MEMS 611 - Special Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Section: 002 Text and Space in Imperial China
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)
Department: LSA History
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

This course inquires how historians may gain access to historical space through texts and through reading, and how historians have read texts in order to understand historical space. The premise is that literary genres are defined not only by their formal characteristics, by their subject matter, and by their linguistic register, but also by their orientation in space. Texts thus preserve historical spaces, and historical senses of space, not only by description, but also by semiotic means of indexicality, iconicity, and metaphor, in other words, not only by their words but also by their form.

The first half of the course offers general methodological readings and concrete examples of literary genres in relationship to space, from different eras of the imperial period (221 BCE-1912 CE), such as stone inscriptions, ritual manuals, local gazetteers, and travel accounts. This first half of the course concludes with an analysis paper of a primary source, read either in the original or in translation.

The second half of the course concentrates on particular kinds of spaces (such as cities, gardens, temples, gendered space, and places of exile), to analyze how historians have reconstructed and analyzed them, and how they might have approached them differently. The final paper for the course may be a research paper based on primary sources or a literature review based on secondary sources, focused on a particular kind of space.

Course Requirements:

Attendance of all seminars, preparation of reading assignments, participation in discussions, and the submission of two papers (an analysis paper about the relationship between text and space in a primary source, either in the original or in translation; and a research paper or a literature review about a particular kind of space, based on either secondary sources or a combination of primary and secondary sources).

Intended Audience:

Graduate students in Chinese studies, East Asian studies, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, History, Anthropology, History of Art, and Architecture. Knowledge of Chinese is not required.

Class Format:


MEMS 611 - Special Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
002 (REC)
Tu 3:00PM - 6:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for MEMS 611 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)