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Courses

Chinese Course Descriptions


Language Courses

Language holds the key to knowing people and culture. Of the 6 levels of classes offered, those up to the 4th year meet 4 hours a week in three sessions, while levels 5 and 6 meet 3 hours a week in two sessions. The 2-credit intensive elementary or intermediate class meets 7 hours a week in 6 sessions. Spoken Chinese is stressed in the 1st year, with focus on basic sentence patterns. Writing is given more emphasis in the second year, alongside reading, grammar and vocabulary expansion. 3rd year courses, conducted mainly in Chinese, focus on contemporary readings and in-class discussions. 4th year courses, conducted in Chinese, emphasize reading and writing skills, while also working on speaking and translating skills. 5th year courses cover topics on various aspects of Chinese culture. 6th year offerings include 4 special topics: Newspaper Readings, Business Chinese, Reading Short Stories, and Practical Writing.

Since language provides insight into ways of thought, feeling and perception at the root of culture, we encourage all with even a little curiosity about Chinese to take whatever their schedules allow, and give credit for 1 semester of study. Students with a serious interest in the language should begin as early as possible, especially if planning to spend a semester or a year abroad, since they need 3 years of college level Chinese in order to make the most of their overseas study. Taking intensive Chinese in the first year is the surest route.

1, 2 Elementary Chinese
Active command of both oral and written Chinese stressed; emphasis on pronunciation and conversation, pinyin and characters, basic vocabulary and structures. Supplemented by laboratory drills. No prerequisites.

1-2 Intensive Elementary Chinese
Combines Chinese 1 and 2 into one semester. Followed by Chinese 3-4, this intensive course allows the student to begin third-year Chinese (Chinese 21) after only one year of study. Designed for those who want to move faster. Meets every day. Two credits. No prerequisites.

3, 4 Intermediate Chinese
Continuation of Chinese 1, 2. Emphasis on basic vocabulary and structures, conversation, reading, and writing. Supplemented by laboratory drills. Prerequisite: Chinese 2 or equivalent.

3-4 Intensive Intermediate Chinese
Continuation of Chinese 1-2. Combining Chinese 3 and 4 into one semester, this course is designed for those who want to move faster. Meets every day. Two credits. Prerequisite: Chinese 2, 1-2, or equivalent.

21, 22 Reading and Conversation
Designed for students with the equivalent of two years of college Chinese. In addition to further vocabulary development, grammar review, and reading of contemporary prose essays, skills in conversation, translation, and composition are also stressed. Conducted mainly in Chinese. Supplemented by laboratory drills. Prerequisite: Chinese 4 or equivalent.

121, 122 Advanced Chinese I and II
Designed for students with the equivalent of three years of college Chinese. Intensive practice in speaking, reading, writing, and translating. Emphasis on contemporary materials dealing with cultural topics. Conducted in Chinese. Supplemented by laboratory drills. Prerequisite: Chinese 22 or equivalent.

123, 124 Advanced Readings in Chinese Culture
Discussion of current social, political, economic and cultural issues, with emphasis on vocabulary, structures, and styles. Equal emphasis on oral and written skills. Class conducted in Chinese. Three hours per week in 2 sessions. Prerequisite: Chinese 122 or equivalent.

125 Newspaper Readings
Introduction to the language of Chinese media, including newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the internet. Covers both the content of the selected materials and the linguistic characteristics of the language: its structures, vocabulary and style. Emphasis on improved reading comprehension through the study, analysis and discussion of a wide range of topics in the Chinese media.  Prerequisite: Chinese 124 or equivalent.

126 Business Chinese
Advanced Chinese course for those interested in contemporary Chinese business communications. Covers various types of authentic business-related language materials, both oral and written. Emphasis on cultural and linguistic aspects of the Chinese business communications. Objectives include a better understanding of the business world in China, its practices and trends, as well as development of language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  Prerequisite: Chinese 124 or equivalent.

127 Reading Short Stories
Advanced Chinese language course designed to develop reading skills and appreciation of short stories by Chinese writers, from the early 20th century to present. Both cultural and linguistic aspects covered, with emphasis on grammar, diction and style. Training in composition and oral presentations also included.  Prerequisite: Chinese 124 or equivalent.

