Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 5 years 6 months ago

1) What do you already know (or think you know) about the topic? Where did you learn these things? (2 to 4 paragraphs)

I chose village governance. I think I know that there is a mayor who runs the village. Since Xizhou is rural, there are probably some old Chinese traditions so maybe the elderly advise the mayor. In the house, the man is in charge of most things. The mother probably does the housework while the father goes out to work.

I learned some information about ancient China in social studies. In ancient China, they respected the elderly and thought they had a lot of information because they lived a long life. So I think they advise the mayor. Also, the in ancient China, the mom does house work while the dad goes out and does labor.

I also think that the mayor works in a town hall and there are more people who work there as well that help the mayor. There can be law makes, advisers and even a front desk person who helps anyone that needs information about the town.

2) In general, what do you want to learn about this topic? (1 to 2 paragraphs)

I want to learn how the mayor makes the laws of the village. Is the procedure of law making the same as America or is it totally different? Also I want to see if they really respect the elderly. If a village is rural, it doesn't necessarily mean they have old Chinese traditions.

I also might want to learn is who else helps the mayor with his work? Are there elders who advise him or other people who do other assignments too?

I may want to focus on how the Xizhou village governing system works. Then I will look further into how it and modern governing systems are alike. Also I might want to compare Xizhou and ancient China. I can see how much the governing systems have changed and see where Xizhou lies.

3) Take some time to build some background knowledge about the topic. Go online . . . go to the library . . . what general background information can you find about your topic now so that you can better understand what you are going to learn in Xizhou? No need for extensive notes, but do keep track of key ideas (and source information) in your Phase 1 workspace. (1 to 2 weeks)

In imperial China, when small families moved to the rural area and stayed there, a small community started to build up. They elected a member to be in charge of the village affairs. The citizens might choose a few members to assist the mayor to perform tasks. Larger communities branched out into a few small ones and one mayor in each. Some factors that are looked at while electing are age, education, reputation, physical ability and sometimes the social status. They made laws based off of Confucianism traditions. Some things they looked for were respecting elders, working hard and helping others (1).

In China, there were 3 different religions. One was Confucianism. The main idea was that people could achieve peace by doing their duty. If citizens fought against the emperor, there will be lots of fighting and violence (2). Another belief was that all people should respect each other. They shouldn’t do something to someone something that they wouldn’t want to be done to them. Another strong belief was called filial piety. This is where a kid should treat their parents with loyalty. The father is the head of the family. The oldest child gets respect from younger siblings (3). It focuses on the proper behavior according to one’s rank. No matter at work, at school or at home, everyone should act like they should.

Another religion was Buddhism.

4) Now it is time to come up with your preliminary questions. You will develop a numbered list of least ten major questions that you have about your inquiry topic. As your research continues, you may want to change some of your major questions. This is a normal part of the inquiry process, and you are welcome to change or replace questions that you answer or no longer seem important.

Structures and Procedures that guide the governance in Xizhou:

Background:

1. What does the mayor of the town do on a daily basis?

2. What are some major problems the mayor needs to focus on?

Jobs:

3. What kinds of help does the mayor get?

4. Does the mayor get advice? If so, from who?

5. What kinds of jobs are in the government?

Election:

6. How are the mayors elected or chosen?

Laws:

7. How are laws made?

8. How are laws enforced?

 

Compare and Contrast:

9. How are ancient Chinese structures and procedures like Xizhou’s? How are they different?

10. How are Confucian ideas influencing their structures?

 

Questions from Phase 3:

 

Mr. X

1. How does the point of view of the citizens affect the mayor?

2. How much effort does it take to change the point of view?

3. When did this new systems take place?

4. Why is this system different from China's?

 

Mr. Z

1. How are the laws from the central government passed down to Xizhou?

2. What does the mayor do with the taxes?

 

Mr. L

1. How are laws passed down from each province/city?

2. When did the concept of rotating workers through jobs appear?

3. Do the workers in the managment of the government portion of the hierarchy rotate with everyone else?

 

5) What are possible answers to these questions? (list possibilities for each question)

 

Structures and Procedures that guide the governance in Xizhou:

Background:

1. What does the mayor of the town do on a daily basis?

The mayor might monitor public facilities such as roads and schools to see if they need money or fixing.

