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Reading: To Dominate or to Engage: Developing the Right Relationship with a Non-Asianist Colleague


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Teaching about Asia

To Dominate or to Engage: Developing the Right Relationship with a Non-Asianist Colleague


Wenjie Sun

Carthage College
About Wenjie
Wenjie Sun is Assistant Professor of Geography and Earth Science, and Computer Science at Carthage College. Professor Sun joined Carthage in 2006. She is originally from China and she received her B.S. in Geography with a minor in Economics from Beijing University. She went to graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she received her M.A. in Geography, M.S. in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Geographic Information Science (GIS). She teaches courses in GIS, Remote Sensing, Human Geography, and Geography of East Asia. She has also led interdisciplinary themed J-term trips to China with her colleague. She has published in the International Journal of Geographical Information Science and given a number of talks at national professional meetings and at AsiaNetwork conferences.
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Since the mid-2000s, the Carthage College curriculum has included an interdisciplinary requirement called the “Carthage Symposium,” which students fulfill through a team-taught class. Some of these classes have been trips to Asia in which an Asian specialist has traveled and taught with a non-Asianist colleague. In my case, I have teamed up with a biologist and offered a trip course that examines the geography and biology of China as a Carthage Symposium; at the same time this course is also counted towards the “Global Heritage” requirement because of its area concentration. The course has been designed to carry the main theme of regional variation in human environment interaction, as reflected through climate, topography, food preferences, landscape, and cultural and economic activities. So far the course has been offered twice with different itineraries: In January 2008, we traveled with 14 students to Beijing, Harbin, Yunnan (Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang), and the Shanghai region (Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Wuzhen), primarily with a focus on North-South contrast. In January 2009, we visited with 18 students Beijing, Guangxi (Guilin, Yangshuo), Hainan (Sanya), and the Shanghai region (Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou), adding the East-West divide. A summer 2011 trip following a northern route along the Chinese silk road (Beijing-Xi’an-Dunhuang-Urumqi) and a January 2012 trip following a southern route looking at contemporary China and its open door policy (Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hongkong-Zhuhai-Macao) are already in the planning phase.
How to Cite: Sun, W., 2010. To Dominate or to Engage: Developing the Right Relationship with a Non-Asianist Colleague. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 18(1), pp.61–67. DOI:
Published on 01 Oct 2010.
Peer Reviewed


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