs” are a lot lighter, in an attempt to prevent you getting overburdened.

If you are curious and want to learn more about any topic, you can always reach out to me and ask for more readings or pointers to find more materials. Please remember I am a resource for you: a shortcut, a guide, a catalog-friend who can help you find materials to satisfy your thirst for knowledge! One of my favorite things in teaching is helping students find resources, and the perfect challenge is when a student tells me “but I can’t find anything about this topic.”

Table of Contents

Background

As the Chinese population rose, and the land could not accommodate all those people, internal and external migration were the main ways to try and relieve the pressure. Internal migration meant Han Chinese farmers relocating to areas where they traditionally had not settled (at least not in large numbers), such as Xinjiang, Tibet (neither had a lot of good agricultural land) or the Manchurian homelands in the provinces of Liaodong (very nice land, but until 1860 or so not open for Han migration, because it was the Manchu homeland). Why does this matter? The three provinces of the Northeast, sometimes named “Manchuria” (Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang) have only been part of “China” since the Qing, and only been inhabited by ethnic Han people since the late nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the nationalist interpretation of China sees the region and all its history as an inalienable part of Chinese history, and that includes the kingdoms Goguryeo and Balhae, which Koreans claim as part of the their national history. (There’s even a dedicated Wikipedia entry for the Gogoryeo controversies)

Another option for dealing with overpopulation was external migration: to southeast Asia, and to the Americas for instance. This is where this week’s “Basic Set” fits in. There were significant tensions between the Chinese migrant workers and US settlers, based on misunderstandings about each other’s culture. This led to anti-Chinese legislation, and culminated in the “Chinese Exclusion Act”. It did exactly what it says on the tin: excluding Chinese people from entering the United States. Why does this matter? It was the first time a specific population group was targeted in a specific anti-immigration law in the US, but it was not the last time that Asian people were the target of specific legislation. During WWII, Japanese citizens and people of Japanese descent were placed in interment camps. Over the past few years, there have been reports of visa restrictions for Chinese students that were imminent, but then either cancelled or turned out to be only rumors, for instance in 2018, in May 2020; and in July a travel ban for members of the CCP was floated. This is part of the deterioration of relations between China and the US, but real people who built their lives in the US are caught up in the consequences.

We don’t have time to cover everything in this course in detail, even with exploration packs. When you come across something in the chapter summaries or in the textbook that piques your curiosity, take note, and save it up for a potential show and tell project as an encyclopedia post, for instance. 

Readings

Basic set

  • Cheng, Anne Anling. “What This Wave of Anti-Asian Violence Reveals About America.” New York Times
    • I shared this piece earlier in the in the news section, but the historical background connects with this week’s course materials, and should give us a chance to reflect on the long and problematic history of attitudes towards Asian people and people of Asian descent in the US.
  • “The Chinese Exclusion Act”. Directed by Burns, Ric and Li-Shin Yu. Public Broadcasting Service, 2018. https://video-alexanderstreet-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/watch/the-chinese-exclusion-act
    • or access through Canvas course reserves page
    • (Play time: 2hrs 40′; transcript available in the sidebar)
    • Tip: if you break your viewing into smaller sessions: take note of the time stamp where you left off, because the system logs you out quite quickly.
  • Textbook summaries: Chapter 9, Chapter 10
  • No slides by me. This week you will contribute to this class sourced slide deck. You have editing access: add information (bullet points, sections of text), images and questions/remarks which we can use in the Thursday session.
    • Ping me a message in the Google chat room if you need  me to intervene.
  • OPTIONAL EXTRAS:
    • “The Chinese Exclusion Act”
      • website with the text of the actual legal document. You can annotate in our Hypothes.is group: e.g. can you make it easier to understand? Do you have questions or remarks about the text?
      • #law, #united-states, #immigration
    • Yung, Wing. My Life in China and America. Cer Classics. Hong Kong: Reprinted by China Economic Review Pub, 2007.
      • ebook Trexler, #united-states, #modernization, #cross-cultural, 
      • Yung Wing was educated by missionaries in China, and the first (known) Chinese student to graduate from a US college. (He also visited the Taiping, see last week.) He married an American woman, and as a man who lived and understood both American and Chinese culture, his memoirs make it a bit easier to try and understand nineteenth century China’s mindset.
    • Ng, Rachel. “Why does the US have so many Chinatowns?” National Geographic URL: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/2020/09/why-does-the-us-have-chinatowns/#close
      • spotted by a student in Fall ’20
      • note: you have to sign up with an e-mail address to get access.
      • #immigration, #united-states, #food, #cross-cultural

Then pick one of the Exploration packs:

Exploration pack 1: Plain Textbook

  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. Third ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
    • Chapters 9, 10
    • folks, this is the reading-heavy option this week! Only choose this if you have time!

