Fall 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Every American college student has read a large number of Western stories. This course brings a change. It provides an opportunity to read masterpieces of classical Chinese stories, which are distinctly different from both Western stories and modern Chinese stories in subject matter, theme, style, and writing technique. We will read a whole collection of stories with themes ranging from war, martial art, heroism, love, friendship, and the supernatural to ghosts, demons, knight-errant, thieves, detectives, and judges. While reading these fantastic tales, we have multiple aims in mind: 1) to gain knowledge about the structure and operations of traditional Chinese society; 2) to understand how traditional ways of life are related to modern Chinese culture; and 3) to appreciate Chinese narrative art in relation to Western storytelling. Our principal objective, however, focuses on what makes a good story, how to read it critically and thoughtfully, and how to develop analytical, communicative, and writing skills. All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese language and culture is required.
1) Y.W. Ma and Joseph S.M. Lau, eds., Traditional Chinese Stories: Themes and Variations..
2) Cao Xueqin, The Story of the Stone, vol 1, translated by David Hawkes (Harmondworth, UK: Penguin Books).
3) Some electronic handouts.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
1) Two presentations with summaries 10%
2) 1 guided essay at midterm 20%
3) 1 term paper 25%
4) 7 eight-minute quizzes (one lowest score can be dropped) 30%
5) A one-page report on a cultural event 5%
6) Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%