Spring 2022 Course Descriptions
The 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.
The 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 continues to focus on training students in the four language skills--speaking, listening, reading, and writing with a gradually increasing emphasis on basic cultural readings and developing intercultural competence. Prerequisites: Chinese 1A.
This course is designed specifically for Mandarin heritage students who possess speaking skill but little or no reading and writing skills in Chinese. The course utilizes students’ prior knowledge of listening and speaking skills to advance them to the intermediate Chinese proficiency level in one semester. Close attention is paid to meeting Mandarin heritage students’ literacy needs inmeaningful contexts while introducing a functional vocabulary and a systematic review of structures through culturally related topics. The Hanyu Pinyin (a Chinese Romanization system) and traditional/simplified characters are introduced. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
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 memoir 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.
Going beyond satisfying basic communicative needs, students would learn to use Cantonese to complete more complicated tasks such as elaborating, comparing, analyzing, defending, debating, etc. Students would be frequently exposed to discussions regarding broader societal issues such as housing, food culture, fashion, safety, recreation, education, etc. Assuming basic competence of Cantonese, the course attempts to relate the learners to Chinese subculture through analyzing the link between Cantonese expressions and societal phenomenon in the Cantonese speaking society. Difference between Cantonese and Mandarin expressions and its cultural implications, as well as the social position of Cantonese globally and regionally. Prerequisites: Chinese 3X; or consent of instructor.
This course examines the complex worldviews of China’s Han period, the centuries that follow its unification and the establishment of its empire. The momentous changes of this period shaped traditional and contemporary views of history and society, philosophy, and religion, and as a result are still relevant today. This course will look at Han “thought,” a word chosen for its range, including religion, state ritual, social conventions, moral philosophy, and thinking about the natural world. It covers both elite and popular culture, and pays particular attention to two works of the second century B.C.E.: the Shiji (i.e., Records of the Historian) or the Huainanzi.
This 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. Prerequisite: Chinese 100A.
This course 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. Prerequisite: Chinese 100XA. If you have not taken Chinese 100XA, to enroll in this class you must first take the online Chinese Language Placement Exam and be interviewed. Students are responsible for following the instructions at ealc.berkeley.edu to complete the placement process. They must also accurately inform instructors about their language proficiency level. Any student who enrolls in a class below his/her level will be dropped from the class.
This 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, 100XB, or 100YB. If you have not taken Chinese 100B, 100XB, or 100YB, to enroll in this class you must first take the online Chinese Language Placement Exam and be interviewed. Students are responsible for following the instructions at ealc.berkeley.edu to complete the placement process. They must also accurately inform instructors about their language proficiency level. Any student who enrolls in a class below his/her level will be dropped from the class.
The second half of a one-year introductory course in literary Chinese, continuing the topics from the first semester, and giving basic coverage of relevant issues in the history of the language and writing system. This course examines the canonical texts of the late-imperial period, placing them in the context of literary culture of the Ming-Qing. The course focuses on a different set of texts each time it is taught; the aim is to introduce students to the primary issues in scholarship of late-imperial fiction and drama over a period of several years. Prerequisite: Chinese 110A.
This course is an introduction to the study of medieval Buddhist literature written in classical Chinese. We will read samples from a variety of genres, including early Chinese translations of Sanskrit and Central Asian Buddhist scriptures, indigenous Chinese commentaries, philosophical treatises, and sectarian works, including Chan (Zen koans). The course will also serve as an introduction to resource materials used in the study of Chinese Buddhist texts, and students will be expected to make use of a variety of reference tools in preparation for class. Readings in Chinese will be supplemented by a range of secondary readings in English on Mahayana doctrine and Chinese Buddhist history.
Spring 2022: This course is an introduction to the study of medieval Buddhist literature written in classical Chinese. We will cover some of the most substantial and inspirational works in the history of East Asian Buddhism. Readings are carefully selected from a variety of genres, including early Chinese translations of Sanskrit and Central Asian Buddhist scriptures, hagiographies of eminent monks, and polemical treatises. The course will also serve as an introduction to resource materials used in the study of Chinese Buddhist texts, and students are expected to make use of a variety of reference tools in preparation for translation of classic Chinese texts. Readings in Chinese will be supplemented by a range of secondary readings in English on Mahāyāna doctrine and Chinese Buddhist history.
