Prior Texts Resource Archive
Journey to the West

Journey to the West in Wisconsin (2015-2016)

Journey to the West in Wisconsin connected teachers and students throughout the state in the study of Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West (trans. Arthur Waley). Also known as Monkey, this sixteenth-century Chinese novel tells the true story of a Tang Dynasty monk, Xuanzang, who travels to India in search of sacred texts. Drawing from Xuanzang's own account of the pilgrimage, as well as Chinese folk tales and mythology, Journey to the West transports readers into a world of comedy, adventure and spiritual enlightenment. As they read the novel, students and educators will engage with the teachings of Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, tour the landscapes of the Silk Road, and learn about the shenmo genre. Participants also had the opportunity to read the novel alongside contemporary graphic and dramatic adaptations, including Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese and Mary Zimmerman's Journey to the West

Teachers participating in the program attended two educator colloquia on September 21 and February 18, featuring talks by campus experts, workshopping activities and discussions, and cultural and curricular presentations. Our participating educators and students joined UW-Madison faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, Center staff and members of the public for the Great World Texts in Wisconsin's Annual Student Conference on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Click here for the conference program.

Teaching Resources: click here for the 2015-2016 "Teaching Journey to the West in Wisconsin" guide and supporting materials.

Journey to the West in Wisconsin was an initiative of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, supported by the A. W. Mellon Foundation; the Evjue Foundation; UW-Madison Libraries; the Departments of East Asian Languages and Literature, English and History; the Anonymous Fund of the College of Letters & Science; the Wisconsin Humanities Council; and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

2015-2016 Annual Student Conference Keynote: David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang is a Chinese-American and award-winning playwright, described by the New York Times as “a true original” and by TIME magazine as “the first important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller.” He is America’s most-produced living opera librettist according to Opera News and is best known as the author of M. Butterfly (1988), which won a Tony Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of The Lost Empire, a mini-series adaptation of Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that aired in 2001 on NBC. Hwang will meet with high school students from across the state at the Great World Texts in Wisconsin program's Annual Student Conference. He will also deliver a public lecture. 

Journey to the West in Wisconsin Participants

In 2015-2016, nearly 65 educators at 23 high schools around the state participated in Journey to the West Wisconsin. 

School City Lead Teacher
Baraboo High School Baraboo Amanda Jamae
Bay Port High School Green Bay Janelle Bailey
Big Foot High School Walworth Suzanne Floody
Bonduel High School Bonduel Hannah Agyekum
Clark Street Community School Middleton Bryn Orum
Cochrane-Fountain City School Fountain City Terri Karsten
Community High School Milwaukee William Harvill
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School Elkhart Lake Lei Lund
Kohler High School Kohler Kyle McGilligan-Bentin
Lodi High School Lodi Carrie Kerska
Madison Country Day School Middleton Evelyn Lasky
Madison East High School Madison Amy Isensee
Milwaukee High School of the Arts Milwaukee Krista Claypool
Necedah Area High School Necedah Mikki Maddox
New Horizons Charter School Shorewood Renee Glembin
Osseo-Fairchild High School Osseo Denise Beasley
Oshkosh North High School Oshkosh Jason Cummings
Oshkosh West High School Oshkosh Brian Phelps
Prescott High School Prescott Mandy Bernick
Rock University High School Janesville Matt Wolf
Southern Door High School Appleton Brett Hanson
St. Francis Xavier High School Milwaukee Lynn Zetzman
Washington High School Milwaukee Alexander Branderhorst