This article describes two different sessions taught at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts by Linda Safran and Adam S. Cohen as part of a three-year J. Paul Getty Foundation “Connecting Art Histories” initiative titled “Global and Postglobal Perspectives on Medieval Art and Art History.” While the essay engages with the particular challenges and satisfactions of teaching about medieval Sicily under Muslim rule (focusing on a tenth-century text about Palermo by Ibn Hawqal) and early medieval manuscript illumination (especially the Echternach Gospels of ca. 700), respectively, many of the lessons from one Chinese classroom are applicable to any context in which students are asked to grapple with unfamiliar textual and visual material. This teaching experience proved to be not only about communicating material, skills, and ideas to the students but also also an important reminder to the instructors about the need to be aware of, and to be willing to readjust, their own pedagogical and cultural assumptions.

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