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Sabbatical Report: China

by Doug Stiffler

 

It is great to be back in the classroom after a year spent doing research (and travelling) on a Fulbright Fellowship in Beijing, China.  Most professors coming back from sabbatical go through a period of adjustment or even "mourning," though, and I am no exception.  Just when I had just about gotten over the excitement of plumbing archives in Moscow, receiving packets of documents in spy-like fashion outside the old Soviet Central Committee headquarters, and going to conferences in Shanghai and Hong Kong, a student or friend would ask: "So, how was your sabbatical?"

Being back in the classroom and sharing ideas and discoveries from the sabbatical year is what it's all about.  I taught a new course last fall called HS199 Mao & Stalin: Let History Judge in which I was able to share firsthand some of the ways that both dictators are regarded in Russia and China today.   This spring, in addition to my usual HS326 Modern China course, I am teaching a fourth course entitled PS199 Democracy & Development in China in the Politics department.  As if this weren't enough excitement already, I have signed up with Gao Song of the ABE Department and Phil Dunwoody of Psychology to co-lead/co-teach the CA199 Business and Culture in China trip from May 17-31.  This is the first time since coming to Juniata that I have helped lead such a trip — more than 20 students going, with visits to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Suzhou.