Exploration pack 2: Migration

  • Choong Wilkins, Rebecca. “Who are the Peranakan Chinese? Deep roots and many routes” LARB China Channel January 24, 2019. https://chinachannel.org/2019/01/24/peranakan/
    • Migration to southeast Asia, where the Chinese faced different challenges and opportunities compared to the US.
    • Lighter reading!
    • #migration, #southeast-asia #integration

Exploration pack 3: Japan

Image gallery: woodblock prints of the Sino-Japanese war (1894-95) – check the information on the site. The first link gives the overview, the slightly indented link(s) right under it give you a close-up of the image itself for detailed study.

You can find many more images if you follow this link, and scroll down to “Japanese War Prints from our Archive”. Note that some are from the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), which does not concern us here.

  • Ideal if you like visual arts!
  • Questions to ponder: these Japanese artists use a traditional medium to portray Japan as a modern nation. Do they succeed? Why (not), and how? From these images, how does Japan appear to see China at this point? And how does that compare to the US perception of the Chinese (as seen in the Basic Set)?
  • #visual-arts, #war, #japan, #modernization

Assignments

All times are “Muhlenberg time” (US EST)

Peer feedback week 4 post (reminder)

3 points, due Monday March 8, by 11.59pm.

As you are reading different texts from each other, or interpreting the same materials differently, it is important that you read each other posts, because you can cover more ground or see how to read materials from different perspectives.

Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation.
This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Use tags in Hypothes.is: question: If you have a question (obvious); answered: if you gave an answer to a question; info: if you provide more information, looking up additional facts, drawing on knowledge from other classes; and other tags you can think of. This will help us to navigate more quickly to the questions that still need answering.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 4, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Blog post

5 points, due by Thursday, March 11, 11.59pm.

Write a blog post exploring themes or ideas based on your reading. You do not need to have all the answers. In fact, learning to ask good analytical or research questions is a skill you can develop during the semester.

  • Length: approx. 400 words. excl. list of materials consulted.
  • Add the list of materials consulted at the end of the post, in Chicago notes and bibliography style.
    • TOP TIP: Just copy the bibliography information from the Reading list here.
  • Add the words “Week 5” in the title (please use this exact phrase, or it trips up the filter I created to have your posts show up in the blog stream)
  • Indicate in your post which Exploration Pack you chose.
  • Including an image, and make sure to add a caption with the source/credit.
  • Post on your website, and add to the category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully and then fill out the Canvas Declaration Quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I wrote a post of approximately 400 words in response to the readings.
– I included the bibliographic references for the materials I used for my post.
– I indicated which Exploration Pack I chose.
– I included an image, and I provided a caption and credit (source) for the image.
– I used the words Week 5 in the title, and added the post to category hst271

First Reflection on the past few weeks

WHEN: By Friday, March 12, 11.59pm.

WHAT: We are now five weeks into the semester, and I would like you to take the time to reflect on your learning in this course so far. Write a 500-800 word piece, engaging with at least two of the following sets of questions.

  1. How have you engaged with the course materials? What would you like to improve in your preparation and participation (which consists of writing posts and commenting)? What are you doing well?
  2. What have you learned in this course that you have not yet been able to/ cannot share in an assignment?
  3. What have you learned in this course, in contents and/or in historical skills? Do you see patterns emerge? What are some of the threads or overarching topics you are interested in? What in your work so far makes you say: “yes, I am thinking like a historian”?
  4. What grade would you give yourself for “thoughtful participation in the Learning Commons” so far? What does an “A” grade look like for this component, according to your interpretation of the syllabus description?

WHY: These reflections help me understand how you learn, and how I can best support your learning. I also hope you use this as a moment to think about your goals for the course, and, if necessary how you can push the reset button on your engagement with the course, and commit anew to your goals for this course.

You will develop your metacognitive skills (knowing what you know) throughout the semester with a couple more of these reflections.

