Chinese Language and Literature Courses

This course is designed for students who are of non-Chinese origin and were not raised in a Chinese-speaking environment; or who are of Chinese origin but do not speak Chinese and whose parents do not speak Chinese. The course develops beginning learners’ functional language ability—the ability to use Mandarin Chinese in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways at the beginning level. It helps students acquire communicative competence in Chinese while sensitizing them to the links between language and culture. Prerequisites: None.

Chinese 7B is the second semester in a year long sequence introducing students to the literatures and cultures of China. We will read many of the major authors, works, and literary genres from the Yuan Dynasty to modern times, and place these writings in their historical, cultural, and material contexts.  This course does not assume or require any previous exposure to or coursework in Chinese literature, history, or language. This semester we will pay particular attention to the emergence of vibrant new urban and vernacular cultures in the late imperial period and their relation with classical traditions and literati culture, as well the revolutionary cultural transformations of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The course will both survey the literary and cultural topography that every serious student of China ought to know, while at the same time developing the critical reading and writing skills necessary to traverse and imaginatively engage with that historical terrain. Prerequisites:  The Chinese 7AB series is required of all Chinese majors. Chinese 7A is recommended, but not required, as a prerequisite for Chinese 7B. All readings are in English translation.  Students who are conversant in Chinese are encouraged to read original texts whenever possible. 

The course further develops students’ linguistic and cultural competence. In dealing with texts, students are guided to interpret, narrate, describe, and discuss topics ranging from real-life experience and personal memoire to historic events. Intercultural competence is promoted through linguistic and cultural awareness and language use in culturally appropriate contexts. Prerequisites: Chinese 10A; or consent of instructor.

The course continues to develop students’ literacy and communicative competence through vocabulary and structure expansion dealing with topics related to Chinese heritage students’ personal experiences. Students are guided to express themselves on complex issues and to connect their language knowledge with real world experiences. Prerequisites: Chinese 1X; or consent of instructor.

The course helps students further develop their linguistic and cultural competence in Mandarin Chinese. It trains students to use Mandarin more appropriately and confidently in speaking, reading, and writing. With the expanded repertoire of Chinese language use and the increased awareness of the differences between cultures and subcultures, students are equipped to negotiate their way in an intercultural environment. Prerequisites: Chinese 1Y; or consent of instructor.

The course continues the development of critical awareness by emphasizing the link between socio-cultural literacy and a higher level of language competence. While continuing to expand their critical literacy skills, students interpret texts related to Chinese popular culture, social change, cultural traditions, politics and history. Through linguistic and cultural comparisons, students understand more about people in the target society and themselves as well as about the power of language in language use to enhance their competence in operating between languages and associated cultures. Prerequisites: Chinese 100A; or consent of instructor.

Advanced Chinese 100XB is designed for Chinese heritage language learners who have taken Chinese 100XA or an equivalent course. It guides learners to use their Chinese language knowledge and skills to survey portions of Chinese history and society and to comprehend Chinese cultural heritage in economic and socio-political contexts. Students read and analyze texts discussing cross-strait relations, Chinese people’s basic living necessities, and their changing lifestyles and mindsets since the economic reforms in mainland China. They are also introduced to several important historical figures in modern Chinese history and to modern literary works. In addition to the continuous development of reading techniques for communicative purposes, critical reading skills in the heritage language are also developed in order to interpret subtle meanings in texts. Different styles and genres of Chinese discourses in speaking and writing are further explored along with an increasingly sophisticated vocabulary, phrases, and structures. Moreover, students are required to be able to read both simplified and traditional versions of Chinese characters. The development of critical reading and writing skills enables students to understand more about people in the target culture and themselves, about what determines values and actions, and about the power of language. Prerequisites: Chinese 100XA; or consent of instructor.

