Chinese Department

中文系

Courses

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 is designed to build the skills of students who have studied at least one year of Chinese (or equivalent) to achieve intermediate-level proficiency in the oral and written use of the language through speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Emphasis in the course will be placed on learning to recognize and reproduce the natural flow of the spoken language, expanding vocabulary, and learning to write short essays in Chinese. Prerequisite: Chinese 110 or acceptance through placement test. Lecture-conference.

Chinese 311 - Third-Year Chinese

Full course for one semester. This course is designed for students who have completed at least two years of Chinese language (or equivalent). The course will focus on student acquisition of near-native fluency in spoken Chinese, competence in reading a variety of contemporary texts (with a dictionary), and employment of different registers and genres of Chinese in students’ writing. Prerequisite: Chinese 210 or acceptance through placement test. Conference.

Chinese 312 - Advanced Chinese

Full course for one semester. Topics vary, selected from Chinese literature, journalistic writing, essays, and contemporary prose. Readings and instruction in Chinese. Prerequisite: third-year level of Chinese proficiency or equivalent, or instructor approval. 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 325 - Songs to Lost Music: Ci-Poetry

Full course for one semester. This course investigates the rise and the development of ci-poetry, a genre related closely to music. Its formal features and their emotional qualities, major modes of expression, and different stages of its development from the ninth to the thirteenth century are the foci in the close reading of selected poems. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 325.

Chinese 327 - Chinese Inhumanities: Construction of the Other in Chinese Literature

Full course for one semester. This course explores the construction, preservation, and interrogation of class, race, and ethnicity within China’s literary traditions. Through reading and analysis of narratives treating its alleged “others”—uncultured barbarians from the territories that surround the middle kingdom; the myriad undead who haunt the living; shape-shifting animals who beguile, seduce, and love hapless humans; or individuals who transcend humanity through alchemy, physical and mental inhumanity, monstrosity, or posthuman existence—who are used to define and exclude communities, to express or explore cultural fears, anxieties, or doubts; and to reinforce or undermine belief in China’s cultural superiority. All readings in translation.Students taking the course for Chinese credit will meet for an additional hour of reading in the original language. Prerequisites: Chinese 210 or equivalent (for Chinese credit), and sophomore standing. May be repeated for credit. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 327.

Chinese 329 - Stranger Things in Medieval China

Full course for one semester. This course will introduce students to the “accounts of the strange” (zhiguai 志怪) and “tales of the extraordinary” (chuanqi 傳奇) produced in China between the fourth and tenth centuries. These narratives feature a rich cast of protagonists, from accomplished martial artists, demon-quelling monks, and hell-visiting filial sons to undead lovers, punitive deities, and shapeshifting animals and objects. In this course, students will explore what these works reveal about cultural fears, anxieties, and aspirations, the relationships between self and “Other,” the competing idea systems—Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism—that shaped their worldview, and the different realms—human, animal, natural, supernatural—that made up the world within which the inhabitants of medieval China lived. All readings in translation. An additional hour session of guided readings in the original will be offered for students taking the course for Chinese credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 329.

Not offered 2021–22.

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 or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 334.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 335 - Chineseness, Translated Modernity, and World Literature

Full course for one semester. If world literature is work that gains in translation (Damrosch), then modern Chinese literature, frequently a product of translingual practice, is gained in translation. Textual linkages have been established between Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 and Wu Jianren’s New Story of the Stone, Arthur Smith’s Chinese Characteristics and Lu Xun’s True Story of Ah Q, the Diary of a Madman in its Russian and Chinese iterations, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and the first modern Chinese love story, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Ding Ling’s Miss Sophie’s Diary, Sinclair’s The Jungle and Xiao Hong’s Hands, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Gao Xingjian’s Bus Stop. Whether these translated texts serve as conceptual or formal inspirations or interlocutions, our understanding of the Chinese literary modernity is inevitably transformed for the better when we redirect our critical attention to the dialogic nature of the modern Chinese literary enterprise and stay mindful of the fact that Chinese literary modernity has originated and thrived as a mode of reading, writing, and circulation that is fundamentally worldly in nature. Readings are in English. Students who take the course for Chinese credit meet for additional time to engage with select texts in the original. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 335.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 346 - From Allegories to Documentaries: Screening Postsocialist China

Full course for one semester. This course investigates interactions between literary production (focusing primarily on fiction) and filmmaking since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. Issues to be explored include the shared sociohistorical context that conditioned the production of these two cultural forms and the multivalent differences between them in terms of intended audience, narrative modes, and thematic concerns. 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 or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 346.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 347 - Modern Sinophone Fiction and Film

