ASIAN 264 - Looking at Traditional China Through its Most Famous Novel, The Story of the Stone
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (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:


In this class, we will try together to get a better understanding of traditional Chinese culture by reading and discussing a very long eighteenth-century novel that has both been praised as a veritable encyclopedia of Chinese life and mattered deeply to countless Chinese readers, some of whom read it year after year. Because the novel focuses on life within the household and the majority of its major characters are female, one of the foci of the course will be on the life of Chinese women during the time the novel was written. Class meetings will feature a number of different activities. One of these will be informal debates on specific topics. Topics to be debated can be the questions to think about indicated in the class schedule or may be chosen by the class. In the second half of the term, groups of three students (respectively taking the positions of pro, con, and judge) will also be asked to present to the class brief materials (articles, chapters from books) that they will read but the rest of the class will not. Finally, topics for debate may be introduced in class by means of illustrations, overhead transparencies, or video material. The main goal of the various debates will be to permit us to get a wider and richer view of the novel and the culture that produced it. We will also be interested in relating what we see in the novel to life around us and material we have learned in other contexts. The procedure of debating topics from different points of view will help us be more critical about our own beliefs and predilections.

Course Requirements:

Students will submit short pre-class assignments, write two short papers (there is the option of doing a creative project in lieu of one of the papers), and take a final exam. Good class attendance and performance is important.

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates interested in China, Chinese culture, Chinese literature, non-western literature, and literature in general

Class Format:

Discussion supplemented by short lectures and presentations on the novel and Chinese culture


ASIAN 264 - Looking at Traditional China Through its Most Famous Novel, The Story of the Stone
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM

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