Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
China in Fiction and Film
This course combines film viewing and fiction reading as a way to introduce contemporary Chinese culture and society. Many Chinese films produced in the period from the 1980s to the beginning of the twenty-first century are based on fictional works. The adaptation for the screen does not simply entail a change in media; it reveals an array of cultural and aesthetic issues that range from producersâ€™ motives and the tastes of cinema-goers to the changes in Chinese society and the geopolitical changes in the larger context of globalization. By viewing a series of Chinese films in relation to the fictional works from which films were adapted, the course aims to provide a window for students to glimpse the gigantic scale of transformations in contemporary Chinese culture and society and to contemplate the interrelations of such issues as tradition and modernity, high culture and popular art, individual passions and social constraints, gender and sexuality, identity and ethnicity, censorship and freedom of expression, national cinematic style and transnational capitalism, and last but not least, the shift in perception and its effects due to media change. All the Chinese films have English sub-titles and all readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese language and culture is required.
1. Mo Yan, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China (Penguin, 1994).
2. Yu Hua, To Live: A Novel (Anchor, 2003).
3. Eileen Chang, Lust, Caution: The Story (New York: Anchor Books, 2007).
4. Dai Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (New York: Anchor Books, 2002).
5. Lilian Lee, Farewell My Concubine (New York: Harper Perenial, 1994).
6. Some handouts of shorter fictional works and critical writings
7. 10 Chinese films (provided by the instructor and to be shown in class).
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
1. 7 brief in-class quizzes (one low score quiz can be dropped) 30%
2. One mid-term paper 25%
3. One final exam 30%
4. A 1-page report on a designated event 5%
5. Attendance and Participation 10%