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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: China in Western Minds (PGHC11396)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the various ways in which ideas about China and Chinese culture have been constructed and reconstructed by Western observers from the thirteenth century to the present day. Weekly seminars are based on the critical analysis of a range of primary sources (including texts, objects, images, architecture, music and films), while the course as a whole asks students to engage with an important body of secondary scholarship on the cross-cultural encounter that has emerged since the 1970s. By the end of the course, students should be able to place the West's current fascination with China within a historical context of which Marco Polo, Lord Anson, Fu Manchu and David Bowie are all a part.
Course description Week 1: Introduction to the Course
Week 2: Orientalism & its Discontents
Week 3: Marco Polo and Early Travellers
Week 4: Gardens and 'Chineseness'
Week 5: The Great Wall in Western Historiography
Week 6: Lord Anson and Canton
Week 7: Chinoiserie and Chinese Material Culture
Week 8: The Chinatown
Week 9: China in Popular Culture
Week 10: Case Study: Fu Manchu
Week 11: Today's China in Western Minds
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 3,000-word research essay (90%)
1 x oral presentation (10%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate detailed knowledge of key moments and themes in the West's depiction of China from the thirteenth century to the present day;
- analyse and contextualise a range of primary source materials;
- independently identify research questions relevant to the course;
- independently conduct research into a selected topic within the scope of the course;
- demonstrate understanding of relevant secondary scholarship on cross-cultural encounters and the applicability or otherwise of certain theoretical approaches to selected topics;
- present a logical, coherent, articulate and appropriately-referenced written argument on a selected topic within the scope of the course, based on an analysis of primary source(s);
- present a logical, coherent and articulate oral argument on a selected topic within the scope of the course, based on an analysis of primary source(s);
- reflect intelligently on current media depictions of China, and place such depictions in an appropriate historical context;
Reading List
Primary sources discussed in this course include the following:
Marco Polo, Description of the World (c. 1298).
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (c. 1356).
John Bell, A Journey from St Petersburg to Pekin, 1719-1722 (1763).
Richard Walter comp., Anson's Voyage Round the World (1748).
A. B. Freeman-Mitford, The Attache at Peking (1900).
Sax Rohmer, The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu (1913).
Edgar Snow, People on our Side (1944).
Roman Polanski dir., Chinatown (1974).
Mike Hodges dir., Flash Gordon (1980).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Ability to read critically and analyse a range of source materials;
Ability to relate contemporary developments to those of the past;
Ability to conduct independent research;
Ability to manage a project to completion within a set deadline;
Ability to present coherent and articulate arguments in written and oral form.
KeywordsChina Western Minds
Course organiserDr Stephen Mcdowall
Tel: (0131 6)50 3754
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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