Fall 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course introduces fundamental aspects of Chinese culture. “Culture” is one of the few most complicated words in English. This course adopts its two basic meanings: Matthew Arnold’s notion of "the best that has been thought and said” and Raymond Williams’s conception of “a whole way of life.” Since Chinese culture is too enormous a subject to be adequately covered in a single semester course, the two meanings of culture will serve as the guiding principle for selecting course materials and structuring the course organization. The main aim of the course is to acquire a basic knowledge of Chinese history, thought, religions, politics, economics, language, literature, arts, people, society, and general ways of life. In addition to a widely used textbook and selected readings, students are required to view in class a sizable number of videos on aspects of high culture pertaining to literature, philosophy and fine arts, and aspects of popular culture covering daily life, religious activities, festivals, customs, costumes, cuisines, historical sites, traditional medicine, martial arts, and folk art. Characterized by an ample use of power-point presentations and audio-visual materials, the course has no prerequisites.
1. Patricia Buckley Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
2. A score of videos on aspects of Chinese culture to be viewed in class.
3. A Course Pack containing electronic handouts of short literary works and excerpts of Chinese literature, thought and religion to be distributed by the instructor.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
The course will be conducted through a mixture of lectures, instructor-led discussions, and film/video viewing. Regular attendance and participation in the classroom activities are required of all students. Students are expected to read the assigned materials before coming to class, take a series of brief in-class quizzes, which cover the course content, and have one mid-term exam and a final exam. The grading is based on the following:
1. 4 in-class quizzes 40%
2. One mid-term exam: 20%
3. One final exam: 25%
4. Two reports on cultural events (one designated): 5%
5. Attendance and Participation: 10%