CCCH9040 China: Culture, State and Society
The course looks at representations of contemporary China (1979-present) in popular Chinese-language films. The cinematic texts are read not just as a “reflection” of Chinese society but as discursive constructions, the product of variable and historically specific sets of relations within particular contexts, and with a complex relationship to social change. Centering on the dynamic interplay between film and society, class discussions encompass issues that have attracted increasing scholarly attention in the field of China Studies in recent years, such as the rise of Chinese nationalism, the emergence of middle class(es) and a consumer society, globalization and cosmopolitanism, nostalgia about the Cultural Revolution, etc. The course aims at cultivating critical thinking among students about the identity of China and Chineseness as well as an array of important cultural and social issues related to post-socialist China and the rise of China in the 21st century. It also seeks to enable students to explore the interpretive possibilities of working within a comparative framework in researching a non-western culture.
Course Learning Outcomes
On completing the course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate adequate knowledge about Chinese cultural history since 1949 and the development of film in contemporary China.
- Apply the conceptual tools learnt from the course to critically read filmatic texts.
- Demonstrate skills of examining popular culture in the Chinese context.
- Demonstrate an awareness of major social issues in contemporary China and their significance for a globalizing world.
Offer Semester and Day of Teaching
Second semester (Wed)
|Activities||Number of hours|
|Reading / Self-study||40|
|Assessment: Essay / Report writing||20|
|Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation)||8|
Assessment: 100% coursework
- Berry, C. (Ed.). (2003). Chinese films in focus: 25 new takes. London: British Film Institute.
- Berry, C. (Ed.). (2008). Chinese films in focus II. Basingstoke, UK; New York: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan.
- Berry, C., & Farquhar, M. (2006). China on screen. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Zhang, Y. (2002). Screening China: Critical interventions, cinematic reconfigurations, and the transnational imaginary in contemporary Chinese cinema. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan.