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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Postgraduate Course: Keywords of Chinese Modernity (ASST11031)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe study of 'keywords of modernity' in China is crucial for understanding the processes of formation of 'modern China'. From the 19th century onwards, China's agenda of modernization was informed by modern European (Western) discourses, which engendered the displacement of pre-modern discourses and discursive modes and the formation of new taxonomies, terms, and terminologies.

However, the possibility of linear cultural translation of keywords and concepts was at the same time always undermined by complex indigenous orders of knowledge, personal constellation, and institutional frameworks. Pre-modern conceptual modes merged with foreign and new linguistic imports into cultural hybrids.

The seminar will look at key concepts in Cultural Studies which have stirred academic debates in Chinese Studies. After introductions to the origins and backgrounds of these concepts, we will discuss articles, which try their application to the Chinese case.
Course description Following Chinese scholarship, Chinese Studies focuses mainly on philological and historical aspects of Chinese Culture. Teaching it in the West, however, adds a transcultural aspect to it, the reflection of which is often neglected. Within different academic disciplines certain key terms have proven to work as common analytical tools. These terms are defined differently in different disciplines and in different historical and cultural contexts. So any analysis of culture needs to begin with the reflection on the range of basic terms and their implicit assumptions. Trying to understand Chinese culture on the ground of Western theories, the course thus integrates two lines of inquiry: first, it introduces a number of Western key theorists and texts on Cultural Studies┬┐ central analytical terms. Second, it reflects these terms in an application to Chinese contexts. To follow this twofold inquiry, two set texts are given for most sessions, one Western theoretical text on a certain key term and one text which makes use of this Western term in an analysis of Chinese Studies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. to understand key concepts of Cultural Studies which shaped and informed the field of Chinese Studies
  2. to understand and reflect on problems and possibilities arising with the application of concepts from one culture in another cultural context
  3. to understand changing perceptions of key concepts in different historical and cultural context
  4. to critically reflect on methodological and theoretical questions in relation to his/her own academic writing
Reading List
Course materials accessible from Learn
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Christopher Rosenmeier
Course secretaryMiss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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