A first-time collaborative course between the Indiana University East School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Business and Economics allowed students to study how political, economic and cultural processes of globalization have changed relationships between China and the West.
Seven students completed the course, Globalization in Context: China, which was offered during the spring 2018 semester. As a part of the course, the students then traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, May 15-27. This was the first overseas experience to China offered by IU East.
IU East faculty leading the course were Kristoffer Rees, assistant professor of political science, and Litao “Lee” Zhong, assistant professor of economics.
Rees said the core theoretical and empirical knowledge about globalization and China’s political, social, and economic trajectories from 1949 through present were addressed in substantial detail in the course. The travel abroad experience is an opportunity for students to apply this classroom learning to the real-world context, he added.
While in Beijing, IU East students presented at the Symposium on Globalization at Beihang University. The symposium between the two universities discussed how globalization has been a force to shape everyday life in China over the past four decades, and the continued debate and discussion on the impact globalization has had on different countries and how influences are spread throughout the world.
At the symposium IU East students presented their semester projects exploring intersections among globalization and Indiana, China, and themselves to undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty at Beihang University, Rees said. He added that after the presentations, students led a lively discussion with their counterpart peers that addressed the social, cultural, economic, and political themes. “The presentations were informative, and prompted extensive discussion; it was a rich intercultural exchange,” Rees said.
Paige Gray, of Hagerstown, Indiana, is a managerial accounting major. She said the trip to China was an eye-opening experience.
“It was interesting to see first-hand how globalization has been installed into their day to day lives, as we learned in the course throughout the semester,” Gray said.
Scott Lawton, of Richmond, is a general studies major.
“I have enjoyed this opportunity to discuss what we have learned this semester with the students at Beihang University. It was interesting to learn their perspective,” Lawton said.
Laura Bruist of Kokomo, Indiana, said the trip has been an experience of a lifetime. Bruist is a business administration major with a concentration in finance.
“While giving the symposium, we got to interact with the students of Beihang University and I was taken aback by our similarities,” Bruist said. “Globalization is definitely at work making us, both Chinese and Americans, very similar, even though we’re on opposite ends of the world.”
The symposium between the two universities discussed how globalization has been a force to shape everyday life in China over the past four decades, the continued debate and discussion on the image globalization has had on different countries and how influences are spread throughout the world. The group also toured the research laboratories of the School of Economics and Management at Beihang University.
Zhong said the symposium presented a platform for students from both universities to learn from each other.
“We are very grateful to Beihang University’s support of this symposium,” Zhong said. “This symposium was a great experience for both American and Chinese college students exchanging their views for globalization.”
Rees said during the trip, the students had various opportunities to see, experience, and interact with the processes of cultural, social, and political globalization in Beijing and Shanghai that have been realized in China over the past 25-35 years, and to understand the multi-directional nature of these processes of globalization. “They also got rich, first-hand exposure to the foundations of contemporary Chinese social, political, and business cultures through visiting museums and other historical sites.”