Center For Global Education

Butler Semester in East Asia GALA, Spring 2012


Program Overview - Visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong

In what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a group of up to 20 Butler students will spend an entire semester traveling through several countries of East Asia while taking five Butler core courses (or electives) and participating in an optional week-long service learning activity. The classes will be a blend of classroom and on-site lectures, discussion, visits to sites of historical, cultural or contemporary importance, and opportunities to interact with members of local communities.

The program will begin in Japan with a two-week course on "Japan's Past and Present/Presence," taught by Dr. Elise Edwards. In Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima you will explore an array of historical and contemporary cultural practices and forms - Shinto shrines, stomping sumo wrestlers, and hyper-modern expressions of popular culture. Next, you will spend a week in South Korea, where you will visit the ancient capital of Gyeongju as well as the metropolis of Seoul. Dr. Xiaorong Han will begin teaching the GHS course, "East Asian Interactions."

You will then spend about nine weeks in China, visiting Beijing, Xi'an, Lhasa (Tibet), Shangrila, Lijiang and Kunming. You will visit the Great Wall and Imperial Palace, the Terra Cotta Warriors of China's First Emperor, the Potala Palace (formerly the residence of the Dalai Lama) and will experience the incredible scenic beauty of Yunnan Province. You will study "Tibet: History, Culture, and Politics," also be taught by Dr. Han, and "Social Change and Social Issues in Contemporary China," taught by Dr. Monte Broaded. During a weeklong spring break you can remain in Kunming for an optional one-credit service learning course or you can travel independently. Dr. Paul Hanson will then join the group in Kunming to teach "Daoism, Poetry and Art in China." Excursions to famous Daoist sites in the region will be a highlight of this course. The semester will conclude with an excursion to northern Vietnam and a few days of wrap-up and reflection activities in Hong Kong.


You can earn a total of 15 or 16 credit hours and fulfill core or general elective requirements as well as waive one semester of the Global and Historical Studies requirement by successfully completing the GALA program.


Japan's Past and Present/Presence: Understanding Japan on the Ground

(satisfies the Social World requirement), 3 credits. Professor of Anthropology Elise Edwards

With the world's third largest economy, a rich cultural tradition and a thriving popular culture industry, Japan is a fascinating site to study the historical and anthropological underpinnings of an array of cultural products and practices - Shinto shrines, Buddhist prayer practices, anime fan groups, stomping sumo wrestlers. You will visit centers of youth culture in Tokyo, some of the most famous temples of the old capital of Kyoto, and sites in Hiroshima memorializing Japan's singular experience of nuclear attack and devastation.


East Asian Interactions

(satisfies the Global and Historical Studies requirement), 3 credits. Professor of History Xiaorong Han

This course explores the cultural, political and economic-technological interactions (including cooperation, competition, and conflict) among the four traditional political cultural entities in East Asia from ancient times to the present. It will examine how each of the East Asian states has contributed to the evolution of a common regional tradition while maintaining its own culture and identity.


Tibet: History, Culture and Politics

(satisfies the Text and Ideas requirement), 3 credits. Professor Xiaorong Han

This course explores Tibet as a geographical, cultural and political unit and covers its history from the seventh century to the present. In Lhasa and its surrounding areas, students will experience firsthand such important sites as the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, and will visit rural villages to learn about the lifestyles of Tibet's nomadic communities.


Social Change and Social Issues in Contemporary China 

(satisfies the Social World requirement), 3 credits. Dr. Monte Broaded, Director of the Center for Global Education

In this course, we will investigate many of the challenges currently faced by the Chinese government and people during a period of very rapid social and economic change - population pressures, environmental degradation, gender inequalities, access to education and health care, wealth and poverty, and human rights through background readings as well as site visits and intensive field observations in rural and urban Chinese settings.


Daoism, Poetry and Art in China 

(satisfies the Creative Expression requirement), 3 credits. Professor of History Paul Hanson

This course will familiarize students with the basic concepts of the ancient Chinese philosophy of Daoism, which has for centuries been the inspiration for much of Chinese poetry and visual art. We will explore Chinese aesthetic values through the poetry of five Tang Dynasty poets (regarded as the greatest poets of the Chinese tradition). Students will record some of the great scenic beauty of Yunnan Province in photography and write poetry about what they see. They will also be able to try their hands at the arts of Chinese calligraphy and/or painting.


Students will also be able to participate in a 1-credit service learning activity working with an NGO in Kunming, capital city of China's Yunnan Province. Participation in this opportunity is optional.