We define "culture courses" with the following three components: content
(textual materials produced in different cultural forms including
poetry, fiction, film, and others), historical contexts in which
different cultural forms and texts developed and changed, and analytical
concepts and approaches.
We expect Chinese majors to acquire a general knowledge of major Chinese
cultural texts, genres, motifs, and issues in conjunction with their
historical contexts, and learn enough conceptual tools to analyze texts and
critically assess their implications. These general objectives are achieved
through the following means:
Course requirements for majors
Given the fact that Chinese is one of the longest continuous
civilizations, we believe it is necessary for students to acquire a general
knowledge and historical sense of some of the major cultural developments
and changes throughout the last three thousand years. Despite the fact that,
in North America, Chinese culture is often studied under the rubric of
“pre-modern” and “modern” periods, we encourage students to acquire a
general knowledge of cultural texts and issues produced from both. Even
though majors can choose to concentrate on either modern or pre-modern
period, regardless of their concentration, there are two required courses
for all Chinese majors: (1) classical Chinese literature and (2) a capstone
seminar course that deals with modern cultural issues. These two required
courses are meant to help Chinese majors to acquire an overall knowledge of
the essentials classical Chinese literature and culture, and to explore the
cultural debates carried out in the modern period regarding the social,
political, and historical implications of the changes in Chinese culture.
In addition to the required courses, majors are also required to take a
course on China in a related field including history, political science,
religion, and others.
Pedagogical objectives designed to foster critical thinking and
Acquire a broad knowledge of major Chinese cultural texts and the historical
contexts in which they are produced and received.
Skills in textual analysis. Such skills are developed in conjunction with
a study of basic analytical concepts and approaches, including knowledge of
(literary and cultural) genres, essential cultural motifs and their
historical evolution and mutation, critical concepts that challenge
students' (often) unquestioned assumptions about a culture as different as
that of Chinese.
Acquire enough knowledge to truly realize that far more remains to be
learned and studied regarding Chinese language and culture.