One of the main goals of the FACES annual conference, last held in October 2015, is to come to understand our misunderstandings. The event “By the Book” aimed at identifying the differences perceptions of culture and history, revealing the tremendous disparities between the tellings of these events in Chinese and American textbooks. In this session, delegates studied textbook excerpts on ten topics, ranging from ideological themes like Marxism to historical events like the Korean War. These topics all invite diverse interpretations, which play out in Chinese and American accounts.
The delegates worked in groups to translate the Chinese texts into English, trying to capture the nuances in the language and properly translate the meaning of the texts. After translating, delegates reflected on the similarities and differences that translating exposed, seeking to explain the reasons behind consensus and divergence.