Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Culture and Society in Modern China

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION China is one of the world's largest countries and a land of great diversity and a rich and turbulent history. This unit introduces students to Chinese society and culture with a focus on modern China. The study unit will be spread across a variety of areas of focus. The study unit will focus on the impact of modernity and globalizing forces. It will contextualize the transformations of modern China in light of the impact of Western contact as well as endogenous movements for social change throughout the turbulent twentieth century.

While the historical focus will loom large the approach will be ethnographic as well as sociological with insights taken from methods in cultural studies. We will go over the basic contours of Chinese society and history and adopting an anthropological depth on certain select aspects of contemporary Chinese society. Some of the topics that the study unit will cover include:

(1) History and Geography of China
(2) Chinese paths to modernity.
(3) Religion in China
(4) Health and the body
(5) Constructing the Chinese nation
(6) China 'beyond the heartland'
(7) Ethnic diversity in china
(8) Gender and kinship in China
(9) Sex and Gender in China.
(10) Literature and Popular culture.
(11) Chinese Political Economy
(12) Urbanization and Population growth in China.

Study-unit Aims

This unit will aim to:
- Offer students an introduction to the modern history, culture and society of China.
- Enable students to gain a solid introduction to the structure and and path of Chinese modernity.
- Enable the students to undertake more specialist units on the region and on China.
- Increase the awareness of the region as a complex and rapidly changing social environment with a deep, shared tradition.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Provide an overview of the history and an overview of the transformations and impact of modernity on the region.
- Analyze the impact of colonialism and globalization on the socio-cultural transformations of the region.
- Produce an informed and comparative discussion of select themes of Chinese society.
- Have an awareness of the the major ethnographic and/or sociological literature on the region

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Perform under exam conditions.
- Perform group tasks
- Synthesize knowledge learned throughout the course and its readings in response to set questions.

All of these skills are transferable and will prove invaluable to students in other subjects as well in any future careers they undertake.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

General Textbooks:

- Gamer, R.E. (ed.) (2008) Understanding Contemporary China. London: Rienner.

Material from the textbook will be supplemented by a umber of readings assembled in a reader for the students.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Seminar & Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation No 50%
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Jean-Paul Baldacchino

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.