Recently the New York Times declared that “China is on track to overtake the United States this year as the world’s biggest economy, years sooner than many economists had previously forecast” (Forsythe and Gough). In another article the Times states that “China has become the world’s leading exporter; it also surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest trading nation in 2012” (Heriberto and Cardenal). To understand the world today, it is imperative to know and comprehend the role of China and East Asia. This year IU South Bend is fortunate to have Dr. Ke Ren, a specialist in China and East Asia, as a Visiting Assistant Professor.
IU South Bend provides numerous opportunities to provide unique and diverse courses to its students. This coming semester Dr. Ren will be teaching Chinese Revolutions and the Communist Regime. This course will focus on the “history of modern China through the lens of the numerous revolutions – Republican, Nationalist, Communist, and Cultural – that marked the twentieth century.”* The course will also “emphasize the socioeconomic and political conditions as well as cultural and intellectual factors, including the legacy of revolution for contemporary Chinese state and society.”
Another course offered by Dr. Ren this semester is Cultural History for Contemporary China. This course focuses on the “cultural and intellectual changes in post-Mao and reform-era China.” This includes exploring present day “literature, film, art, music, academia, and the mass media, it seeks to provide students with an understanding of the interactions between developments in popular, mass and elite culture and the profound social and economic transformations in China over the past three decades.” Courses such as these are vital to understanding the complexity of the global economy. This also makes Dr. Ren’s course, as well as the other courses taught by Dr. Ren and the East Asian Studies faculty, a great addition to every major offered at IU South Bend.
Regardless of career choice, understanding China and East Asia is vital for the growth of our community. Classes such as Chinese Revolutions and the Communist Regime and Cultural History for Contemporary China enrich the lives of IU South Bends students’. This includes both academic and intellectual pursuits as well as understanding the practical reality of East Asia and China’s increasing influence and stature in the World. Students should take this opportunity to take a class with Dr. Ren before he ends his term as a visiting assistant professor.
Araújo, Heriberto and Juan Pablo Cardenal. “China’s Economic Empire.” New York Times, June 1, 2013.
Forsythe, Michael and Neil Gough. “By One Measure, China Set to Become Largest Economy.” New York Times, April 30, 2014.
*All quotes pertaining to Dr. Ren’s courses are from the IU South Bend Course Catalog