Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 10 months 4 weeks ago



Choices. As we embark ourselves in the Microcampus trip we have had to choose our topics for an odyssey of 28 days, which will determine what we do. So I have went back to reliable Mr. T's advice, and chosen the Change and Development of Xizhou. Here is my topic choice, along with others I ruled out.

The Change and Development of Xizhou. After a lot of thinking and weighing options, I have decided to choose topic 2, the Change and Development of Xizhou. This project allows for a unique perspective of Chinese modernity that has only been told by government officials and the media, which is partly what contributes to its appeal. As a Chinese person, it would be sad if I was a complete neophyte on subjects of Chinese culture, and now that I think about it, I realized it is important for me to understand changes in society. I plan to find out how Yunnan has changed over the years, and how that has impacted both the banker and the worker. I would need to talk to people of difference socio-economic status to fully understand how Yunnan has transformed over years.

Here were two of my other choices. Green Energy means looking at a real-life examples of the adaption, commercialization, and the usage of green energy. But the problem is that I do not see something that I could learn in Microcampus that I cannot learn in the much larger and commercial Shanghai. Antiques and Collectibles. Studying antiques, learning how to detect fakes, and maybe learn about their value. I am not an artist (I have trouble drawing squares), and I feel I would not be successful or interested.

After looking at the reflections from previous Microcampus students, I think the general motif is to work hard, enjoy Microcampus, and remember that we are free to change the topic and/or modify it. Since I do not see any projects that are related, I generally saw how previous Microcampus students had positive attitudes to Microcampus, which I will try to emulate. Some projects I checked was Bill L's, Yisu H's, and Dylan Y's

I am done with Phase 0, and will be moving on to Phase 1. This will include posing questions and generally creating a template for further research.


What Topics I Picked (And Why)

I have no questions.

1. Antiques and Collectibles. It's interesting to study antiques, trace back their stories, and expose some fakes along the way. With an eye towards the final product and how that might end up, I feel that studying antiques and collectibles would provide an entertaining and exciting documentary about how Xizhou is unique in that it still has historical elements in the 21st century. Other topics, such as people watching and fishing techniques are too mundane and otherwise not conducive to an interesting documentary. I plan to find out how history and culture can be traced using historical artifacts, and methods of gathering information on history through antiques. For example, the ding, which is a huge, three-legged pot, was used to discover rituals of Zhou China, which mostly amounted to a lot of wine. I could visit local antique shops and ask them about their trade.

2. The evolution of Yunnan. This was my own idea, and an interesting one. What I propose is that we see the modernization process of Yunnan, and we see how modern technology changes a traditional village. Yunnan has a unique geography that has been crucial to its role in the grand scheme of China. This could be a yardstick for studying the whole of Yunnan, which has experienced much culture and change. This would involve talking to elders about their story in Yunnan, or perhaps their perspective of Yunnan from somewher else.

3. Green Energy. Even though China is totally not suffering from pollution, it's fun to see green energy come to life. But I'm still leery about how that might make a good final product. I mean, I could learn how it works, but I don't need to go to Xizhou to do so. If this is my final choice, this could be a case study of how large commercial cities could learn from small rural villages. I think this would involve local officials and their decision to implement green energy.

These topics are not important to me, but they will become important should I dedicate time to learn about them. It is analogous to how good shoes don't make you run faster, but they might encourage you to run and run faster. Also, number 1 is the one I'm the most interested in, followed by number 2, and followed by number 3.

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." Over the course of Microcampus, I have experienced the individual freedom that I have been grappling with ever since I have left Shanghai. Who am I? Why am I here? My Microcampus-era posts and thoughts would go to reveal my struggle against who I am, a struggle you will soon face in Microcampus. And now that I am back, I may have but a fragment of my answer.