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ERIC Number: EJ878903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Teaching about Ethnicities in China
Stedman, Caryn White
Social Education, v74 n1 p45-48 Jan-Feb 2010
A unit on China's ethnicities provides students rich opportunities to explore multiple themes in the social studies while helping them to develop a deeper understanding of recent events in western China. Studying China's ethnic minorities encompasses such topics as stereotyping, cultural diversity, the creation of ethnic identities, and key historical and geographic concepts. The rise to dominance of Han Chinese culture within East Asia, the nature of Han/non-Han relations, the emergence of nation-states and nationalism, and the development of ethnic and political identities are major threads in world history. Finally, a study of the modern period presents students with opportunities to examine questions of power, authority, governance, human and civil rights, and international relations. Regardless of which thematic vehicle students use, they should be able to demonstrate an understanding of these key points: (1) Definitions of diversity vary among cultures and change over time; (2) Ethnic identities are not immutable; they result from a variety of forces--self, group, other groups and the state--and are negotiated or evolve over time; (3) The development of the majority Han Chinese identity and its relationship with minority groups has a complex history; (4) The emergence of nationalism is a relatively new development in world history; (5) The roots of the current issues in Tibet and Xinjiang go back to the expansion of the Qing Empire, the emergence of European-style nationalism, and the conflict between "empire" and "nation-state" that began with European expansion; (6) The designation, "nationalities" ("minzu") in China is the result of influence from Soviet social science; and (7) Modern concepts of civil and human rights are understood differently in different settings, both by those engaged in struggles for them and by those accused of repressing them. Helping students to develop a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the events in western China is not the only reason for spending class time investigating minorities in China. Through a rigorous examination of the Chinese case, students also develop a better understanding of the complexities of ethnic and political identities, questions of sovereignty, and civil and human rights globally, while they develop and hone their skills in critical analysis, persuasion, reading, writing, and action. (Contains 5 notes and 7 online resources.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Asia; China