Six decades ago Americans discovered Asian martial arts films through the Japanese samurai movie. Over the years, these films have shown us many different versions of the sword-toting samurai: the superheroes, the bumblers, the psychopaths, the idiots, and the wannabe samurai. We will screen several samurai movies this semester. Student teams will study many aspects of each film. Some students will focus on the background or production of the film; others may research the film's reception by critics and audiences; still others might review the careers of the filmmakers and actors. After each film screening, we will discuss the students' findings. Classroom discussions will continue over lunch, as we adjourn to the Crossroads Dining Commons for the 'food' portion of our "Food for Thought" seminar. Later each week we will use Facebook to plan future events, share insights, and display links to videos. This seminar should appeal to open-minded, enthusiastic students with an interest in action movies. Even though our official focus will be martial arts movies, we'll inevitably spend a great deal of time talking about the purposes of a university education and how to survive the process. We will chat about study skills, preparation for examinations, and the untold secrets of mastering the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This seminar is part of the Connections@Cal initiative. This seminar is part of the Food for Thought Seminar Series.
Professor Emeritus Chang received an AB in chemistry from Princeton and a PhD in biochemistry from Cal. From 1970 to 2007 he taught food microbiology and other food science courses. In 2005 he became the first professor in Cal's Residential Faculty Program. Professor Chang has been a martial arts fan since he saw his first samurai movie in the 1950s. He has practiced American boxing and the major Chinese 'internal' martial arts: Tai Chi, Ba Gua, and Xing Yi Quan.