Topic Idea # 1: “Car Ownership in China”
Apparently, the Chinese government has signified that the ownership of automobiles and motor homes is not only acceptable but represents the Chinese ideal of the happy home life. The Chinese are buying more and more cars and will soon overtake the U.S. as the world’s number 1 auto market. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on 25 January 2011, General Motors sold more cars and trucks in China than it did in the U.S. during 2010. GM’s vehicle sales in China rose nearly 29% last year to 2.4 million, whereas U.S. sales increased just 6% to 2.2 million. In addition to GM, a Chinese entrepreneur has recently negotiated a deal with a Southern California firm to build and export an estimated $5 billion worth of recreational vehicles and motor homes to China over the next few years.
My paper would explore a number of issues, including the following: What does car ownership represent in Chinese culture? How has car ownership changed Chinese culture, from leisure activities to dating/marriage rituals? What are the implications with respect to increased air pollution? new infrastructure (roads, signage, etc.)? increased mobility and traffic congestion? economic growth? Now that the Chinese government has allowed the car genie out of the bottle, what will it do to control its growth? Will car ownership lead to a growing disparity between classes (urban rich v. rural poor) inconsistent with the official CCP socialist policies?
Preliminary sources include various newspaper articles and a recent (2009) study by Martin Calkins that appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics, “King Car and the Ethics of Automobile Proponents’ Strategies in China.”
Topic Idea # 2: “The Cultural Revolution as a Human Event”
My paper would explore the nature and individual experience of political and ideological violence during the Cultural Revolution; the vulnerability of humanity to the call of violence. How did ordinary people get wrapped up in it? What drove them to smash authority, destroy centuries of culture, and give into mob mentality?
Preliminary sources include the following books: Spider Eaters by Rae Yang, Red-Color News Soldier by Li Zhensheng, China Candid by Sang Ye, and Ten Years of Madness by Feng Jicai.