ASIAN 353 - Globalizing China: From Ancient Wisdom to World Literature
Fall 2016, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course provides an introduction to Chinese literature, focusing on its translation and circulation within and outside China from the 17th century to the present. We will examine a variety of texts with reference to the contexts of their translation, considering the various ways in which translation has shaped Western conceptions of China, to what diverse ends translators have aimed their translations, and what happens when these texts circulate in new contexts. We begin by discussing how Chinese literature, especially poetry, has been construed as particularly difficult to translate, because of the supposed incommensurability of the Chinese written language with other languages. Next, we will explore the ways in which the translation and circulation of early Chinese classics into Western contexts was animated by interests in ancient Chinese wisdom and spirituality. We then consider the most recent emergence of a new global notion of Chinese literature and culture, focusing on the two recent Nobel Prizes for literature awarded for Chinese works, and the recent origins of a history of Chinese fiction. We conclude by comparing the history of adaptations of Chinese drama into European languages with the history of their adaptation within China. We will approach these topics from any level of familiarity with Chinese literature and culture, seeking to model in our class discussions the diverse ways in which texts can be read and engaged. All readings will be in English, and some of the Chinese materials will be on reserve at the library for interested students.

Course Requirements:

Participation 20% Weekly Informal Writing 20% (Ten assignments, 2% each) Unit Assignments 60% (Four assignments, 15% each)

Intended Audience:

This course is appropriate for all students interested in China, both majors and non-majors. The translation angle makes it possible to provide an introduction to Chinese literature that is appropriate both for beginners and for students educated in China.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


ASIAN 353 - Globalizing China: From Ancient Wisdom to World Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM

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