There is no pre-given or definite syllabus in this course, at least not until a couple weeks after we start. When we do have one, it will be a syllabus of ours. It is ours because it is made by our collective effort, after our research, discussion, choice and selection. Therefore, it will be our OWN, according to which it will also be a contract for all of us. It is a deal we make on our own and for us only. We shall see it through as if we were raising a kid. It’s our baby, not just Sung Chia-fu’s, but ours. The first few weeks thus are crucial. Whether we are a group capable of making our decision, reaching consensus by reasonable discussion and human communication based on good faith with each other will be shown in these few weeks. It’s an experiment we are all part of. As an experiment, like every other experiment, it may fail. If it fails, we will see what we can do at that moment. But the reason that I want to involve you all into this experiment, is that: (1) we are a very much diversified group. People in this class are gathered together not precisely because we already share certain historiographical interest, for instance, like in a Ming History Seminar. (2) As far as I can tell, there is no consensus even in a mature academic community of historians on what constitutes a common list of modern historiographical classics. Therefore, what we need to do at the start is to form a community, to build a sense of community among people sitting in this classroom. This sense, as precious as it is, however, could not be coerced by any school regulation or individual’s will but predicate upon our willingness to communicate with each other and in the mean time to engage ourselves in sustained contemplation and problematization.