01:165:310 Modern Chinese Literature in Translation

This course introduces students to the history, themes, genres, and major works of modern Chinese literature from early twentieth century through the present. By studying a wide range of key literary texts, we examine the following questions: How has literature become social
expressions in the modern era? How to deal with the relationship between literature, history, and politics? What constitutes Chinese modernity or modernities? How has cultural/national identity of “Chinese” been conceived and negotiated?

Articles marked by # are critical, secondary readings of key literary criticism. All readings, discussions and assignments will be in English. No knowledge of Chinese is required or expected. Great importance is placed on class discussion and on creating a dialogue of
interpretations of the texts we read.

Bi-weekly coursework reflections: One page postings to “Forums” addressing reflection questions distributed for the particular week. Submission must be done before the discussion session.

Two short papers (about 500 words for each paper): At the end of Sections 2 and 3, we will practice how to write a short academic essay, including how to form and develop a topic, provide a brief overview of the major themes of a text, identity the main argument of the critical
article and critique some aspect of it based on your own reading, make your main argument and support it by close textual analysis, come to a conclusion, and how to refer to secondary scholarship and make a bibliography, etc. For each writing practice, a main topic will be provided and no research beyond course materials is required. You are required to submit a draft first. After receiving my feedback and revision suggestions, you will have the opportunity to revise and resubmit your paper. Please submit your paper to the Dropbox at Sakai.

Final paper: 10 pages. Suggestions for paper topics will be handed out beforehand. You are also encouraged to come up with your own topics, in which case you need to run your ideas by me first. Discuss a theme, an issue or an aspect of Chinese literary modernity based primarily on textual analyses of one or two works examined in the semester. The paper needs to have a cogent and original argument and evaluates both primary and secondary sources.

Assessments: The performance of students will be assessed based on online discussions, bi-weekly coursework postings, two short papers (drafts and revisions), and the final paper including an abstract, outline, and the paper with SAS best practice guidelines in mind (see also detailed information about core curriculum goals and requirements). In this way, the instructor will be able to accurately and fairly evaluate students’ performance and progress online.

Grading: Class participation (lecture and discussion sessions): 20%, First short paper (draft and revision): 10%+5%, Second short paper (draft and revision): 10%+5%, Bi-weekly coursework postings: 15%, Final paper (abstract+outline, and paper): 5%+30%

The assessment method for this course is designed to evaluate the student’s mastery of the course goals. The assignments require students to read, interpret and analyze texts of literature as well as literary criticism. Upon completion of the course, students will get familiarized with
analytical and rhetoric skills through oral and writing assignments, which are designed to enable them to discuss critically the themes in a work of literature and literary criticism, form original thoughts, build a main argument, develop it by textual analysis, provide critical responses to theoretical issues of literary criticism, and cite critical sources in an appropriate manner. In both oral presentations and academic papers, students will learn how to identify the main theme of a text, evaluate the central argument and its effectiveness in a critical article, as well as present their own thoughts and responses to the critical article. Students will be able to construct an argument and develop it with textual analysis through one short analytic essay and one long research paper. For the short paper, students will have the opportunity to learn how to make revisions based on the instructor’s feedback and suggestions and to resubmit their paper.