CHIN 420
Masterpieces in Modern Chinese Literature Spring 2020
Division I
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Class Details

“To modernize the Chinese people, it has to start from the modernization of the genre ‘novel’.” Liang Qichao, the famous Chinese intellectual in the early twentieth century, envisioned a collapsing China to be salvaged by, first, its modernized literature. Indeed, throughout China’s long century of struggle, exploration, and transformation, literature has been playing a crucial role in negotiating (the consequence of) modernity, fueling revolution, investigating human interiority, constructing national identity, and coping with trauma and diaspora. This course introduces students to the masterpieces in modern Chinese literature and their representations of critical events in twentieth-century Chinese history. In this course, we will focus on the genre “novel” and pay close attention to the language and literary devices that the authors use for storytelling, characterization, and self-representation. The class is organized by themes, such as, for example, modernity, revolution, diaspora, root-seeking, trauma, science fiction and so on. Through class discussions, writing assignments, and oral presentation on the final project, this course will further develop students’ language proficiency, especially reading ability and effective communication in a formal setting. This course also trains students to be a critical reader who will be able to not only analyze the key moments and literary masterworks of modern China but also reflect on the complexity of Chinese culture vis-à-vis its tradition and the global context. The course is conducted in Mandarin.
The Class: Format: lecture; discussion
Limit: none
Expected: 12
Class#: 3415
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, presentations, quizzes, discussion questions posting, 3 writing assignments, final project
Prerequisites: CHIN 402 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division I

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