Advanced Chinese 100YB is designed for Chinese heritage language learners who have taken Chinese 100YA or an equivalent course. It guides learners to use their Chinese language knowledge and skills to survey portions of Chinese history and society and to comprehend Chinese cultural heritage in economic and socio-political contexts. Students read and analyze texts discussing cross-strait relations, Chinese people’s basic living necessities, and their changing lifestyles and mindsets since the economic reforms in mainland China. They are also introduced to several important historical figures in modern Chinese history and to modern literary works. In addition to the continuous development of reading techniques for communicative purposes, critical reading skills in the heritage language are also developed in order to interpret subtle meanings in texts. Different styles and genres of Chinese discourses in speaking and writing are further explored along with an increasingly sophisticated vocabulary, phrases, and structures. Moreover, students are required to be able to read both simplified and traditional versions of Chinese characters. The development of critical reading and writing skills enables students to understand more about people in the target culture and themselves, about what determines values and actions, and about the power of language. Prerequisites: Chinese 100YA; or consent of instructor.

The course is designed to assist students to reach the advanced-mid level on language skills and to enhance their intercultural competence. Students read the works of famous Chinese writers. Movie adaptations of these writings are also used. In addition to reading and seeking out information, students experience readings by interpreting and constructing meanings and evaluate the effect of the language form choice. Prerequisites: Chinese 100B or Chinese 100XB; or consent of instructor.

Continuation of Chinese 110A. Reading and analysis of a variety of classical Chinese prose texts (focusing this semester on early historical writing), highlighting basic grammatical and rhetorical features of the language. On completing this course, students should have mastered all essential grammatical and syntactic features of the classical language, core vocabulary, as well as basic skills in the use of the relevant reference tools, and be fully prepared for upper-division classical literature courses as well as broader reading in a variety of literary Chinese genres. Prerequisites: Chinese 110A; or consent of instructor.

This fast-paced course is designed to help the student reach an advanced-high competence level in all aspects of modern Chinese. It prepares students for research or employment in a variety of China-related fields. Materials are drawn from native-speaker target publications, including modern living philosophies, film, intellectual history, and readings on contemporary issues. Texts are selected according to the students’ interests. Under the instructor’s guidance, students conduct their own research projects based on specialized readings in their own fields of study. Research projects are presented both orally and in written form. Prerequisites: Chinese 101 and Chinese 102; or consent of instructor.

This course, structured around a reading of the Journey to the West, will also examine texts and other types of sources relating both to the novel’s early antecedents and to its various successor works. We will introduce and discuss early texts on spirit journeys, cosmography, demonography, sources relating to the adaptation and assimilation of Buddhism—an initially quite alien and exotic cultural tradition and belief system—as well as late imperial to modern commentaries, metafictional works, and film relating to the Journey to the West in particular and the tradition of exotic journey in general. Prerequisite: Chinese 100A or equivalent; or consent of instructor.

An intensive introduction to research in the field of Chinese Buddhism. Topics will include: (1) the early Chinese assimilation of Buddhism; (2) the emergence of medieval Chinese Buddhist "schools" such as Chan, Tiantai, Pure Land, and the Esoteric tradition; (3) Buddhist art, archaeology, and material culture; (4) Song Buddhism; (5) later Chinese Buddhism. Secondary readings may be supplemented by indigenous Chinese sutra and sastra materials such as Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana, Visualization Sutra,Platform Sutra, Mulian Saving His Mother, etc. The course is intended for graduate students with a background in Buddhism, Chinese literature, or East Asian history or art history, who may not have a background in the study of Chinese Buddhism per se. (It is designed in part to serve as preparation for a Ph.D. qualifying exam in the area.) Permission of the instructor required.

This course investigates the visual and material worlds of the mid-eighteenth century novel Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber also known as Story of the Stone), while analyzing the thematization of visuality and materiality in the novel itself.  We will examine various models for conjoining the study of literary texts and visual and material culture as we engage in a series of case studies of types of objects featured in the novel.  Topics include:  perspectival painting and architectural painting, ceramics, garden design, bronze and glass mirrors, European objects, and furniture and interior spaces. We will invite local specialists in ceramics and classical Chinese furniture and examine Qing dynasty objects on field trips to the Asian Art Museum and the Berkeley Art Museum.