128 Practical Writing
Introductory course in practical writing for students of advanced Chinese. Covers various forms of basic personal, administrative and business writings. May include official notices and stipulations, business proposals and contracts, documents related to lawsuits and litigations, and personal letters of invitations and congratulations. Emphasis on linguistic features of the materials: vocabulary, syntactic structure and style.
Prerequisite: Chinese 124 or equivalent.

Advanced Placement; Transfer Credit
Students who know Chinese may arrange for advanced placement. Those who have taken college-level Chinese may arrange for credit transfer.


Linguistics (in English)

Courses in Chinese linguistics provide a systematic study on various aspects of the Chinese Language.

52 Chinese Characters
Explores historical, cultural, and linguistic aspects of Chinese characters. Provides a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Chinese characters, which enables students to expand their vocabulary in Chinese systematically and efficiently. Major topics include origins and evolution of Chinese characters, characters and culture, character structure and components, IT application, and pedagogy. Emphasis on application of knowledge to actual studies of characters. Prerequisite: Chinese 3 or equivalent.


Literature and Culture (in English)

China represents the world's most richly documented civilization and literary tradition. We offer 5 survey and topical courses covering 3000 years of literature, integrated with 3 courses in civilization and intellectual history. Taught with a comparative dimension, they provide students with the experience of knowing a different culture, while stimulating rethinking of aspects of one's own culture that often escape notice.

As the courses assume no knowledge of Chinese culture or language, they are suitable for all – China specialists or otherwise. Those with primary linguistic goals are encouraged to go beyond them, for language learning is a much more inspired experience when coupled with a study of culture and literature. For Chinese American students, the courses will enable them to explore their cultural roots beyond the historical and political reversals of 20th-century China, to understand better the traditional values that integrate into their lives in America.

61 Classical Chinese Literature
Introduction to source materials and major genres and writers of the classical period, from 800 B.C.E. to the nineteenth century, with special emphasis on recurrent themes, generic developments, aesthetics, and cultural and historical contexts. Readings include selections from The Book of Poetry, Songs of the South; early historical narratives; Han rhyme-prose and folk ballads; Six Dynasties nature poetry and protofiction; Tang-Song poetry, lyrics, and short stories; Yuan songs and drama; and Ming-Qing novels. (May be taken at 100 level with consent.) Members of the program

62 Major Modern Chinese Writers
A full understanding of modern China cannot be achieved without a sufficient knowledge and understanding of modern Chinese literature. A survey of major modern authors and their works from the late 19th century to the present. Examines issues of major concern manifested via literature including the conflicting sense of the modern self, search for national identity, and conflicts between traditional and modern cultural values. Explores political, historical, sociocultural, and artistic implications in relation to the complexity of modern China. (May be taken at 100 level with consent.) Zhong

70 Introduction to Chinese Popular Culture
A survey of modern and contemporary Chinese popular culture including popular fiction, film, television, music, and the internet. Offers a rare opportunity for students to study and examine a range of Chinese popular cultural forms and texts, specifically their content, production, reception, and social and political implications within specific historical contexts. (May be taken at 100 level with consent.) Zhong

72 Martial Arts in Chinese Literature and Film
Introduction to the genre of martial arts fantasy (wu xia) that prevails in Chinese popular culture, covering both traditional materials and modern literature and films. Related issues including gender, power, violence, justice, nationalism, and globalization will be discussed. No prerequisites.

73 Readings in Chinese Poetry
Introduction to the tradition of Chinese poetry with a focus on the masterworks of the Tang and Song dynasties. Students will be exposed to readings in Chinese. Taught in English. No prerequisites.

76 The Chinese Ghost Story
The forms and uses of the ghost story in classical Chinese cosmographic, philosophical, historiographic, and literary traditions from the third century B.C. to the eighteenth century. Special emphasis on the poetics and politics of the ghost story in classical Chinese moral, political, and literary discourses. No prerequisites. Taught in English. Members of the program

78 Youth and Culture in Modern China
How "youth" came to be conceptualized in modern China and for what reasons. Reading, watching, and discussing modern Chinese fiction, poetry, essays, film, and scholarly writings. How, as a modern political, social, and cultural category, youth has played a unique role in China's quest for modernization. Members of the department

79 Women and Gender in Modern Chinese Culture
Discussion from a gendered perspective of cultural texts—film, TV, fiction, non-fiction—produced since the early 20th century. Questions to explore include: What major women's and gender issues have confronted modern China? Why have women and gender issues constituted an intrinsic part of modern Chinese history? How do they change and evolve over time and why? How to understand modern Chinese responses to the changes?

