Chinese Language and Literature Courses

This course is the first semester in a year-long sequence that introduces the basic grammatical structures and core vocabulary of literary Chinese, also commonly known as "classical Chinese". During this semester, students will focus on reading excerpts from prose works of the Warring States period (fifth to third centuries BCE). The primary goal of the course is to develop reading skills in classical Chinese texts; at the same time, however, students will develop familiarity with some of the historical and cultural contexts in which these texts took shape. Prerequisites: Chinese 10B is recommended.

Chinese cities are the sites of complicated global/local interconnections as the nation is increasingly incorporated into the world system. Understanding Chinese cities is the key to analyzing the dramatic transformation of Chinese society and culture. This course is designed to teach students to think about Chinese cities in more textured ways. How are urban forms and urban spaces produced through processes of social, political, and ideological conflict? How are cities represented in literary, cinematic, and various popular cultures? How has our imagination of the city been shaped and how are these spatial discourses influencing the making of the cities of tomorrow?  Prerequisites: Chinese 100A, Chinese 100XA, Chinese 100YA (may be taken concurrently); or consent of instructor.

This course introduces the history of traditional Chinese drama from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, covering important works from a wide range of genres (farcical, religious, detective, martial arts, historical, and romantic). We study Chinese theater in the context of pleasure precincts, ad hoc markets, ritual parades, and printed matter. The underlying questions we ask are: how did different kinds of spatial structure historically define performance? And how did these varied spatial configurations orient the relationship of the audience to the performance differently? And what general implications did the theatrical space have for the constitution of the self and for social formation in medieval and early modern China? Prerequisites: None.

This course is an introduction to media culture in 20th-century China, with an emphasis on photography, cinema, and popular music. The course places these productions in historical and cultural context, examining the complex intertwinement of culture, technology, and politics in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from the turn of the last century to the beginning of the 21st. Students will also be introduced to a number of approaches to thinking about and analyzing popular cultural phenomena. Prerequisites: None.

In this course, we examine Chinese paintings within the collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and read selected texts of the fiction and drama of the late-imperial period  to think about the potential structures of relation between interiority and the object. We will engage in private viewing of the paintings of Wen Zhengming, Shen Shi, Chen Guan, Sheng Maoye, Zhang Zheng and others.   Our questions might include:  How is a sense of interiority created or reinforced?  Where is interiority located? What, in fact, are we speaking about when we invoke either “interiority” or the “object”? How might the museum itself be a liminal space that could influence our understanding of such questions?  We will examine the “nonhuman turn” of recent posthumanist inquiry as well as the concern in the literature of the Ming and Qing regarding the confines and limitations of the notion of the “I.” With the instructors, students will curate an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum to be mounted from February through April 2018.  The text of the wall labels and the program guide will be drawn from students'  journal entries and papers, and students will make decisions regarding the underlying logic of the exhibition.