2. What are some major problems the mayor needs to focus on?

The new mayor might want to change something that he didn't like that was already in place by the old mayor.

Jobs:

3. What kinds of help does the mayor get?

There might be advisors telling advising him in how to solve a problem or what kind of laws should be added. There might also be a person who specially tells him the problems and the bills tat need to be paid.

4. Does the mayor get advice? If so, from who?

They mayor may get advice from the elderly telling him/her how to solve a problem or what he should do if he is stuck.

5. What kinds of jobs are in the government?

There might be some people who create laws, there may be someone who is specialized in telling the mayor what he needs to do.

Election:

6. How are the mayors elected or chosen?

The mayor may be elected by the citizens voting on who they think should be the next mayor. Or the leadership is passed on from one generation to the other.

Laws:

7. How are laws made?

There could be a few people who make the laws and the mayor is the one who decides the law should be passed on or not. The advisers might advise him about his decision.

8. How are laws enforced?

Maybe, there is a town meeting and the laws are passed on to the people who attend it.

 

Compare and Contrast:

9. How are ancient Chinese structures and Procedures like Xizhou’s? How are they different?

They might have some aspects of traditional Chinese governing system but not the whole thing. They might have changed a little based on modern governing nearby.

10. How are Confucian ideas influencing their structures?

The laws and rules may be like Confucian ideas but the way it is carried out may change.

 

6) What more do you need to know ahead of time to be able to dig deeper when we arrive in the village? (1 or 2 paragraphs)

I might need to know and learn about the other beliefs in china history. There may be some Taoism or Buddhism rules in the laws, not just Confucianism. Maybe just a trace of Taoism or Buddhism but it will help if I could identify the trace. I may also want to learn about modern Chinese governing systems. This will help me compare the governing system with modern day and see if the idea immigrated to Xizhou.

I might need more about ancient Chinese governing systems, how the laws are made, what the mayor does and more. This can help me indentify ancient Chinese structures and procedures while I am interveiwing. I also might want to learn about different modern governments. This can help me see which type of government is most like Xizhou's. Even though it may be similar to ancient China, it will be interesting to know what type of government is used.

 

Sources

  1. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:jkj3_HgM_4wJ:www.indiana.edu/~workshop/publications/materials/conference_papers/wang.pdf+chinese+village+governance&hl=en&gl=hk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjUR42kUkPDSSMmnp8VkVYLvtNUufSb8S6fUwmjg4nSC68DuboWnfFPxqQ88Dj1KwMSeYdy5dIfH-GQ8PhypJmX2redaPOtaibABglJD3kxMrAkmQMn8VzBgld3nlkRTM_sRkzB&sig=AHIEtbRTbS1brAnpdCZ34bZ4YuNhw5doww
  2. http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/china/philosophy/confucius2.htm
  3. http://geriatrics.stanford.edu/ethnomed/chinese/fund/beliefs/

Comments

Hi Brandon! My name is Hannah

Comments: 

Hi Brandon! My name is Hannah Hayden, and I am a part of the April Microcampus group 2013 (the cookie monsters:) I think your questions about village governance are really interesting, especially the question asking about old chinese traditions, and if they are fallowed in the community. I hope you have a wonderful time in XiZhou and enjoy your project!

 

Hi Brandon! This is Jaewon.

Comments: 

Hi Brandon! You know me right? I am Jaewon Chung, and I'm also in your Chinese class. I think your topic, village governance, is interesting, and I also think that you have researched a lot to write this. As I read your questions, I also began to think about the same questions. I think you have done well, and hope you enjoy your time there!

I am from Chicago. I have two other siblings. I was new to SAS and China. I have lived in Chicago all my life. I play piano, tennis and enjoy basketball. I also love traveling but I have never been away from my home alone for more than one month. Xizhou was a very beautiful rural town and I got to appreciate the weather, air and scenery during my stay there. I haven't been to a lot of places on the west side of China so the trip was valuable to me. I learned as much as possible here and took a lot back with me to Shanghai.