Teaching Global and Historical Studies Again

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I’m going to be teaching my Global and Historical Studies courses again this academic year: China and the Islamic Middle East in the fall semester, and South Asian Civilizations in the spring. It has been years, and although the history of these parts of the world and the major traditions that emerged in them hasn’t changed, it still feels daunting, although by no means as much so as it did when I first taught these courses. And it is also exciting to have a reason to revisit these topics and probably also the languages spoken in them. I’ve learned a little Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi, and Tamil but to nowhere near the level I’d like to. Butler actually offers courses in Chinese and so perhaps I should see if I can sit in.

This summer I’ll be visiting Paris. France was a country that fascinated me back when I was in elementary school through high school and was studying the French language. I recall being fascinated by Air France’s Concorde, and watching French TV and music videos in 1989. I was delighted to discover that a song from then that I enjoyed is now on YouTube: “Les Sentiments” by Shona. It was a pleasure hearing it again after never coming across it for nearly three decades:

Comprehension - Skills - News - YouTube - Importance

Trying to get my rusty listening comprehension skills brushed off, I’ve been watching French news via YouTube as well. Doing so has been helpful, and also reinforced to me the importance of getting students to engage with international news – both our news about other parts of the world, and reporting from elsewhere. French news these past weeks has included things I hadn’t heard via TV or newspapers in the United States about current events in the Sudan and Ghana, and even things happening in Baltimore in...
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