Fall 2010 / Spring 2011

J-Term in Shanghai, China

“Shanghai: History, Culture, and Art” is a course that allows students to experience history firsthand. They explore this culturally rich city—a city that embodies some of the major historical characteristics and systems of the twentieth century, including capitalism, imperialism, and communism. Housed in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences,the course takes place during J-Term for an intense three weeks in January.

By: Dr. Elena Valussi

I developed the concept for the course four years ago. Having lived in China for several years during my research for a PhD in Chinese History, I thought that Shanghai was the perfect place to take students. It’s a quintessential Chinese city, but it also displays an openness to foreign influences and artistic experimentation that I felt would appeal to many Columbia College students. The remarkable student photographs that follow tell a collective story. It’s a story about how these students immersed themselves in a society very different from their own, rich with art, tradition, history, and culture, thereby acquiring a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and their own. Such knowledge improves these students’ respective artistic media and goes straight to the core of what it means to be a truly educated, well-rounded person.