Chinese Course Descriptions

Chinese 110 - First-year Chinese

Full course for one year. A beginner’s course in standard (Mandarin) modern spoken and written Chinese, aimed at building a solid foundation in all its aspects: pronunciation (especially the tones), syntax, and basic vocabulary. Attention is given to a balanced development of all the basic skills of the language: listening and reading comprehension, speaking, and writing. Pinyin is the romanization system used in this and all other Chinese language courses. Both the traditional and simplified characters are taught. Students are expected to read both and write one of the two versions. Lecture-conference.

Chinese 210 - Second-year Chinese

Full course for one year. This course continues to build students’ basic skills and take them to intermediate-level proficiency. Prerequisite: Chinese 110 or acceptance through placement test. Lecture-conference.

Chinese 311 - Third-year Chinese

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to develop the four language skills to higher levels of proficiency. Particular emphasis is placed on reading and speaking. Greater facility in writing Chinese characters and competence in simple essay writing are the aims of written work in this course. Prerequisite: Chinese 210 or acceptance through placement test. Conference.

Chinese 316 - Classical Chinese

Full course for one semester. Intensive introduction to the grammar of classical Chinese through the study of selections from ancient literary, historical, and philosophical texts. Readings include the Analects, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Shiji, and Tang-Song prose essays. Conducted in Chinese. Prerequisite: Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference.

Chinese 324 - Genres of Memory in Medieval China

Full course for one semester. This course will examine how genres and generic conventions structured the construction and reception of memory (of place, event, or person) within Chinese literature of the 3rd through 10th centuries. Both primary and secondary materials are in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional tutoring to read parts of the texts in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 324. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 325 - Songs to Lost Music: Readings in Ci-Poetry

Full course for one semester. This course investigates the rise and the development of ci-poetry, a genre related closely to music. The formal features and their emotional qualities, major modes of expression, and different stages of its development from the 9th to 13th centuries are the foci in the close reading of selected poems. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 325.

Chinese 334 - The Yijing: Text and Tradition of the Book of Changes

Full course for one semester. The Yijing, or Book of Changes, is a text of limitless possibilities. This course explores various strategies of reading the text and examines philosophical, religious, historical, and literary critical implications of the text and the tradition associated with it. The system and the language of the 64 hexagrams and various layers of attached verbalization are the focus of investigation. Readings are in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional tutoring to read parts of the text in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 334.

Chinese 337 - Biopolitics and Modern Chinese Literature

Full course for one semester. This course explores literary realism in modern China as an interdisciplinary topic. We will examine how literary form presupposes a theory of life and why new modes of realism in modern fiction and pictorial representation should be reevaluated in light of the contemporaneous developments in biological science and philosophical inquiry. Both primary and secondary materials are in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional tutoring to read parts of the texts in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 337. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 346 - Avant-garde Fiction and Contemporary Chinese Cinema

Full course for one semester. This course investigates interactions between avant-garde writers and contemporary Chinese cinema since the 1980s. Issues to be explored include loss and gain through movie adaptation, representations of reality, and modes of narration. Through a comparative analysis of literary works and related movies, negotiation between individuality and conformity will be discussed in the context of a commercializing society. Readings are in translation, and films selected are subtitled in English. No Chinese language training is required. Readings in the original Chinese and additional instruction will be offered for students taking this course for Chinese credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 346. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 347 - Generations of Chinese Cinema

Full course for one semester. The course examines the growth of Chinese cinema in the hands of five “generations” of filmmakers and beyond, focusing on the development of aesthetics of Chinese film and the changing role of film as social commentary and cultural critique. Most of the films have English subtitles. Readings include film theory and materials specific to Chinese film. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 347. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 355 - Early Chinese Philosophical Texts

Full course for one semester. This course examines various philosophical discourses in the early period leading to the unification in 221 BC. It is a selective discussion of a few major philosophical texts and schools of thought. We investigate the predominant interest in human nature and cultivation, the epistemological models for understanding such emphases, and the implications of Chinese epistemology. Readings in translation. Students taking the course for Chinese credit will meet for additional hours for the guided reading of selected texts in the original Chinese. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 355. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 360 - The Social Life of Poetry in the Tang Dynasty (618–907)

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the role poetry played in Tang society, as well as how broader social changes—changing composition of the reading public, new technologies of writing, and developing economies of textual circulation—influenced the ways in which poetry was written, for whom, and with what aims. Both primary and secondary materials are in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional tutoring to read parts of the texts in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 360. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 378 - Chinese Mainland Women Writers since the 1980s

Full course for one semester. This course introduces representative women writers from mainland China since the 1980s with a focus on their projections of women’s image in conflict with either traditional values and expectations or official ideology. Their search for self and individuality will be discussed in the context of a fast-changing society in which Western influences find various expressions in and beyond literature. This course is a window toward a better understanding of Chinese women and Chinese culture. Readings in translation. Readings in the original Chinese and additional instruction will be offered for students taking this course for Chinese credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 378. Not offered 2008-09.

Chinese 380 - Narrative Traditions of China

Full course for one semester. This course surveys the narrative tradition in Chinese literature, including narrative poetry, storytelling, short story, and full-length narrative in the context of the narrative tradition in China. While primary emphasis is on the late imperial period that produced the monumental works Outlaws of the Marsh, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, and the Dream of the Red Chamber, works of earlier periods are introduced to show early stages of the development, formation of the source materials, and the continuity of the tradition.  Readings in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional tutoring to read parts of the text in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference.

Chinese 411 - Selected Readings and Essay Writing

Full course for one semester. This is an advanced-level Chinese language course aimed at further developing reading knowledge and writing skills. All reading texts are unadapted originals in 20th-century Chinese literature. Regular exercises in narrative and expository writing. Conducted in Chinese. Prerequisite: Chinese 311, 316, or equivalent. Conference.

Chinese 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

Chinese 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.




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