Monthly Archives: December 2014

International Curriculum: IU South Bend and China

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. china-relief-map

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.”

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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.

Works Cited:

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

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The German Club’s Trip to Christkindlmarket in Chicago

During the last weekend of November, the IU South Bend German Club traveled to Chicago to take part in a unique and festive holiday extravaganza: The annual German-American Christmas festival aptly named Christkindlmarket. As president of the German Club this year, it brought me great joy to be able to provide students campus-wide with the opportunity to be exposed to German culture and a tradition that has an expansive history and is still immensely popular in Germany today. The main goal of this trip was to welcome students to come along with us to an off-campus event that not only strengthens the German Club and German program here at IU South Bend, but provides students with the opportunity to further internationalize their education with a long-standing German tradition made me, as a German major and the club president, happy to share my enthusiasm about German language, culture, and history.IMG_2225

Christmas markets in Germany have been a pre-holiday tradition starting as early as the 17th century. In fact, Christkindlmarket in Chicago models itself after one of the most famous and largest Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Germany! Spanning from late November up until Christmas day, Christkindlmarket Chicago attracts visitors right into the heart of the city, and there is certainly no shortage of traditional German Christmas food, gifts, and an overall cheerful Christmas atmosphere here.

With many vendors from both the United States and Germany, there are numerous booths in which you can satiate your appetite when visiting Christkindlmarket. The smell of pretzels, crepes, Döner, Schnitzel, bratwurst, strudel, roasted almonds, and many other traditional German foods can be detected blocks before you reach the market itself. Christkindlmarket in Chicago also provides visitors with being able to indulge in one famous and delicious German beverage traditionally served at Christmastime, the warmed and mulled Glühwein. But if the giant hanging gingerbread cookies and wall of German gummy bears don’t entice you enough, then the German trinkets and products are sure to grab your interest. Christmas ornaments from Käthe Wohlfahrt of America, advent calendars, cozy scarves and hats made from Alpaca, beer steins and boots, or even the beautifully handcrafted artisanal glass ornaments from Bavaria are just to name a few of all the expansive options for traditional German Christmas products available.

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Overall, the German Club’s adventure to Chicago, whether it be catching the train as a group or being able to incorporate our experiences into our German education, was a priceless event that I could not have imagined being any more fulfilling at my last year here at IU South Bend. As the proud president of this club, I hope to see a legacy of education and excitement by making this trip to Christkindlmarket an annual event, open to not just the German Club, but to all students on campus. Off-campus events like this are what not only strengthen the German program on campus, but they help to deepen the connection of our bright students to their studies.

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