Full Details

Tuesday, October 10

The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Michael Meyer, Associate Professor, Department of English
WPU Assembly Room
Announced by:
Asian Studies Center on behalf of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Department of English
Patricia Szczepanski
Contact Email:

In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan. Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use chopsticks, Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and, per a Communist dean’s orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by the country’s changes as he was. With humor and insight, Meyer puts readers in his novice shoes, winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country -- from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, and his future wife's Manchurian family, and into efforts to protect China's heritage at places like "Sleeping Dragon," the world's largest panda preserve.

In the last book of his China trilogy, Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater – if never complete – assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. Meyer will recount his 20-year journey via photographs, as well as talking about the challenges of reporting from China and how a freelance writer can fund and produce books that reach a wide audience.