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CHN1005 : Introduction to Chinese Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • 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 a knowledge of the modern transformation of Chinese culture and its impact on Chinese life today.
3) To develop an understanding of key elements of Chinese culture such as history, language, governmentality, self-cultivation, aesthetics of life, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, communism, identity and soft power.
4) To develop critical faculties relating to the humanity and modernity of Chinese culture.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture themes will include:

1. Chinese History and Language
2. The Chinese Model of Government
3. Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism
4. Chinese Poetry and Aesthetics
5. Modern Chinese Nationalism
6. A Cosmopolitan World
7. Radical Revolutions
8. Rise of China and Its Cultural Factors
9. To Be or Not to Be a Chinese

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching161:0016:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1168:00168:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

For Structured Guided Learning, students will be able to take advantage of the new textbook authored by the instructor, titled: Chinese Culture: Its Humanity and Modernity, to be published in Autumn 2020. Students will read the chapters in the book, as well as some additional readings of source materials.

For Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities, students will explore the critical issues covered in each chapter such as history, language, governmentality, self-cultivation, poetry and aesthetics, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, communism, rise of China. An essay writing workshop will be held by the end of the semester.

The instructor will be available for individual consultation and advice during the course of study and particularly in preparing for the essay writing.


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 word essay in English
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MEssay plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

An exam by the end of Semester 1 will test students’ command of the Chinese cultural knowledge so far covered in Semester 1. This will not only include factual historical knowledge but also short interpretive narratives on key cultural notions, events or texts.

The assessed essay, based on classroom learning as well as 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.

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

Reading Lists