ASIAN 204 A: Literature and Culture of China from Tradition to Modernity

Autumn 2022
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm / SMI 305
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
C LIT 250 B
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):


C LIT 250B SLN 12094 VLPA/I&S

TTh 1:30-3:20 pm, Smith 305

Prof. John Christopher (Chris) Hamm

M245 Gowen Hall (206) 543-4974

Office Hours: T, Th 10:30-11:30 am

Course Overview

At the turn of the 20th century, the growth of commercial publishing and the spread of periodicals helped revolutionize the ways literature was produced and read in China. Over the next hundred years, technological and economic developments fostered the growth of various visual and audiovisual media, including radio, film, and television. And by the early 21st century, the internet had opened up radical new opportunities for the producers and consumers of culture—and perhaps eroded the distinction between the two. What sorts of literature and culture have been produced and circulated through these modern media? What roles have developments in media and technology played in the story of China’s modern culture? How have technological developments and cultural trends shaped and been shaped by the nation’s social and political changes over the course of modern history? In this course, we will explore these questions by reading, viewing, and discussing a sampling of literary and cinematic works from modern China.

No knowledge of the Chinese language required; lecture, discussion, readings, assignments, and tests will be in English.

No prerequisites; previous college-level coursework on any aspect of China or on literature of any sort is helpful but not required.

Learning Objectives

The course offers the opportunity to:

  • Become acquainted with general trends in the history of modern Chinese literature, film, and culture, and with representative artists and works
  • Explore the relationships between cultural artifacts and their social, material, and political contexts
  • Learn a range of tools for analyzing literary and cinematic works
  • Practice developing analytical arguments and presenting them in oral and written forms

Course Components and Assessment

Grading Scale


Course Policies

Schedule Grid

Overview of Readings and Films

Lecture Slides

Catalog Description:
Introduction to modern Chinese literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
February 26, 2024 - 7:40 pm