Prerequisites: Chinese 110A; or one semester of classical Chinese. Prior background in Buddhist history and thought is helpful, but not required.
Spring 2022: What is loosely called a “martial arts” (or “martial heroes,” wu xia 武俠) tradition is one of the most prominent contributions of Chinese tradition to modern global culture. This narrative type draws on a fascinating range of sources in early and medieval China that span historical writing as well as philosophical, religious, and even medical traditions. The “rivers and lakes” (jianghu 江湖), the traditional zone in which martial arts heroes circulate, is not a geographically defined space, but a realm of countercultural fantasy—but one that often has tangible real-world effects in shaping behavior and social meaning. Our readings will center on the Shuihu zhuan, doubtless the single largest and most influential work in the tradition. An introductory unit will examine antecedents of the “martial arts” tradition from the Han to the Song dynasties, with our readings from the novel itself occupying the middle part of the semester. In the concluding weeks we will turn to later works in the tradition, such as latter-day “martial arts” works in popular fiction and cinema.
Prerequisites: Chinese 100A or Chinese 100XA (may be taken concurrently); or consent of instructor
In the master narrative constructed by modern Chinese intellectuals in the early 20th-century May 4th Movement, women were represented as the oppressed and voiceless victims of the dominant Confucian ideology in premodern China. Engaging with the large quantity of rediscovered women’s writings from the Ming and Qing dynasties (17th-19th centuries), feminist historians and literary scholars have challenged this stereotype. Drawing on a rich corpus of digitized collections of women’s works held in the Ming Qing Women’s Writings (MQWW) digital archive and database (http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/mingqing/), this seminar aims to engage with women’s textual practices and inscriptions to explore forms of gendered subjectivity, voice, and agency in a male-dominated literary tradition located in a patriarchal society. The MQWW database also offers opportunities to explore some digital humanities methods and tools for research. To contextualize women’s textual production, we will consider what social and historical forces and personal circumstances motivated women to write and shape their writings from the seventeenth century on. Topics to be discussed include women’s interventions in literary genres and topoi in poetry and prose; the role of writing in constructing and articulating gendered subjectivity and self-identity; the social function of poetry and its relation to the visibility of women’s homosociality; the religious dimension in women’s writing, among others.
Much of the modern Chinese literary archive is now on-line; keyword searches (and the algorithms that undergird them) allow us to trawl through vast amounts of data in search of relevant material with unprecedented ease. But, as we all know, the digital archive is an inadequate and incomplete replica of the messy and ineluctably material world it purports to represent. More insidiously, its algorithmic and target-driven logic tends to suppress styles of reading that remain indispensable to literary and cultural historiography. In this workshop, we will return to what is arguably the most important site of modern Chinese literary production: the literary journals through which new writing emerged and forged a reading public.
The aims of the seminar are several. We are fortunate to have much of the archive, in analog form, available to us at the East Asian Library, and this seminar will serve as an introduction to those resources. Precisely because the journals we will be covering loom so large in the standard literary historiography, revisiting their pages will provide with something of a survey of the field. (We will also supplement our readings of original materials with readings from book and media history, as well as recent research pertaining to modern Chinese print culture.) While we will revisit some canonical writings from each journal, however, we will also read in a non-algorithmic manner: immersively and laterally, with close attention to chance encounters, surprising connections, forgotten or neglected texts, historical contingencies, visual cues, formatting and paratextual framings. In this sense, revisiting these important journals may allow us to unearth something of the non-canonicity of the canonical. Secondly, we will consider the journal itself as an artifact, and as a form of social agency, particularly with respect to the translation of epistemic formations, discursive practices, and literary forms that characterized the Chinese twentieth-century. In what sense does the analog archive represent a trace, or even a fossilization of the larger social worlds or historical moments from which it emerged? What kinds of reading are adequate to the task of understanding and generating compelling narratives about those worlds?