kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Zhong Guo

Around the first week of October, I will be headed for (as you can see from the above) the Middle Kingdom. I'll be teaching the history of American Political Theory in Nanjing--in English, of course--to students at Nanjing University, and possibly another university in Nanjing, for six weeks. Flying into the Northern Kingdom (Beijing), down to the Southern Kingdom (Nanjing), and flying out of the the town by the sea (Shanghai). Nothing like the chance to fly all the way across the world to talk about the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, as well as a couple of things that followed, namely the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and, just for fun, the Chinese Exclusion Act. Sort of theory vs. practice.

Perhaps most ironic is that I will be talking about the philosophical foundations of the Bill of Rights during a US Administration that views most of the rights adumbrated there as "optional," with the exception of the Second Amendment, of course. I'm almost with my conservative friends these days in thinking that with this kind of government, we should have access to guns, and lots of them, if only to protect us from our own government.

Anyway, anyone reading this should leave a comment, and, especially, if you've been to China, offer tips, suggestions, etc.. I may not be doing a lot of travelling--there's lots to see just in Nanjing--but I may try to do some.

I may try to blog from there, if I get a chance; no guarantees. I may also blog about my experience with learning the language. On my good days, I can ask young women back to my apartment, offering them the options of beer, wine, tennis, or bowling; I can also ask "who farted?" and complain that my toilet is clogged up. As far as reading and writing, I've got about 200 characters--I've been told after 300 they start to get easier, and I'm certainly hoping that's true--with the goal of getting to around 5,000. Depending on who you ask, one needs a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 to read a newspaper, get around, etc., and I hope to do better than that. On the other hand, to become an officer in the Imperial Army, I will need 40,000, so that career option seems no longer a strong possiblity. Tant pis.


Blogger Bazarov said...

Never been but I got a friend who was there last year for a month. He seemed to have enjoyed it but complained of the smog in the big cities, the staring, and apparent inability to form lines. So if you're at a kiosk, prepare to hold your position with plenty of elbows. He also said the younger children speak a bit of engrish, but that it was mostly parroted: "Hello, my name is _____." "Hello, ________. Can you tell me where the university is?" Pause...."Hello, my name is _____."
Food was dirt cheap, as well as just about everything else. You can even get your ears cleaned there. Oh, and if you see "Foot Massage", it probably doesn't mean what you think; it most likely means you'll be paying someone to walk on you.

8:09 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

Sounds like the kids there know about as much English as I know Chinese.

Odd that I would travel so far to pay someone to walk on me, given that I know some administrators who, traditionally, have been willing to do so for free.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Kurt,
I was in China the summer before last --8 different cities and a 3 day cruise on the Yangtse River --including Nanjing. I have two close friends from Nanjing University, who are studying in Chicago now and I could put you in touch with them. Everything in China is who you know... Learn how to say "May I have some bottled water?" and "Where is the washroom?" And return your e-mails!!! I have more to say!!! Like you should have foot massages whenever the opportunity arises. Best wishes, Elizabeth And Doris Lessing rules!!!

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