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CHIN 496 A: Special Studies in Chinese

Seattle city skyline and Mt. Rainier
Meeting Time: 
TThF 10:00am - 11:20am
* *
Dept profile
Chan Lü

Syllabus Description:

Course Description

This content-based bilingual course will lead students to interpret the history of the foremost city in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle – and the implications for its present and future. Using Seattle as an example, the course will also guide students to explore the history and current issues of Chinese Americans in the U.S. In addition, students will examine the ways in which identities of Chinese Americans have constituted and positioned their identities, and how such identities are represented, through various mediums of popular culture.  Students will have opportunities to not only learn from books and classrooms, but also from working with organizations outside – students will have opportunities to help develop bilingual materials for local museums and other non-profit organizations to make the public space of Seattle more multilingual. The course aim to enroll both Chinese native speakers and Chinese learners; therefore, through learning the course content, students will have the opportunities to enhance their nonnative languages in all four skills, especially in the formal register. 

Required Course Materials

Excerpts from print materials in English:

Chang, Iris (2004), The Chinese in America. Penguin Books. 

Sale, R. (1978). Seattle: Past to Present. University of Washington Press.

Chin A. (1992): Golden tassels: a history of the Chinese in Washington, 1857-1992.

Excerpts from print materials in Chinese:


Children’s book:

Leung, Julie (2019) Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. Schwartz & Wade.

Graphic novel:

Yang, Gene Luen (2013), American Born Chinese. First Second.

Newspaper articles in Chinese from various media outlets


Documentaries and Films:

- Journey of a Paper Son

- Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

- Flower Drum Song; Joy Luck Club; Saving Face

Find all/additional readings on the Module pages.

Course Format/Structure

Tuesday/Thursday: In class meetings; Fridays: Online meetings or field trips

Student Outcomes/Learning Goals

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  1. Improve their language and cross-cultural communication skills in conveying their understanding regarding issues within the frame of the course.
  2. Form strong critical and analytical skills in examining complex and nuanced social and cultural phenomena
  3. Produce most kinds of formal and informal correspondence, in-depth summaries, and reports on a variety of social, academic, and professional topics. Their treatment of these issues moves beyond the concrete to the abstract.
  4. Be able to demonstrate the ability to explain complex matters, and to present and support opinions by developing cogent arguments and hypotheses. 
  5. Be able to use structure, lexicon, and writing protocols effectively, in an organized manner and to prioritize ideas to convey to the reader what is significant. 
  6. Be able to translate materials from English to Chinese or vice versa with attention to style, tone, and cultural sensitivity.


The course involves weekly reading responses, reading and translation exercises, and a final oral report/project.

Find complete assignment details and due dates on the Assignments page.


Attendance and participation: 10%

Reading responses: 30%

Translation exercises: 30%

Final presentation: 20%

Final portfolio: 10%

Total: 100%

Late Assignments

Assignments that are up to one class meeting late will lose 10% credit, and up to two meetings late 20% credit. Late assignments will not be accepted after two class meetings without special approval from the instructor. If you know you will miss class, talk to the instructor in advance

For other policies and resources, please refer to  CHIN 496 Syllabus 2019.pdf





Catalog Description: 
Topics vary.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:40pm