MCC Global Education



Asian Philosophical Practices in Theatre

Karen Oster


Chair of Performing Arts Karen Oster uses her experiences at the East-West Center to take the DRAMA out of Drama by infusing her Introduction to Acting and Through Another Window course with Asian philosophical practices.  Through meditation, readings, and group activities, Professor Oster builds community and transforms learning.

Through Another Window Syllabus

Introduction to Chinese Culture: Through Another Window

Professor Oster discusses how her work at the East-West Center influenced a shift in perspective.

Specifics on how Eastern Philosophy is infused in her courses

Valuing Diversity: Buddhist Reflection on Equity and Education

Peter Hershock


This lecture Valuing Diversity: Buddhist Reflection on Equity and Education and discussion at the Harvard Divinity School features Peter Hershock, director of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Trained at Yale University and the University of Hawai’i in both Western and Asian philosophy, Hershock makes use of Buddhist thought and practice to address such contemporary issues as technology and development, education, human rights, and the role of values in cultural and social change.

The lecture highlights themes and ideas Peter first presented at the EWC-ASDP NEH workshop in 2012.

His recent NEH lecture delivered at Middlesex Community College in February 2013 is Buddhism in Contemporary China.  Click on the title for extended notes of the talk.  Video of the presentation is forthcoming.

Infusing Asian Philosophy

Julien Farland

IEW-FarlandAs a member of the first year team to attend the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program’s (ASDP) Infusing Asian Studies into the Curriculum Summer Institute, Professor of Philosophy Julien Farland discusses the importance of ASDP and how it has influenced his work at Middlesex.

Suggested readings in Asian philosophy are below.  These readings provide an introduction for assignments in philosophy, literature, history, and others.  To understand Asia, students must first understand the philosophy the culture is grounded in.  These readings help supply that grounding.

Analects of Confucius

Introduction to Daodejing

Asian Texts – Asian Contexts

Yuan Dao: Tracing Dao to its Source

In the Beginning…

The First Group

Reasons for Globalizing

The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith & Bill Moyers

Huston SmithThis video series provides a rich resource for instructors interested including curriculum modules on understanding the culture of Asia.

The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith and Bill Moyers:

All religions, at their core, are the same: this remarkable claim is made by Huston Smith, bestselling author and professor of comparative religion at Syracuse University, M.I.T., and the University of California, Berkeley.  Smith learned about Chinese language, culture, and religion while growing up near Shanghai, and from his life long study, he explains how the intertwining of opposites is key to understanding the great religions of China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Smith shows that Eastern religions provide an emphasis on direct experience and a method for attaining that.

His book The World’s Religions has sold more than 2 ½ million copies worldwide since 1959, and is considered one of the defining treatises on the subject. In this series of conversations with renowned journalist Bill Moyers, Smith provides thoughtful insights into the world’s largest religions with these compelling episodes: Hinduism and Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and A Personal Philosophy.  Taken at their best, they provide universal truths that unite and define the human spirit.

Exploring Non-Western Musical Forms

berger_markExplore Non-Western musical forms through the work of Chinary Ung and his piece for solo viola Khse Buon performed by Mark Berger.  In the attachment below, Mark has set the context for the piece, helping us understand the cultural intersections.

This curriculum unit would work well for music, literature, theatre, and art classes.

Khse Buon

The curriculum video of Mark performing Khse Buon will be up soon.

Incorporating World Music into Your Course

Carmen Peralta & Mark Berger

Cberger_markarCarmen Peraltamen Peralta, Chair of the Music Performing Arts Department and Concert Pianist, and Mark Berger, Instructor of Music and Violist, discuss how to incorporate World Music into your courses through the Sonata and Rhondo forms. Check out the videos and curriculum tips and background information.

Globalization isn’t just a recent phenomenon.  Classical musical forms have been influenced by many different cultures.  Take Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in G Major from the EnlightenmentRevoutionary Period.  This musical form gives insight into the cultural norms of Europe and a new America.

The Sonata

Theme and Variation Form

Mozart’s Rondo alla turca has clear Turkish influence.

