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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Chinese Whispers: China in the Western Imagination, 1600-2008 (HIST10401)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryChina and its people have long been objects of fascination to Western observers. But from admiration to disgust, from stately pleasure-domes to Yellow Peril, the China of Western minds has been invented and reinvented over many centuries of Sino-Western contact.
Course description This course examines the various ways in which ideas about China and Chinese culture have been imagined and reimagined by Western observers from the seventeenth 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 theoretical scholarship on cross-cultural encounters that has emerged since the late 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 Lord Anson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fu Manchu, Franz Kafka and David Bowie are all a part.

Syllabus (subject to change):

Week 1: Introduction to the Course
Week 2: Orientalism & its Discontents
Week 3: China & Orientalism
Week 4: Travellers Tales 1
Week 5: Travellers Tales 2
Week 6: Chinoiserie
Week 7: China on Stage
Week 8: China in the Garden
Week 9: Case Study: Kew Gardens
Week 10: China Exhibited
Week 12: Looted China
Week 13: China in Early Western Photography
Week 14: Chinese Immigrants & the American Dream
Week 15: Birth of the Western Chinatown
Week 16: Case Study: Limehouse
Week 17: China in Twentieth-Century Fiction
Week 18: Case Study: Fu Manchu
Week 19: China on Film 1
Week 20: China on Film 2
Week 21: China in Popular Culture
Week 22: Today's China in Western Minds

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 42, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 344 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Two essays (1 x 2000 words 15%; 1 x 4000 words 35%)
Two two-hour examinations (a gobbets paper and an essay paper) (2 x 20%)
One oral presentation (10%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their oral presentation and essays, and will be invited to discuss their essays in person during a designated feedback week at the end of semester one.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 12:00
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 22:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination, an ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative, intellectual integrity and maturity, and an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Ross G. Forman, China in the Victorian Imagination: Empires Entwined (Cambridge, 2013).
Caroline Frank, Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America (Chicago, 2011).
Robert Markley, The Far East and the English Imagination, 1600-1730 (Cambridge, 2006).
Lenore Metrick-Chen, Collecting Objects/Excluding People: Chinese Subjects and American Visual Culture, 1830-1900 (Albany, 2012).
David Porter, Ideographia: The Chinese Cipher in Early Modern Europe (Stanford, 2002).
David Porter, The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 2010).
Stacey Pierson, From Object to Concept: Global Consumption and the Transformation of Ming Porcelain (Hong Kong, 2013)
Edward W. Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (London, 1978).
Stacey Sloboda, Chinoiserie: Commerce and Critical Ornament in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Manchester, 2014).
Susan Schoenbauer Thurin, Victorian Travelers and the Opening of China, 1842-1907 (Athens, OH, 1999).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will help students to develop the following core graduate attributes:
Skills and abilities in research and enquiry;
Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy;
Skills and abilities in communication;
Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness.
KeywordsChinese Whispers China
Course organiserDr Stephen Mcdowall
Tel: (0131 6)50 3754
Course secretaryMiss Lorraine Nolan
Tel: (0131 6)51 1783
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