The Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) is pleased to announce plans for a 2007–2008 theme year focusing on China and its place in the world. The theme year is sponsored by LSA, and seeks to leverage Michigan’s unique combination of diverse scholarly communities, growing campus- and community-wide interest, and the center’s acknowledged standing as a world center for the study of China. Several special events will take place during academic year 2007–2008: a weekly distinguished speaker series called “China through a Global Lens,” covering a wide range of current political, cultural, economic, societal, and governance topics related to China’s globalization; a contemporary documentary film series and a film screening event; a major scholarly conference on China focusing on current social science issues; and a new contemporary course, which will be added to the existing undergraduate gateway course series offered by the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

    Already, CCS has been coordinating its China Theme Year with related activities, programs, and events on campus, including the U-M Arts on Earth celebration (a university-wide global arts collaboration) and the University Musical Society’s Asia Festival 2007–2008. January 12–13, the U-M Office of the Provost, UMS, and U-M School of Music, Theater & Dance partnered with CCS to kick off both the Asia Festival and the CCS Theme Year with a sold-out performance of Silver River, an ancient Chinese legend about love and celestial havoc, which melds Western music and dance with Chinese opera and solo playing of the pipa (Chinese lute) and flute. Silver River was created by Bright Sheng, a U-M composition faculty member and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner, together with playwright David Henry Hwang and director Ong Keng Sen. Those interested in Bright Sheng’s work also have the opportunity to view a video-recording of Nanking Nanking on March 30, 2007 in Schorling Auditorium (in the School of Education).

    Two major outreach events are being planned to allow public participation in the Theme Year. The first will be a large-scale collaborative U-M and Ann Arbor community event celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival in September 2007. This family-oriented event will include food, music, and art, and will culminate with the first-ever dragon boat race along the Huron River. CCS will also host a Sunrise to Moonrise day of cultural events in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s global parties theme for June 2008. Tentative events include a community Tai Chi demonstration at the Arboretum, and tours at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, the U-M Exhibit Museum, the Stearns Collection, and the Kelsey Museum. With these activities, CCS seeks to encourage partnerships among different programs and colleges of the university and connect to the community at large.

    For more information on the many events to take place during the CCS Theme Year on China, please contact the U-M Center for Chinese Studies at 734-764-6308 or by e-mail at

    Ena Schlorff is program associate at the Center for Chinese Studies at the International Institute.