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

Undergraduate Course: Chinese Whispers: China in the Western Imagination, from c. 1600 to the present (HIST10413)

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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Chinese Whispers: China in the Western Imagination, 1600-2008 (HIST10401)
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
Not being delivered
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.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stephen Mcdowall
Tel: (0131 6)50 3754
Course secretaryMiss Lorraine Nolan
Tel: (0131 6)51 1783
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