Chinese

Alexei K. Ditter

Classical Chinese literature, prose and narrative theories, Chinese literary history.

Jing Jiang

Modern Chinese literature, translation theory, postcolonial theory. On leave 2008-09.

Hyong G. Rhew

Classical Chinese literature, Chinese literary theory, Chinese intellectual history, Korean literature.

The Chinese department offers courses that provide training in the Chinese language and in the critical appreciation of Chinese literature, both classical and modern.

Language instruction in the first two years emphasizes a solid grounding in the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. A third year of Chinese brings students to a level where they can begin reading simple unedited original texts with the help of a dictionary. A semester course in classical Chinese is also offered to third-year-level students so that they will be able to read classical texts in the original. Another semester course in the fourth year completes the cycle of Chinese language training at the undergraduate level.

The literature offerings, which may be taken as Chinese or literature courses, are designed to provide students with opportunities to read with critical insight all the major genres of Chinese literature in the historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts of the relevant texts. The courses are taught in English, using texts in translation. Additional conference hours may be arranged for students wishing to read the original texts. Courses in related subjects such as Chinese intellectual history and Chinese linguistics are also offered.

The department participates in the interdisciplinary humanities course Foundations of Chinese Civilization, which is a required course for Chinese majors. A description of the course can be found in the humanities section of this catalog.

The Chinese House, a residence hall, is the center of extracurricular activities for students interested in Chinese culture. The resident Chinese language scholar offers tutoring, conversation sessions, and other assistance to students taking Chinese.

Study Abroad

The importance of a period of total immersion in a target-language environment cannot be overemphasized for learners of Chinese. Chinese majors are strongly encouraged to apply to Reed-sponsored study programs in China. The Chinese department assists in the arrangement of such study trips and assesses the transcripts brought back from overseas for credit transfer.

Prerequisites for the Major


Students who wish to major in Chinese must have at least second-year language proficiency.

Requirements for the Major

  1. A minimum of five units at the 300 and 400 levels, including one unit of third-year Chinese, one unit of classical Chinese, and one unit of either classical Chinese literature or modern and contemporary Chinese literature.
  2. Humanities 230—Foundations of Chinese Civilization.
  3. A minimum of one unit in Chinese history, Chinese art history, Chinese anthropology, or Chinese religious thought, to be taken in the relevant departments.
  4. Chinese 470—thesis.
Recommended but not required:
  1. An additional unit in Chinese history, Chinese art history, Chinese anthropology, or Chinese religious thought.
  2. Religion 157—The Idea Systems of Chinese Religions.
  3. Any other Asia-related course that the college may offer.

Chinese Course Descriptions



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