Background (3-5 minutes)
“Yingying’s Story” is credited to Yuan Zhen (元稹, 779-831) due to the extended poem in the latter part that is introduced by Stephen Owen, the translator, with the phrase “I, Yuan Zhen of He-nan, completed . . .” (Owen, 547). The first person reference is not present in the original (“河南元稹，亦續生 . . .”), though this may be a reasonable reading at a time when deliberate ambiguity may have served to shield the author from being dismissed for engaging in such a trivial pursuit as short-story writing. It is even possible that this is something of “an autobiographical work” (Owen, 540). Today, Yuan Zhen is remembered for what Victor Mair describes as “perhaps the most celebrated of all classical-language short stories. . . [and] probably the best known of all Chinese love stories” (Mair, 851).
In today’s class we will tackle three tasks: (1) mapping the story, (2) identifying gender norms, and (3) working in a team to develop your own lesson plan connecting the story to gender analysis.
Mapping the story (20 minutes)
Using the chart in the linked Google Doc, work together as a class to map out the story. By default I have divided out the story into 5 parts, though feel free to use anywhere from 4-6 depending on what you feel is appropriate. After providing a brief section title, give a 1-2 sentence summary. If you want to add links to images or other materials please do so. You will have about 20 minutes to complete this task.
Gender analysis (20 minutes)
Now that you have mapped out the story, consider what you can learn about Tang-era expectations about gender and sexuality based on this story. I have provided you three key words: virtue, desire, and shame. Your role, again, as a class, will be to agree on 6 statements (2 for each theme) backed by corresponding evidence. You will again have about 20 minutes to complete this task. Please continue your work on the shared Google Doc.
Lesson plan (30 minutes of preparation plus time remaining for presentation and reflection)
In the second half of class, you will tasked with taking over the role of the teacher by conceptualizing a lesson plan that could plausibly be used in a future iteration of “Living China’s History.” For the purpose of this exercise, imagine that all other parts of the course are unchanged: our learning goals are the same from the perspective of the course and the unit. If you were to be tasked with planning a 45-minute lesson related to “Yingying’s Story” around the broad topic of gender in the context of the Tang era, how would your lesson unfold?
You will have 30 minutes to prepare a lesson plan with additional time allotted for presentation and a group debrief. Please work in your “Three Kingdoms” groups.
Your lesson plan should include: