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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
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the development and deployment of ideas about 'China' in Western discourse
  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning Western ideas about China, primary source materials pertaining to such ideas, and conceptual discussions about Orientalism and the cross-cultural encounter
  3. Demonstrate, by way of seminar discussions, presentations, and essays, an ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate, by way of seminar discussions, presentations, and essays, originality and independence of mind, initiative, intellectual integrity and maturity, an ability to evaluate the work of others, and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Primary sources
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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