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We'll Always Have Chengdu: East Meets West on the Silver Screen

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

From 2006 to 2008, Peter J. Vernezze served as a Peace Corps volunteer at Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu, taking a two-year leave of absence from his regular job as a philosophy professor. During this time he facilitated a film series for his Chinese undergraduate students which showed classic and contemporary American films – everything from Casablanca to the Marx brothers to Brokeback Mountain. The goal of the series was "to use film in order to shed light on and increase the understanding of American culture and values." This essay is a personal account of the discussions which took place after the screenings and what this American and these Chinese students may or may not have learned from each other about universalities and differences in cultures.


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