16:217:521 / 01:165:462 History of Chinese Literature: 1300 to 1900

This course follows a chronological order and familiarizes students with major literary genres and works from China’s Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1912) dynasties. Students will read vernacular short stories, literati plays, anecdotal works, and excerpts from “novels in chapters” (zhanghui xiaoshuo 章回小說). In class, students will discuss primary texts and learn how a wide range of themes and characters form the literary landscape of late imperial China. In addition, students will see how literature interacts with social history, religion, as well as visual and material culture through reading secondary sources. All readings are in English. No knowledge of Chinese language or literature is required. Students with the ability to read Chinese texts are encouraged to read the original.

Grading: Attendance and participation 10 %, Class presentation 15%, Canvas postings 20%, Midterm paper 20%, Final paper 35%

Every student should actively participate in classroom discussions.

During every meeting, we need one student to give a brief presentation. The presenter should discuss important themes in the story you read and raise questions about the plot and characters. The instructor and other students will respond to the presenter’s questions. The presentation should run about 10–15 minutes.

Please write a well-crafted and clearly argued midterm essay based on your close reading of a story or stories. Please engage secondary sources (monographs and scholarly articles) if you think they are helpful to your analysis. Please provide footnotes and a bibliography.

Students should write a final paper with a clear argument. Please combine primary and secondary sources and analyze texts thoroughly. You should include footnotes and a bibliography. For citations, you may use CMS, MLA, or APA, as long as the citation practice is consistent throughout the paper. Quick guides for all three styles can be found under the “Research and Citation” tab at the Purdue Writing Lab website: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html

As a member of the Rutgers community, you are expected to demonstrate integrity in your academic endeavors. Your paper should be your own original work. If you want to use words or ideas from other sources, please make sure you identify the sources and provide footnotes. If you quote a passage from a book, an article, or a website, please indent the quoted passage and use single spacing. Any work that has been submitted in another course is generally not allowed to be submitted in this course unless you have the permission from your instructor.

It is the policy of Rutgers to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. If you have a disability and wish to request accommodations to complete your course requirements, please contact the office of disability services and ask to speak with a coordinator (848-445-6800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) about accommodations.