HOW: Write as a blog post, or as a Word or Google doc file, and submit on Canvas in this assignment. (Note: not a declaration quiz). You can submit a URL, or upload a document in docx, pdf, rtf, doc, txt format.

Peer feedback on post Week 5

3 points, due Monday March 14, by 11.59pm.

Ok, you know the drill, and why reading other’s posts is good for you… Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Use tags in Hypothes.is: question: If you have a question (obvious); answered: if you gave an answer to a question; info: if you provide more information, looking up additional facts, drawing on knowledge from other classes; and other tags you can think of. This will help us to navigate more quickly to the questions that still need answering.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 5, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Feedback on Show and Tell projects

  • Not graded, but part of the “Participation in the Learning commons/Professionalism”
  • Please aim to complete by Monday March 22.

Below you’ll find links to two Show and Tell projects from fellow students. Please share your feedback with them, for instance:

  • what do you like about the format?
  • what did or did not quite work?
  • what helped you understand this particular period of Chinese history better?
  • what suggestions do you have for a make-over/redo?
    • you can re-submit your Show and Tell project anytime before the close of the semester for a better grade; think of the kind of advice you’d like to get to help you achieve that!
  • do you think the project can help future students, and should I use it next time I run the course?

Leave your comments on the blog-post either as a page note in the Hypothes.is group HST271 or if you can annotate the text itself, highlight and mark up with Hypothes.is.

If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Project 1:
  • Project 2:

Extra credit

EC 1: Extra commenting

2 points, due by Sunday, March 14, 11.59pm.

Do you like reading your colleagues’ work? Do you like helping them out by identifying ways to make their posts better? Now you can earn extra credit by doing extra commenting! This assignment will be available regularly throughout the semester.

  • Go to the Blog Stream of the Class under Student Posts on the website
  • Pick a post that piques your curiosity and that you have not yet commented on
  • Use Hypothes.is group HST271, and leave feedback as we practiced with the Architects’s model
  • Pick 2 additional posts (a total of 3 for this task): they can come from other students in the blog stream, or if you like the writer, you can stay with them and comment more.
  • The only conditions are:
    • that you do not comment on blog posts you already commented on before, as part of your regular weekly “Exploration” tasks.
    • that the post is actually written for HST271, and not some other class. Check the category, and the content
  • Add the tag extra to the comment (this helps me to keep track of how many people use this option.)

When you’re done, please read this declaration carefully and collect your points with the Canvas Declaration Quiz.

Declaration
I selected three blogs I have not yet commented on before, from our class’ blog stream, and I used the Hypothes.is group HST271 to comment.
I made sure to leave substantial comments that help the writer to improve the post, or to identify their strengths.
I added the tag extra to my Hypothes.is comments.
I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

EC 2: Change the theme on your WordPress site

2 points, due by Sunday, March 14,11:59pm – repeat of a previous extra credit quiz, if you already collected your points, you can’t collect them again (but you’re welcome to tinker with your website!)

The standard theme for WordPress blogs at this moment is “2021”. Maybe you like it well enough.
But did you know there are thousands of free themes out there to make your blog look nice? For instance, my course website runs on “Catch Starter”, the Daily Course Announcements site uses the theme “Noto Simple”.
Here’s how to have some fun with your site:

  1. Spend ± 30 mins. exploring different themes, and pick a new one that fits your personal taste better, and customize it. You can find more information in the videos linked on this help page (scroll down).
  2. Write a brief blog post explaining why you picked your new theme, and why you like it better, or how you customized it. If you stuck with the original “2021” theme, remove extraneous links and information (so it looks nice), and then explain in the post why it’s still the best theme for you.
  3. In the title of the post, include the words WordPress Theme, add the tag extracredit (one word) and add the post to category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points. The title of the quiz will say Week 2-2, this is correct.

Declaration
– I explored different themes for WordPress and customized one for my site.
– I wrote a blog post explaining my choice of theme, and how I customized it.
– I included the words WordPress Theme in the title, added the tag extracredit (one word) to the post, and added the post to category hst271

Where to ask questions

Remember that it is highly likely that you are not the only one with that question. Save me time, and help your fellow students by asking questions where others can see them. If you know the answer to a question, jump in! I can’t be everywhere all the time.

Missing link? Wrong information? Email me!

On to week 6: Coming soon!