Course Code


Course Name

Chinese Culture and Society in Transformation


Mondays 10:30 - 13:15




Dr. Lynn Sun

Teaching Assistant

Miss HU Yijun

Course Description

This English-taught course presents a comprehensive analysis of China’s journey towards modernity and beyond. Through readings mainly drawn from the fields of anthropology and history, as well as documentaries, films, and a field trip, students will examine the shifting representations of China as it sought modernity and how these have shaped its subjects’ sense of identity over time. Key social institutions such as family, housing, work, and healthcare will be thoroughly explored, providing insights into their dynamic adaptations in response to societal changes. Urbanization and its far-reaching impact on both rural and urban lives will also be investigated. By engaging in critical discussions and case studies, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of China’s responses to modern challenges over the past century and its continuous transformation in both a dynamic domestic and global context.


Course Outline

Week 1 NO CLASS (Inauguration Ceremony for UG Students)
September 4
No Required Reading

Week 2 Course Introduction
September 11
No Required Reading

Part I: In Search of Modernity

Week 3 The Changing Understanding of “Subject” in Modern China
September 18

Week 4 Various Expressions of Modernity
September 25

Week 5 NO Class (The Day Following National Day)
October 2

Week 6 Field Trip to the Hong Kong Museum of History (TBC)
October 9

Part II: Changing Social Institutions

Week 7 Kin, Family, and Relatedness
October 16

Week 8 NO Class (Chung Yeung Festival)
October 23

Week 9 Housing Reform
October 30

Week 10 Work
November 6

Week 11 Healthcare Reform
November 13

Part III: Social Transformation, Its Discontent and Future

Week 12 Urbanization and Personal Lives
November 20

Week 13 Rural China at the Crossroads
November 27
Monday, Dec. 4, 2023: Final Take-home Exam Due

Assessment & Assignments

Class Participation (15%)

Pop Quizzes (5% each – 20% total) 

Field Trip Report (25%)

Final Take-home Examination (40%)

Honesty in Academic Work

Students should submit written assignments to the Veriguide system and print out the Veriguide receipt and scan it into a PDF file before submitting to Blackboard. See the website: Any cases of plagiarism will be severely penalized and reported to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, which could result in failure or expulsion from the University.