In the early September, when the fall semester was just around the corner, I met with my supervisor Professor Bian He, a historian in the Chinese medical history. In our meeting, we talked about the difference of the Chinese legal history studies in China and Japan, my previous studies, and my proposal. She suggested me to attend her seminar on the recent studies on Chinese history in the US and required me to report my progress every month. She is also an alumnus of Peking University so that we also discussed the life in Beijing and scholars at the Peking University. Later, I visited with Professor Adelman who is in charge of Global History Lab in Princeton. We talked about my study plan at Princeton, and he gave me many useful suggestions. He introduced the global history lab and requested me to attend the workshop every month. Additionally, we also had a happy conversation about swimming. He told me he did long-distance swimming every day so that he got temporary hearing loss in this summer and I, as a beginner, was delighted to receive some tips on swimming from him.
The fall semester began in the second week of the September. According to Professor Bian’s suggestion,I decided to take two classes this semester. One is Readings in Late Imperial Chinese History hosted by Prof. He Bian. The other is Professor Janet Chen’s Research in Modern China. It is my first time to take an American style seminar. I want to introduce the class and my impression. In Prof. Bian’s class, she requires us to read two books a week and share our idea and critical to the books in the class, which is different from the classes I took in Japan. In the seminars in Todai, graduate students usually were required to read primary materials attentively together guided by the professor. I felt both of the two teaching methodologies have their advantages and problems. It is beneficial to enlarge my vision and knowledge through extensive reading, but it is easy to become focusing in the broader argument but miss analysis processes. If taking three or four at the same time just like some of my classmates, someone needs to read at least five books every week. They are very good at grasp the main argument from a book efficiently, but cannot get familiar with the whole book, sometimes inevitably miss some crucial details for the argument. However, I still insist that Todai need more class with stressful reading requirements. Since students usually never have excellent time management skills, they will become very procrastinatory without pressures. I felt that it is necessary for Todai to offer some seminar like Princeton to nurture students' reading skills. Another record-worthy impression on these two classes is that I think the students in Todai should have confidence for ourselves and our educational resources. Todai has comparable faculties and students, at least in the Chinese history studies.
Except for classes, I spent most of my time in the library. I have got two carrels at the Firestone Library and East Asia Library. They are much smaller than my research room in Todai but very useful because I do not need to take all the books I checked out home. I also met with three librarians in Princeton to consult with them on land law, Zotero-the reference management software and rare collections of Chinese history in Princeton. All of them are gracious and kind. Princeton has over 20 librarians majoring all the fields of science, social science, and humanity. It is effortless to make an appointment with them to ask for help on the literature survey.
In the meantime, I prepared another proposal for a workshop organized by the Association for Asian Studies. Classmates in Prof. Janet Chen’s class gave me a lot of suggestions, based which I revised my application and submitted it.
In September, I spent too much time on the reading so that I do not have enough time to continue my research. However, I still collected some the related cases from Heitu Archives. I felt more comfortable to intensive reading at the end of September. I hope I can go further in my dissertation in October.
On the other hand, the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton (IHUM) sponsored some reading group for graduate students. I also joined one whose theme is “Ethnography: Knowledge, Form, Innovation.” This group hosted by two graduate students from the department of anthropology focuses on the recent studies on ethnography, especially emphasizing methodology and interdisciplinary commitment. At the first week, one of the host students, Serena introduced the reading list and arrangement for the following meeting. It was interesting to know some graduate student from other departments. Our first meeting will be held next month.
I also attend the Fall Picnic hosted by the department of history and saw many friends I met in the GHC summer school. I also talked with another GHC’s junior member Tomomatsu Yuka who is also in Princeton as a Postdoctoral Researcher.
Outside the study, I began swimming every morning.
I usually wake up at 6:00 AM, and finish my breakfast, then leave for the swimming pool at the University at 6:40 AM. So, I can arrive at the library and began a new day energetically at 8:00 AM. Since the pool closed at the weekend morning, I usually wake up at around 8:00 AM and go to the library directly.
To enrich my off-work hours and improve English, I bought a membership in a cinema near the Princeton. It costs only 20 dollars to see, at most. 12 movies every month. It gives me another opportunity to avoid being isolated in the library.