Rondo Form

Rhondo Explanation:  Rondo

Articles on Music


“Music sets us in motion—dancing, marching, or just tapping our toes. The combination of music and motion can also lead to an emotional response, making one feel romantic, patriotic, or just happy or sad,” says Thalia Wheatley (pictured left), assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth, from the Communicating Emotion article below.

Articles and reports that may be of interest for you and your students:

Communicating Emotion: How Music and Movement Can Make This Happen

Asian Studies: Resources on Chinese Literature, Popular Culture, Gender, and More

Paola Zamperini

zamperini-paolaPaola Zamperini is an Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Civilizations (Chinese) and Women’s and Gender Studies and Chair of Asian Languages and Civilizations at Amherst College.  Her interests span traditional and contemporary Chinese literature, popular culture, romance, sexuality, gender, film studies and cinema.  Recent works include Lost Bodies: Prostitution and Masculinity in Late Qing Fiction (Brill University Press, 2010) andSpellbound. Gambling in Chinese Fiction, which looks at fictional and non-fictional representations of gambling.  Other interests include how fashion is represented in pre-modern and contemporary Chinese fiction and visual culture.

Below are syllabi from several of her courses as well as readings on a variety of topics.   Video of her Title VI presentation “Spellbound: The Maze of Gambling in Late Imperial Chinese Fiction” from the workshop Chinese Histories in a Global Context will be posted soon.


ASLC 29 2011 Fashion Matters

ASLC 240 12 Flowers in the Mirror – Writing Women in Chinese Literature

ASLC235 2012 – Chinascapes. An Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Cinema

xyj 2013 – The Novel in Pre-Modern China

Short Stories

A story for today that involves the supernational, identity, and family caught up in the ancient world of cricket gambling: The Cricket

An excellent anthology of contemporary short chinese fiction is The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China by Shouhua Qi (Editor), Publisher: Stone Bridge Press; 1st edition (October 3, 2008).

A review states:  “Hugely popular in China, flash fiction is poised to be the most exciting new development in contemporary Chinese literature in a decade. Integrating both vernacular and contemporary styles while embracing new technologies such as text messaging (SMS) and blogging, contemporary Chinese flash fiction represents the voice of a civilization at the brink of a startling and unprecedented transformation. This collection features 120 short-short stories (from 100 to 300 words each), written by some of China’s most dynamic and versatile authors. Dong Rui’s “The Pearl Jacket” offers a glimpse of the real and surreal in human evolution, Chen Qiyou’s “Butterfly Forever” brings an ancient Chinese literary motif into a startling modern context, while Liu Jianchao’s “Concerned Departments” mocks the staggering complexity of life in the new urban China. Traditional, experimental, and avant-garde, The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories will reinvigorate the position of young Chinese writers as a major presence in contemporary literature. Their voices breathe new energy into modern Chinese literature, leaving the literary and societal stagnation of the Cultural Revolution behind as a distant memory.”


Study done on superstitious beliefs on gambling in Macau:  Donning Red Underwear to Play Mahjong

Suicide and Gambling: An Analysis of Suicide Rates in U.S. Counties and Metropolitan Areas

Examination of Chinese Gambling Problems through a Socio-Historical-Cultural Perspective

Deep China : the moral life of the person, what anthropology and psychiatry tell us about China today by Arthur Kleinman … [et. al.]  Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.

Engaging Students in Asian Studies Through Literature

Gail Mooney

IEW-MooneyProfessor of Humanities

Gail Mooney, member of the Title VI Grant on Chinese Culture, shares curriculum resources in literature developed through her work with the East-West Center.

The curriculum resources below offer examples of how Gail and Karen Oster infused Asian philosophy in each class meeting in their integrated learning community Introduction to Chinese Culture: Through Another Window.  Assignments on the poetry of Li Bai and Wild Swans can be used in classes of literature, sociology, and history.

Click on the link below to view the video and curriculum attachments:

Through Another Window Syllabus

Wild Swans Response Essay

‘Lai Bai’

First Essay

Engaging Students in Asian Studies Through Literature

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