BA Spanish and Chinese / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Introduction to Chinese Studies

Unit code CHIN10050
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Chinese Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course is designed to provide students with a general introduction to the field of Chinese Studies and with the essential China-related knowledge and understanding they will need in the course of their undergraduate degree and beyond. Team-taught and multidisciplinary by design, the course is structured around six units: (i) geography and history; (ii) media and culture; (iii) society; (iv) politics; (v) economy; and (vi) future trends. Intentionally broad in its focus, this course provides students with a solid foundation in the field of Chinese Studies, allowing them to benefit from the expertise and teaching styles of a range of lecturers from across different disciplines and preparing them for further study in years two and three.

Aims

On successful completion of this course unit, students will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • The history and geography of mainland China and how these have shaped the country and its peoples
  • Cultural achievements and developments, from past literati culture(s) to contemporary popular media and cultures
  • The structure of Chinese societies, the roles of individuals, families, and larger communities, etc.
  • The (historical) role politics has played and continues to play in the shaping of Chinese societies
  • The transformations wrought upon the Chinese economy over the course of the 20th century and into the new millennium
  • Trends in culture, society, politics, economy and their interconnected roles in opening the door(s) to China’s future(s)
  • The diversity of China and Chinese-speaking communities around the world

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the main parameters of Chinese Studies in both the humanities and the social sciences
  • Identify and use, with a high degree of confidence, key concepts in Chinese Studies
  • Critically engage with a variety of secondary literature in the field of Chinese Studies
  • Approach undergraduate-level coursework with an appropriate level of skill and analytical sophistication

Syllabus

SEMESTER ONE (1)

Week 1: Introductory lecture

  • The field of Chinese Studies
  • The Chinese language
  • Study skills—note –taking skills

Week 2: Geography and History I

  • The uniting of China
  • Study skills—critical reading skills: SQ3R reading strategy

Week 3: Geography and History II

  • Confucius
  • Study skills: critical engagement with a source, reading Kam Louie’s “Confucius the Chameleon”

Week 4: Geography and History III

  • The Boxer Uprising
  • Study skills—university essay structure

Week 5: Geography and History IV

  • The Chinese Enlightenment
  • Study skills—the importance of paraphrasing and summarizing

Week 6: Reading Week—NO CLASS

Week 7: Geography and History

  • History and China’s revolution
  • Study skills—referencing/citation systems; avoiding plagiarism

Week 8: Society I

  • Family and household

Week 9: Society II

  • Gender and sexuality
  • Study skills—peer review

Week 10: Society III

  • Ethnicity

Week 11: Society IV

  • Religious movements and contemporary society

Week 12: Semester Recap; discuss end of term essay

_______________________________________________________________________________________

SEMESTER TWO (2)

Week 1: Media and Culture I

  • Traditional Chinese culture and thought

Week 2: Media and Culture II

  • The birth of modern Chinese culture

Week 3: Media and Culture III

  • The Yan’an Way and culture as propaganda

Week 4: Media and Culture IV

  • Rock and pop in the 1980s and beyond

Week 5: Media and Culture V

  • China’s internet “revolution”

Week 6: Politics I

  • The rise of Chinese nationalism in post-1949

Week 7: Politics II

  • The virus of corruption

Week 8: Economy I

  • From a planned to a market economy

Week 9: Economy II

  • Rural-urban divide: economic disparities in China

 

Week 10: Future Trends I

  • The “fifth” modernization

Week 11: Future Trends II

  • Round-table Discussion: problematizing the future (all lecturers in attendance)
  • Exam preparation and revision

Study skills—taking essay tests

Teaching and learning methods

This module employs lectures, seminars, focused reading and discussion, Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand and engage critically with different aspects of Chinese history and geography
  • Understand and engage critically with different modes and media of Chinese culture
  • Understand and engage critically with different forms of Chinese politics
  • Understand and engage critically with different aspects affecting economic development in China
  • Understand and engage critically with the concept of “Chineseness” and different understandings of “China”

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Think critically and engage in well-informed discussions
  • Critically engage with a variety of secondary literature from across different disciplines
  • Construct coherent, persuasive and well-supported arguments in writing
  • Process and understand complicated concepts in the field of Chinese Studies

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Manage time and work to deadlines
  • Apply critical reading skills
  • Assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others
  • Present information, ideas and arguments, orally and in writing, with due regard to the target audience
  • Demonstrate skills of analysis

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Express themselves with confidence
  • Manage time and work to deadlines
  • Apply critical reading skills
  • Assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others
  • Present information, ideas and arguments, orally and in writing, with due regard to the target audience
  • Demonstrate skills of analysis

Assessment methods

 

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

  1. Essay (due at the end of semester 1, Week 12)
  1. 2000 words
  1. 30%
  1. Final exam (scheduled during exam period at the end of semester 2)
  1. Two hour exam
  1. 60%
  1. Attendance and participation (attendance taken each week; participation in whole class and group discussions monitored by lecturers)
  1. N/A
  1. 10%

 

Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on in-class activities
  • Written feedback on essay
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

Required Textbook:

  1. Buoye, Thomas, et.al. (eds.) China: Adapting the Past, Confronting the Future. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2002.

Recommended:

  1. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd Edition. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  2. Spence, Jonathan. The Search for Modern China, 3rd Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
  3. Wilkinson, Endymion. Chinese History: A New Manual, 3rd Edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013.
  4. Kam Louie (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 178

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gregory Scott Unit coordinator
Christopher Payne Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
This is a year-long module.

Timetable
Taught during: Semesters 1 & 2

Office hours: The module convenor will be available during his two weekly office hours  and at other times by appointment. Lecturers are also available during their weekly office hours and at other times by appointment (see individual lecturers for details).

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