Will Chinese Students One Day Appreciate Thoreau?

With the fast pace of growth in China and its emphasis on modernism, I wonder if my students will one day come to appreciate Thoreau’s ideals, especially his love of nature and his concern for the environment.

Understanding Thoreau

In this literature class I help Chinese university students decipher passages in Thoreau’s essay, “Reading,” pointing out that it may take multiple visits to his works — a journey over a span of years — to gain more understanding. I also answer a student’s question into why Thoreau thought reading the classics, preferably in the(…)

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Elizabethan Theatre

With 16 teaching hours per week and a four day weekend it seemed that I had an abundance of free time.  There were no office hours required, but I provided nine hours during evenings throughout the week for students wanting to talk about literature, culture, or life.  It had to be evenings because the studentry(…)

Teaching Thoreau in the Heartland of China

I was teaching Thoreau in a time when the Chinese were migrating from the countryside into the cities. It was a new Industrial Age—but this one was taking place during the age of globalism, cell phones, and Hello Kitty. Experts estimated that a population greater than that of America’s total population would move into Chinese(…)

Thoreau: His Life and Times

In this literature class I explore Thoreau by delving into his perspective on life and his motivation for choosing a spartan lifestyle, despite having a Harvard education. I am surprised by the brilliance of one Chinese student’s penetrating question about Thoreau — one that I had never heard before. The whole class works on an(…)