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Module

CHN4004 : China and its Peripheries: Repression, (In)stability and Conflict in the 21st Century

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jo Smith Finley
  • Other Staff: Miss Hanna Burdorf
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

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

1) To develop an understanding of competing nationalist and ethno-nationalist discourses in Republican (1911-1949), Maoist (1949-1978) and Reform-era (1978- ) China;

2) To foster awareness of how popular nationalism is channelled by the state as a means to promote national unification, and of how popular nationalism may also undermine the state;

3) To develop an appreciation of the relative construction of the Han majority identity vis-a-vis the minority nationality identities;

4) To build knowledge of the historical and contemporary origins of Uyghur and Tibetan ethno-nationalisms, and to explore ways in which minority nationalities construct and express alternative identities to those imposed by the state / the Han majority.

5) To develop an understanding of competing pro-independence and pro-(re)unification aspirations in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

6) To foster awareness of increased instability and conflict on China’s peripheries in Xi Jinping’s New Era, and of emerging solidarities across peripheral movements.

In this module, you will take an analytical approach to the study of nation, nationalism, ethnicity, and peripheral movements in contemporary China. Through a combination of 2 workshops, 18 lectures, 2 political discourse analysis sessions, and 14 seminar presentations followed by class debate, you will study key themes and moments in the history of the Chinese nation, including: the May Fourth Movement, 1919 / New Culture Movement; the competing nationalist discourses of rival political elites (Chinese Nationalist Party; Chinese Communist Party) during the Republican era; discourses of ‘anti-traditionalism’ and ‘nativism’ during the Maoist period; discourses of ‘pragmatic nationalism’ in the post-1978 reform era; the function of ‘patriotic education’ following the 1989 Tian’anmen Incident; the role of perception and sentiment in contemporary popular nationalism and pragmatic strategies used by PRC leaders to channel and contain it; Chinese nationalism in diplomatic encounters with foreign powers (especially the U.S., Japan, but also BRICS); China as a site for the evolution of both Han majoritarian nationalism and regional ethno-nationalisms among non-Han minority nationalities; the origins, constructions and expressions of Uyghur and Tibetan identities and ethno-nationalisms; the evolution of multiple and hybrid Taiwanese identities; the Taiwan Sunflower and Hong Kong Umbrella Movements of 2014; The ‘De-Extremification’ Campaign and Mass Internment in Xinjiang (2016 - ); the Hong Kong Protests against the Extradition Bill in 2019; and the emergence of political solidarities across China’s peripheries.

The module is assessed by two pieces of work: a 2750 word essay (75%) and an assessed seminar presentation (25%), in which you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of taught aspects of nation, nationalism, ethnicity, and peripheral movements in contemporary China.

Outline Of Syllabus

Via a combination of lectures (3 lectures for each of 6 weeks), discourse analysis sessions (2), seminar discussions and debates (14), and workshops (2), students will study the following 18 core themes:

- The May Fourth Movement, 1919 / New Culture Movement
- Competing Discourses of Rival Political Elites in Republican China (1912-1949) - the Guomindang (GMD, Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Gongchandang (CCP, Chinese Communist Party)
- Discourses of ‘Anti-Traditionalism’ and ‘Nativism’ during the Maoist Period
- Discourses of ‘Pragmatic Nationalism’ in the Reform Era (1978 - present)
- ‘Patriotic Education’ following the 1989 Tian’anmen Incident
- Perception and Sentiment in Contemporary Popular Nationalism (including Online Nationalism) and Pragmatic Strategies used by PRC Leaders to Channel and Contain It
- Chinese Nationalism in Diplomatic Encounters with Foreign Powers (America, Japan, BRICS)
- State and Media Representations of the Han Majority and Minority Nationalities (Ethnic Minorities) in China
- Historical and Contemporary Origins of Uyghur and Tibetan Ethno-Nationalisms;
- Popular Stereotypes – Us and Them in Contemporary China
- Construction and Expression of Alternative Identities by Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians in Contemporary China;
- The Evolution of Multiple and Hybrid Taiwanese Identities;
- The Authoritarian / Ideological Turn Towards a Han-Majoritarian Assimilationist State (2012 - );
- The Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, 2014;
- The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, 2014;
- The ‘De-Extremification’ Campaign and Mass Internment in Xinjiang (2016 - )
- The Hong Kong Protests against the Extradition Bill, 2019;
- Emerging Political Solidarities across China’s Peripheries

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching141:0014:00Seminars.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Discourse analysis sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Concepts: Ethnicity and Nationalism Essay writing
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Workshops introduce students to relative theoretical concepts in anthropology and political science, and foster essay writing skills.

Lectures introduce students to competing discourses of nation in Republican, Maoist and contemporary China; to relative (majority-minority) configurations of Han and minority ethnic identities in official and popular discourses; to the origins, constructions and expressions of alternative, peripheral identity movements in Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and related centre-periphery conflicts; and to the emergence of political solidarities across peripheral movements.

Discourse Analysis sessions give students practice in reading and interpreting state and popular discourses, majority Han and minority nationality discourses, as well as an opportunity to discuss those discourses in the broader context of the history of the Chinese nation and globalising flows.

Student-led seminars encourage students to consolidate knowledge acquired from the lectures through wider reading and research; to address a specific, narrow research question via an oral presentation; and to participate in whole-class discussion and debate on the questions and issues raised.

Each student will prepare and present one oral presentation, which will be recorded for assessment purposes.

THIS MODULE IS TAUGHT AND ASSESSED IN ENGLISH.

Assessment Methods

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M25N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A75(2750 words).See student handbook for precise submission details.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MStructured essay plan.To include an intro, a structure plan, and a conclusion. Will be marked and returned with formative feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed oral presentation, based on extensive independent and collaborative study, allows students both to foster individual initiative and to develop team-working and organisational skills. A successful presentation will require the development and application of library and research skills, IT skills, the ability to work in a team, and the successful demonstration of oral presentation skills.

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, as well as word-processing skills. Students will be assessed on their depth of understanding of the chosen topic as well as on their skills of independent thinking, critical analysis and academic discourse organisation.

Reading Lists

Timetable