FORMATThe Advanced Area Studies program which accompanies Chinese language training is an integral part of the preparation of Foreign Service Officers and other USG personnel for service in all parts of China. The total training program reflects the concept and the reality that productive service in these areas requires, along with facility in the language, a substantive familiarity with the region's history, politics, economics, society, culture, and international relations.
INTEGRATION with LANGUAGE STUDY
FOREIGN COMMERCIAL CULTURE in AREA STUDIES
COURSE CHAIRPERSON, CONTACT INFORMATION, and STAFF SUPPORT
Given the distinctive character and significance of China's heritage, a good deal of time at the beginning of the course will be spent on historical and cultural studies. This emphasis on Chinese history and its contemporary legacy is designed to make you more successful in appreciating the differences between Chinese and American culture, and to provide you with the basic vocabulary of names, terms, and concepts necessary for effective communication in China.
The course will generally follow a standard format beginning with a speaker's presentation and continuing with discussion of the issues raised in the lecture, including any assigned readings. At times there will be other activities such as field trips to museums, films, panel discussions, student reports, etc. Occasionally, class sessions have been set aside for "Independent Study and Consultation." These sessions are to allow students time to work on their own study projects and consult with specialists, and to permit the chairperson to meet with individuals or smaller groups of students who have special interests.
The class meets on Wednesday mornings and students are expected to hold the period of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon open for Area Studies . Unless otherwise noted, however, classes will usually begin at 9:45 a.m. (to accommodate those with language classes until 09:30 and end just before noon. While our "usual" classroom is F-1210, students should check the bulletin boards outside the main Area Studies office (F-4315), at the Visitors' Center entrance, or in the language classroom area for each week's room assignment (to the left of F-3242). Especially when the two-week courses are in session or when there are special programs, room assignments are likely to be irregular (but will be announced as much in advance as possible). The Area Studies staff will confirm, by email the previous Friday, the following Wednesday's program and room.
The usual term of the course runs from mid-September until early July (but it is understood that some students will be assigned for a shorter period). In addition, a number of new students often enter the course in mid-year; these students attend the second half of the course along with those who entered in September, but stay on for special sessions in July and August, combining the course's introductory material with sessions tailored to their individual needs and interests.
As the attached schedule indicates, specific issues for discussion are outlined for each session. These issues, directly or indirectly, relate to the "mission" for FSOs and other government personnel as reporters/analysts/representatives and provide a focus for the weekly discussions.
Materials related to this course can be found at the following sites:
- the Sharepoint site for China: Advanced Area Studies
- themes and topics of the course
- schedule of Meetings, Topics, and Speakers
As in all NFATC courses, attendance is mandatory, and any necessary absence must be approved in advance by the course chairperson. It is each student's responsibility to sign the roster each week; otherwise blanks will be marked as absences. Department policy as of September 2005 states:
In order for the students to receive credit for courses (i.e. for the course to appear on official transcript of training) they must be present for 100% of the class hours for SAIT and SPAS courses...
The information presented on the printed roster reflects the information that's in the Registrar's database. Any errors, in the spelling of your name, or in assignment location or dates, should be reported to the Registrar's Office (F-1245). Also, while in the past students have been requested to give some basic background information to the Course Chair, to assist him in assessing the preparation and expectations that students bring to the class, this policy has been recently subject to review, with no definitive word available as of May 2011.
The Shultz Center is a federal government training facility. Weather related closings, early dismissals, or delayed arrival policies are determined by the Office of Personnel Management and conform to the policy that is applicable to the Department of State and other Federal offices. OPM will make every effort to notify the news media by 6:00 a.m. in the event of an announcement of this type. Students should listen to their local radio or television stations for information.
You can also go to the OPM website for information.
On days when OPM announces a "two-hour delayed arrival time", in the absence of any more immediate announcement, the default setting will be that China Area Studies starts at 10:15.
You are responsible for attending all sessions, completing any reading assignments, and for sharing your insights, interpretations, and questions with your fellow students through active participation in class discussions . You're encouraged to schedule a brief personal interview with the Course Chair, to provide an opportunity to review your background and special training needs.
INTEGRATION with LANGUAGE STUDY
This area studies course is part of an integrated language and area studies program, and every effort will be made to develop the mutually reinforcing aspects of both disciplines through a variety of techniques and exercises involving readings, speaking and comprehending the language you are studying. Your area studies chairperson is in close contact with your language training supervisor and the instruction staff to ensure that this occurs. Details of the language portion of the course and a description of the integration activities planned are contained in the language "Roadmaps."
FOREIGN COMMERCIAL CULTURE in AREA STUDIES
Consistent with the government's strong emphasis on promoting America's global competitiveness, a special effort will be made to cover commercial, investment, and trade issues in both special sessions and as a part of the course's overall structure. Particular attention will be given to China's resource base and opportunities for U.S. business, a host-country viewpoint on how business is actually done, the distinctive features of the evolving business culture in China, and a business perspective on developing commercial initiatives in China. In addition, the course will cover such multilateral issues as developing trading communities, international security, and environmental concerns.
Dr. Howard R. Spendelow has been the Contract Chair in charge of NFATC's Advanced Area Studies course on China since 1980. He holds degrees from Oberlin College (B.A. in government, 1966) and Harvard University (M.A. in Chinese Regional Studies, 1970, and Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages, 1982). From 1972-1975 he pursued language study and research abroad, first in Taiwan at Stanford's Inter-University Program and at Academia Sinica's Institute of Modern History, then in Japan under Fulbright and Japanese Ministry of Education grants, and finally in the Soviet Union at the Institute of Oriental Studies under a grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board.
Dr. Spendelow has previously held teaching positions at Harvard University and at Bates College. He joined Georgetown University's Department of History in 1979, where he is now Associate Professor and served as Chair of the Department from 1988 to 1991. Besides teaching the basic introductory course in Chinese history ('from Yao to Mao...'), he has also offered general surveys in world history early Japanese history, and the Confucian World, along with specialized courses on Chinese intellectual history and Sino-Russian relations. Since 1997, he has also run the Department's Senior Honors Seminar. Dr. Spendelow's main research interest is in Sino-Russian relations in China's Northeast at the beginning of the 20th century.
Dr. Spendelow can be reached at the following e-mail address:
Warning: on some email lists, you may find an eddress for me that ends in "@state.gov". Do not use this address. It goes into an account which I can access only when on the NFATC campus, so it might as well be going into a Black Hole...
Phone messages for Dr. Spendelow are best left directly at his Georgetown office (202.687.6198).
The mailing address at Georgetown is:
Department of History
Intercultural Center - room 607
Washington DC 20057-1035
In addition, Dr. Spendelow is approachable on Facebook.
The NFATC Program Assistant for this course, as of 19 May 2006, is Ms. Amindi A. Umanah, who can be reached at 703.302.6861. She is based in the main Area Studies Office (F-4315).