Course Code


Course Name

Contemporary China: Summer Fieldwork


May 16-20, 23-25, 27, Jun 19
9:30 am – 12:30 pm




GAO Yunwen

Teaching Assistant

Hu Yijun

Miao Zixin

Liu Yiling

Course Description

In this course, students will be guided to explore significant issues such as urban development, religious sites and practices, immigration history, preservation of cultural heritage, entertainment culture, gender and marriage in Southern China. Through the case studies of Quanzhou, Xiamen, and Shunde, the course aims to prepare students for future fieldwork in China and other Chinese-speaking communities. For example, as a key historical city, Quanzhou in Fujian province has a rich history of maritime trade. The name of the city, Zayton 刺桐, became worldwide famous since the 11th century. Regarded as the starting point of Maritime Silk Road, the city was visited by travelers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. The diverse population residing in the city also resulted in the co-existence of various religions, Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism, Manichaeism, to name just a few. Religious practices are married to local culture in every aspect of life. Nanyin 南音, literally translated as the Music of the South, is an essential component of Buddhist and Daoist culture. Classified as the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2009, Nanyin remains popular among the locals regardless of age. As a port city, Quanzhou was also the ancestral homeland of the immigrant population in Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries. The Belt and Road initiative adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 has once again brought government support and public attention to the city. Today, Quanzhou is the home of many domestic manufacturers of clothes and shoes, including Anta, Qipilang, and Tebu.

Course Outline

May 16 (MON):Course Overview and Maritime Quanzhou

May 17 (TUE):Maritime Culture and History of Southern China

May 18 (WED):Religious Life in Southern China

MAY 19 (THU):Music and Cultural Heritage in Southern China

MAY 20 (FRI):Leisure Time in Southern China

MAY 23 (MON):History of Immigration and Contemporary Connections with SE Asia

MAY 24 (TUE):Gender and Marriage in Southern China

MAY 25 (WED):Culinary Tourism in Southern China

MAY 27 (FRI):Final Group Presentations

JUN 19 (FRI):Final Group Paper due

Assessment & Assignments

Participation                 30%

Reading Report (due May 22)         20%

Final Group Project (May 27)         25%

Group Research Paper (due June 19) 25%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at