Skip to main content


CHN1005 : Introduction to Chinese Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Jun Qian
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


In consonance with the overall aims and objectives of the degree programme:

1)       To develop a knowledge of the role of traditional Chinese philosophical/religious beliefs in Chinese life;
2)       To develop an appreciation of Chinese social and cultural values as they impact on social behaviour;
3)       To develop an awareness of the social and political relevance of forms of Chinese print, material and visual culture;
4)       To develop an understanding of the social, cultural and political functions of contemporary Chinese pop culture.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture themes will include:
1. The Antiquity and Chinese Renaissance
2. Confucius and Confucianism
3. Being One with Nature: Taoist Aesthetics
4. No Self: Chan Buddhism
5. Chinese Dynastic History: Song Dynasty
6. Traditional Chinese Poetry and Prose
7. Chinese Novels: Monkey
8. Traditional Visual Culture
9. Chinese Language and Calligraphy
10. China Entering the Modern World as a “Hyper-colony”
11. Chinese Nationalism and the War of Resistance against Japan
12. Translated Modernity: Modern Chinese Culture through Translation
13. Modern Chinese Literature
14. The Reform: China on the Rise
15. Contemporary Chinese Cinema
16. Netizens, Public Opinion and State Control in Contemporary China

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching151:0015:00Seminar.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Essay planning workshop.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1162:00162:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Five themed blocks of Lectures (3 x Lectures in each) introduce students to aspects of Chinese symbolic, print, material, visual, and pop culture.

Each Lecture Block is followed by a Module Surgery with the relevant Lecturer and then a block of 3 seminars, in which students explore how social and cultural values impact on behaviours and reflect trends in China. The format of seminar sessions may vary according to topic, including: discussion of prepared questions (whole-class and in groups); film or documentary viewings; discourse analysis of [translated] primary materials; poetry readings and analysis; readings of literary excerpts, etc.

In addition, students will be assigned tasks to complete during 2 x Guided internet research sessions. These sessions teach students how to browse and select reliable online materials from scholarly, governmental, NGO and media sources.

Students are required to do a considerable amount of reading on their own to consolidate their knowledge. An essay writing workshop will be held between Lecture Blocks 4 and 5.


Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MEssay plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to critically analyse a translated excerpt from a Chinese cultural text, and to explore its relationship to social, cultural and political trends of the time within which it was produced.

The assessed essay, based on extensive independent study, encourages students to foster individual initiative and project management skills. A successful essay will require the development and application of library and research skills, the acquisition of word-processing skills, demonstration of a high level of understanding of the chosen topic, and evidence of skills of critical analysis and discourse organisation.

Both forms of assessment prepare Stage 1 students to take further cultural context modules at Stages 2 and 4, including the dissertation option (SML4099).

Reading Lists