A reflection on university teaching of the Nanjing controversy
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The History programme at the School of History and Politics at the University of Wollongong (UOW) introduces students to the history, culture, traditions and societies of East Asia. Under the discipline-specific guidelines of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), the History Discipline Reference Group (DRG) of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) outlined eight Threshold Learning Outcomes in 2010. Two Learning Outcomes are relevant to this chapter - to show how history and historians shape the present and the future, and to analyse historical evidence, scholarship and changing representations of the past (Keirle and Morgan 2011: 2). As the co-ordinator, lecturer and tutor of a second-year module on 'The History of Modern China' (HIST252), it is my responsibility to teach students about personalities and events that have shaped China since the republican Revolution ofl91l. The aim of this module is to show how events in the past do not remain in the past; they remain highly relevant to a China that is proud of its rising global profile. To teach Chinese history as if there are no controversial events is to mislead students and misrepresent the nature and development of history as an academic discipline and its method of enquiry (Stradling 1984: 1). The aims of this chapter are to reflect on how a controversial issue was approached in the module and to examine the students' response to a historical controversy.
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