Postgraduate Course: The Contemporary Chinese Life Cycle: Ethnographic Perspectives (ASST11118)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||The Contemporary Chinese Life Cycle: Ethnographic Perspectives provides an overview of major life cycle events and themes in Chinese societies. By the end of the course, students will have acquired a critical academic understanding of ethnography and an ethnographic approach to understanding Chinese society.
Please note that places on this course are strictly limited and that priority will be given to students taking degrees in Chinese.
The Contemporary Chinese Life Cycle: Ethnographic Perspectives introduces students to ethnography and ethnographic approaches to Chinese societies. The course is primarily designed to focus on the contemporary People¿s Republic of China but will also consider Taiwan and Hong Kong. Students will learn the basics of ethnography as a method. The course will analyse how an ethnographic approach can facilitate our understanding of how people make sense of life cycle events. Students can expect an in-depth and critical analysis of contemporary Chinese societies, with consideration for both rural and urban contexts. The course explores a range of themes central to the life cycle such as death, funerals, ancestors, birthing practices, kinship, sociality, gift-exchange, and old age. Classes will take the form of seminars with focussed discussion on primary texts (in Chinese) and academic readings. Students will also be expected to draw on their understandings of Chinese societies developed during their Semester/Year Abroad in China/Taiwan. Students are expected to prepare the requested readings and contribute to discussions in class. In terms of assessment, students will conduct a short exercise on the practice of ethnography, write an essay on a particular theme or debate within the ethnographic literature on Chinese societies, and critically reflect on ethnography as an approach to understanding Chinese societies. The course will complement existing postgraduate courses offered through Asian Studies. In particular, it will converse with some themes covered in Politics and Economics in the PRC after 1978 (ASST11055) by analysing the effects and outcomes of political and policy processes. It will also help students to develop a deeper understanding of ethnographic methods and field research which are first introduced on Research Skills and Methods for Asian Studies 1 (ASST11103).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 0% «br /»
Coursework: 100% «br /»
Formative: Essay plan (400 words) 0% «br /»
Summative: Fieldwork exercise (1,000 words) 20%; essay (4,000 words) 60%; Critical Reflection (1,000 words) 20%.
||Students will receive written feedback for the each of the written assessment components. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the essay plan with the Course Organiser in person. The assessments are spaced in such a way through the semester as to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on the feedback for each of the assessments before the next assessment is due.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Utilise a range of academic literature and primary sources for analysing contemporary Chinese societies.
- Critically assess theoretical concepts applied to the study of Chinese societies.
- Demonstrate an understanding of ethnography and ethnographic methods.
- Undertake autonomous research and effectively communicate arguments in written form.
|Chen, Nancy.N. 2001. China Urban: Ethnographies of Contemporary Culture. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. [electronic resource]|
Hammersley, Martyn & Paul Atkinson. 2007. Ethnography: Principles in Practice Third Ed. London: Routledge. [electronic resource]
Yan, Yunxiang, 2009. The individualization of Chinese society, Oxford: Berg. [HUB and Standard Loan]
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Research and enquiry; Analytical thinking; Critical thinking; Handling complexity and ambiguity.
Personal and intellectual autonomy; Self-awareness and reflection; Independent learning and development.
Personal effectiveness; Planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.
Communication; Interpersonal skills; Verbal and written communication.
|Keywords||Chinese,China,PRC,Taiwan,Hong Kong,society,ethnography,life cycle
|Course organiser||Dr Mark McLeister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4232
|Course secretary||Miss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114