80 Introduction to Chinese Cinema
Evolution of Chinese film from its inception to the present and how cinematic changes reflect social, cultural, and political changes. Major film directors and cinematic styles and techniques they employed and different subject matters that have preoccupied them. Relationships between Chinese film and politics, social-cultural changes, Hollywood, and the unresolved issues of modernity. No prerequisites. Zhong

81 New Chinese Cinema
A comparative exploration of films made in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the PRC in recent decades. Examination of how political, economic, and ideological contexts affect filmmaking in these different "Chinese" regions; how these differences help demonstrate diversities, specificities, contradictions, as well as interactions within and between these Chinese communities. No prerequisites. Zhong

82 Rural & Urban China Through Cinema
Focusing on Chinese films set in urban, rural, and rural-to-urban settings, explores the cinematic representations capture the economic-social-cultural differences and changes in modern China. Why do many good Chinese films focus on urban-rural issues? Explore their social and historical reasons and contexts in relation to the changing dynamics in rural and urban China as well as in filmic representations.

101 Foundations of Chinese Thought
The golden age of Chinese philosophy (500-200 B.C.), with special emphasis on the major schools that established the foundations of Chinese thought: Confucianism, Daoism, Moism, School of Names, Legalism, and Yin-Yang philosophy. Issues such as basic orientations of Chinese thought vis-a-vis Western philosophy and the relevance of ancient Chinese thought to the contemporary world will also be discussed. Members of the program

111 Cultural Perspectives on Chinese Literature
Major aspects of traditional Chinese culture via texts in poetry, prose, philosophy, fiction, and drama. Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist world views and ideals of life as expressed in literature; cultural heroes; voices of women and the common people; the literati's quest for cultural identity; reclusion and utopianism; man and nature; attitudes toward love, family, war, time, and death; comparison with Western perspectives. No prerequisites.
Members of the program

161 Classical Chinese Literature
Introduction to source materials and major genres and writers of the classical period, from 800 B.C.E. to the nineteenth century, with special emphasis on recurrent themes, generic developments, aesthetics, and cultural and historical contexts. Readings include selections from The Book of Poetry, Songs of the South; early historical narratives; Han rhyme-prose and folk ballads; Six Dynasties nature poetry and protofiction; Tang-Song poetry, lyrics, and short stories; Yuan songs and drama; and Ming-Qing novels. Additional readings in Chinese and extra class meetings. (Also offered as lower-level.)

162 Major Modern Chinese Writers
See Description for CHNS 62. For CHNS 162, additional work will include reading/watching materialstexts and criticisms-in the original language, writing responses to these materials, writing longer papers.

170 Introduction to Chinese Popular Culture
See description of Chinese 70. For Chinese 170, additional work will include reading/watching materialstexts and criticisms-in the original language, writing responses to these materials, writing longer papers.


Special Topics and Directed Studies

91, 92 Special Topics
Selected topics in literature and culture. In English. Members of the program

93, 94 Directed Study
Guided independent study in Chinese language. Prior consent of instructor is required. Members of the program

191, 192 Special Topics
Courses and seminars for advanced students. Members of the program

193, 194 Advanced Directed Study
Guided independent study in Chinese language, literature, and culture. Prior consent of instructor is required. Members of the program

198, 199 Senior Honors Thesis
See Thesis Honors Program for details.


Summer Course Offering

Tufts University is offering online courses for Chinese 1 and Chinese 2 during its summer sessions: Chinese 1 during the first summer session, and Chinese 2 during the second summer session.

Online learning is a great way to take a course when you are away from campus. The course is open 24x7 and there are also plenty of opportunities to interact with your instructor and classmates. In addition to the textbook and workbook, we have also prepared supplemental online course materials, which correspond to key points in the textbook and exercises in the workbook. Furthermore, we will hold two mandatory live sessions each week through WebEx, a software program which enables us to interact with one another as in a traditional classroom setting.

Chinese 1 and Chinese 2 are the first and the second semester of Chinese respectively at the college level. Students who successfully complete these courses can take Chinese 3 in the fall.

Chinese 2 is also appropriate for people who wish to brush up their basic conversational skills in Chinese.

For additional information, please visit the following links:

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