Friday, September 05, 2003


Attended Ken Lieberthal's class tonight. I had heard from Mark that he is a good speaker and that students learn a lot in his class. He lived up to this reputation, I think. The impression that I got was that he knows so much about China, and that he regrets the class is only a semester long because we will only scratch the surface of his knowledge of the subject at hand, the evolution of China in the communist era. Today he covered a general survey of China, and why we should study it: it's important, it's exciting, and it provides a framework for studying topics of general importance to the world. Then he talked about the culture, philosophy, and polity of government in imperial China. While answering a question about whether Confucianism helped to unify China under the Qin dynasty after the Warring States period (answer: not really), he mentioned that a factor that did help to unify the country was the character-based, non-alphabetic writing system With so many dialects in China, it was a writing system that travelled well across linguistic borders. That's an interesting argument for continuing to use characters. I'm going to try and float it on the China Weblog.

Lieberthal also has weekly optional China brown-bag lunches where students can come and talk about China with him, be it stuff we're covering in class or even tangential topics. Nice.

Good news, too. When I checked the web page to register for the class, it was already full. All six sections. There must be a hundred students enrolled in this class. Prof Lieberthal is a good teacher, so the class is very popular. Luckily, the six CCS students in the class all approached him together and he said it would be no problem to get us registered.

Stopped by the New York Pizza kitchen dinner for a slice of feta cheese, onion, and sun-dried tomato pizza. Yum.


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