Sunday, January 2, 2011

How did I find myself here?

In January 2006, I went on a Pace-sponsored student-faculty trip to India.  I came back incredibly excited about both the new India and the traditional India and wanting to let that energy carry me toward learning more about India.  Pretty soon, I was daunted and overwhelmed by the fact that India is such a vast and complicated culture that I could never begin to know anything in any detail about the culture--there was just too much to know and understand.  Yes, the more I tried to learn, the less I seemed to know.

But, I went ahead and created a course, Literature and Culture of Contemporary India, and taught it a couple of times.  In the process of researching, teaching, and relying on the curiosity and personal experiences of my students to teach me more, I got a much better feel for the parts of Indian culture that I could know more about and I gained some really eye-opening insights into the Indian diaspora culture that's right under my nose here in New York.  I remain very interested in Indian culture in its many manifestations and I hope to return to India some day.

I mention all of this because I'm taking my inspiration from my experience of India and its culture (however limited my experience of it) and I'm going on My Road to China. I am thrilled to have the unique opportunity that's being offered through Pace's Confucius Institute for selected faculty to learn more about China and integrate that learning into their courses. Throughout 2011 I'll be learning about China's history, language and culture through formal instruction and a trip to China.  This blog is where I will share some of that experience (and excitement)(and maybe some trepidation!) with you and track some of my thoughts and plans.

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