Full course for one semester. This course examines the rich corpus of modern Sinophone literary and cinematic works produced within and beyond China proper, highlighting the historical and cultural contexts of the literature and such issues as multiculturalism, complex identities, and global perspectives. Throughout this course, students will examine Sinophone literature and films of varied historical and geographical backgrounds and construct a critical understanding of the diverse Sinophone culture. An additional session of guided readings in the original text will be offered for students taking the course for Chinese credit. Prerequisite for Chinese credit: sophomore standing and Chinese 210 or equivalent. Prerequisite for literature credit: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 347.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 348 - Reading for Translation

Full course for one semester. This course examines theories of literary translation, including various ideas of equivalence, purposes, causes of uncertainty, and the formation of paradigms. Further, it will attempt to practice the theories, by exploring methods of reading particularly for translation and strategies of rendering such a reading into another language. A reading knowledge of Chinese is necessary. For exceptional cases, students with a reading knowledge of Japanese and Korean can be permitted to join the class. Prerequisite for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 348.

Not offered 2021–22.

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 BCE. 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.

Chinese 367 - Love in Late Imperial China

Full course for one semester. This course will examine representations of love and lovers in the literary and historical discourses of the fourteenth through nineteenth centuries. Approaching “love” (qing 情) through key words, conceptions, ideals, and acts with which it was associated, we will explore a number of questions, including: What kinds of behaviors or speech were coded as “romantic?” Were representations of “love” consistent across different discursive contexts (fictional, dramatic, poetic, historical)? Were literary representations of love seen as promoting positive ideals of romance and marriage or encouraging socially deviant and dangerous behaviors? We will also explore the discursive boundaries of love, places where words and deeds shift from love to desire, lust, madness, and obsession. Within what contexts were otherwise romantic words and deeds suddenly viewed as transgressive or disturbing? How did different forms of discourse (medical, legal) identify pathologies of love and/or propose to treat them? All readings in translation. An additional hour session of guided readings in the original will be offered for students taking the course for Chinese credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 367.

Chinese 374 - Reading Early Chinese Novels: The Four Masterworks

Full course for one semester. This course explores the development of the novel as an artistic literary form in late imperial China by introducing students to representative novels from the Ming dynasty (fourteenth through seventeenth century), particularly the “four masterworks” (四大奇書) including Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國志通俗演義), Outlaws of the Marsh (水滸傳), Journey to the West (西遊記), and Jin Ping Mei (金瓶梅). Through reading poetry, drama, short story, and commentary alongside selected chapters of the novels, we will discuss how these works creatively appropriate motifs, conventions, and character types from China’s long narrative tradition. Close textual analyses of the primary readings will be supplemented by critical and theoretical readings to support our interpretations and allow us to assess current scholarly approaches to the study of early modern Chinese fiction. We will also examine adaptations of these monumental novels in a variety of other literary genres and artistic media to appreciate their long-lasting cultural influences across East Asia. All readings are available in translation. Students taking the course for Chinese credit will meet for an additional hour of reading in the original language. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 374.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 380 - The Story of the Stone and the Chinese Literary Tradition

Full course for one semester. This course will approach the Chinese narrative tradition through close reading of The Story of the Stone and its literary antecedents. First published in 1792, The Story of the Stone recounts the experiences of a magical stone from heaven reborn as the male heir of the immensely wealthy and aristocratic Jia family. Through reading and discussion of poetry, drama, short story, and longer works of fiction from earlier periods alongside selected chapters from the novel, we will explore the ways in which The Story of the Stone self-consciously adapts literary conventions, techniques, and motifs from the narrative tradition, and learn to appreciate both China’s rich literary tradition and the unique artistic achievements of this novel. An additional hour of class of guided readings in the original will be offered for students taking the course for Chinese credit. Readings in English. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor; for students enrolling in Chinese credit, Chinese 210 or equivalent. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 380.

Not offered 2021–22.

Chinese 390 - Realism and Its Discontents in Contemporary Chinese Visual Media

Full course for one semester. With the opening up and economic reforms beginning in the late 1970s in China, a new aesthetic question confronted literature and the arts: what constitutes the real and what counts now as legitimate modes/means of its representation? While socialist realism was on the wane, realism continued to condition various forms of cultural production and took myriad guises—from an attempt at complete objectivity devoid of emotion to a complete dependence on subjectivity and affect for delivering a sense of the real; from drawing on the experiences of everyday life of individuals to the legendary feats of martial artists and utopian ideals of science fiction. This course grapples with these various interpretations of realism in modern and contemporary Chinese media, while reaching back in time to trace the precedents of these new forms that negotiate the blurry lines between truth and fiction, the objective and the subjective, the real and the fantastical. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference. Cross-listed as Art 390 and Literature 390.

Art 390 Description

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.