Benjamin Ridgway, Ph.D.
I teach the two core language classes in the MACS or MA in Chinese Studies Program: Chinese Studies 607-608: "Intensive Fourth-Year Chinese" and Chinese Studies 531-532: "Modern Chinese in Contemporary Mass Media." In Chst 607-608 I stress the development of students' advanced reading comprehension and writing skills through the study of selected essays and literary works by some of the greatest Chinese writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. While in Chst 531-532, the main goal is to enhance student's advanced conversation skills and to learn how to discuss and debate some of the most important economic, political, and cultural situations of the contemporary Chinese-speaking-world through the modern mass media of newspapers, television, and film.
My area of specialization is Chinese poetry of the Song dynasty (960-1279). But, more broadly I am interested in the intersections between geography and literature. My dissertation research was on the interaction between practices of official travel during the Song dynasty and imagined travel through memory and the historical past in the song lyrics of Su Shi (1037-1101). Recently, I have begun work on a cultural history of the city of Hangzhou during the 12th and 13th centuries, a period of massive population displacement from North to South, examining the city through a range of genres, including song lyrics, shi poetry, local gazetteers, strange tales, maps, as well as painting.
I have woven my interest in the connections between geography and literature directly into a topics class that will be offered in the spring semester of 2008, entitled "Chst 590: A Cultural History of China's Cities through Literature and Film." I look forward to exploring the topic of China's iconic cities, both ancient and new, with Valpo's students this spring!
Ph.D. - University of Michigan 2005
Syllabi are available as pdf files for the following courses: