The documentary, People’s Republic of Desire by Hao Wu, prompts many venues for discussion. What does this film make you think about? From celebrity to aesthetics, ethics to marketing, finance to gender, the library can help you find research to build an argument for a paper or project. Read on for several books (electronic or in print on 4F) as well as a series of guides from librarians on how to start researching any one of these topics:
If you missed the event Friday, or want to watch again with classmates, the DVD, Shanghai Waiting for Paradise, is available to check out on 4F. We have a viewing room if you don’t have a DVD player or disc drive. You may check out a DVD player from IT. Unfortunately, we don’t allow popcorn or more than two viewers together in the library.
If your mind is churning with questions, harness that interest to research this semester for an assignment. I suggest starting with a general introduction, such as Shanghai in transition: changing perspectives and social contours of a Chinese metropolis, which explored Shanghai at the same time as the film, about 2003. It is also an ebook, where you can skim the table of contents for ideas about what angle your research might try. Remember, education and research are about trying things out, from your interest in a topic to different methods for exploring and reporting, to different theories for organizing and understanding the information. University is the best time to take a risk, try a new topic or subject. Now is the time to find out what you don’t like doing as much as what you do like. It’s also a great time to realize the skills you need (logically thinking, calculus and statistics, coding) and learn with a classmate on a group project. Continue reading
Libraries have evolved over time, from carefully curated collections of “the best” books to entertaining and educating collections. A librarian and editor, Mary Jo Godwin, argued, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.” Many librarians advocate for access to materials because individuals have the power and responsibility to self-select. If I pick up a book I find objectionable, I can choose to learn from it, turn away from it, or seek out a conversation to help me contextualize how it speaks to some readers but not others.S. R. Ranganathan advocated five laws for libraries, including “Every person his or her book [and e]very book its reader,” which I interpret as a challenge to collect books I may not be interested in personally. Every person has unique needs and tastes. I select books broadly because each of us may not realize what we are looking for in a book. I may be surprised and learn something new.
Libraries in public schools and communities negotiate with their communities on when to label a movie or book based on content, topics, or maturity. One American organization hosts a Banned Books awareness campaign, not that books are themselves banned in the US anymore, but to increase awareness of the challenges librarians and teachers face in teaching diverse materials.
If you are inspired to explore librarianship or information management as a career, I invite you to explore LISA, the Library and Information Science Abstracts, or a preprint archive, for topics on ethics of Intellectual Freedom or Freedom of access to information. Librarianship has a history of agents agitating for change, such as Sandy Berman, who argued subject headings were discriminatory and biased.
This film may prompt research outside librarianship, such as computing, ethics, mass media, or censorship. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I use Annual Reviews to search “ethics AND censorship” which showed me the broad possibilities from Big Data to Sociology, from the Internet to Politics. Annual Reviews are big reviews by experts of the latest developments in a field. The introduction and future trends sections might be enough to spark your interest for research in our guides on Mass Media or Philosophy.
Are you drawn to documentaries? The library has many more you can stream. Or books and journals to read about documentaries. For example, how to analyze them; how to make them; or disciplines of study, such as anthropology. Are you drawn to the topics in the documentaries? The library has guides, databases, and films related to the economic, political, social, and cultural histories of South Asia. You can directly contact the librarian who specializes in your topic. Their emails are one each guide below.
We have grouped databases for interdisciplinary topics and Area Studies:
Or you may find research in your area under our Literature & Language collections:
Please Remember Me explores aging. How do health and social needs change over any person’s life? How do economic development, urbanization, and current health care systems affect our families? If the film opened your eyes to a new field of research, check out the library resources below for further reading or viewing options.
Start with the tab on Aging in the LibGuide for Social Work: Policy for international projects, divisions, and centers. Seniors are a special topic of research, affecting legal issues, psychology, and respect for wisdom. Or if you are looking for data, this LibGuide on Public Health can prepare you for an appointment
with a librarian. Caitlin Mannion is NYU Shanghai’s Social Work Librarian and she maintains a Shanghai-specific LibGuide on Social Work.
You may want to set up email alerts about new articles published in the top journals, listed at the bottom of the LibGuide on Social and Public Policy. Journals are published on different schedules; some once or twice a year, others every month or so. With alerts, you don’t have to remember to visit a website. Instead, you receive the table of contents listing the new releases. Or you can request notices for specific topics or authors most relevant to your research. This is how many professors keep up to date on research in his or her discipline.
What did the movie or discussion prompt you to think about? If you are interested in pursuing one as part of your research this semester for a class paper, check with the library. You may want to start with the materials listed below (films, books, and databases of research articles). I’ll also explain using subject-specific databases to improve your search results on a broad term, such as “justice.”
If you missed the movie, want to watch it again, or share with a classmate, you are welcome to check out the DVD on 4F. Ask at the library desk. We have a viewing room (bring your own headphones; sorry no popcorn allowed) in case your laptop doesn’t have a DVD player. I know mine doesn’t; but it’s so much lighter than my last laptop! You may also check with IT about their DVD player loan.
Were you expecting the mini-series based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name? Don’t worry, that DVD box is also available to watch in our viewing room on 4F.
Chai Jing felt she had to live under a dome in Beijing, inspired by King’s story. She trained as a reporter, the skills you are learning at university. She asked questions about her daily life. In 2017, Anna Lora-Wainwright wrote a similar perspective for MIT Press: Resigned Activism: Living with Pollution in Rural China (on the shelf in the library at TD187.5.C6 L67 2017). What questions do you have?
Deep thinking or Critical thinking takes time. It evolves slowly rather than in 2-4 hours of writing a term paper. Critical thinking builds upon skills librarians call information literacy. There are six; let’s focus on two, Reseach is Inquiry and Scholarship is Conversation.
The film, Wolf Warrior 2, is also available to watch in the library’s viewing room or check out for your own DVD player. It presents a thrilling view of international development (sometimes called international aid) and peacekeeping. My mind is still thinking about different perspectives on foreign policies and nationalism. Some films for comparison include Operation Red Sea or We Come As Friends. The latter may be less thrilling, but it is honest to local viewpoints, and a list of resources from We Come as Friends Film Friday in May 2018 is available.
In a university setting, debating comparative politics or US-China relations happens in journal articles. An excellent example of one conversation over the years is published in International Security.
Sociology and Linguistics combine in this film with social justice. If this inspires your research, visit with a librarian or explore the resources below.
Learn more about African American English in this Great Courses (32 min) video.
Walt Wolfram is a highly esteemed scholar of linguistic diversity and sociolinguistic justice. You can keep up with his work online by visiting The Language and Life Project, a non-profit outreach education endeavor to document and celebrate dialects, languages, and cultures of the United States. You can also watch more videos and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Dr. Wolfram’s ebooks are available: The Development of African American English and Dialects at School: Educating Linguistically Diverse Students. See additional books and articles below.
Economics is a study of scarcity or distribution, often by weighing the costs and benefits of an action or inaction. If this documentary inspires you to research this topic more, the books below are a good place to start. Some are online; others are on 4F.
Make an appointment with a librarian to find additional resources.
If you missed the movie, the DVD lives on 4F where we have a movie viewing room. Bring your own headphones and ask at the desk.