Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Gender in China: Gender and Culture in Contemporary China


Thursdays 13:30-16:15


WMY 508


Dr. Lynn Sun

Teaching Assistant

Xiaotong Huang

Course Description

This course takes an anthropological perspective to debate a general human category, gender, in the
context of contemporary Chinese society. Through this approach, the course will show how the notion
of gender is largely a sociocultural product. The anthropological approach helps us contemplate takenfor-granted beliefs regarding gender and sexuality. Gender politics in essence address difference and
inequality. Reflecting upon how gender became a category of analysis for anthropologists, we bring to
the fore the relationship between culture and power. Students will explore material, economic, political,
and sociocultural factors that underpin such processes of construction. This course will start by
introducing core concerns, arguments, and approaches related to gender and sexuality in China. After
the introductory sessions, we will focus, week by week, on common (or controversial) gender and
sexual issues we encounter in our daily lives. Students are encouraged to examine their own gender
identities and beliefs critically; to not only understand how our gender assumptions are shaped but also
to develop one’s own gender statements.

Course Outline

WEEK 1 (12 Jan): What is Gender, and Why do We Study Gender?: An Anthropological Approach to
Gender and Sexuality

WEEK 2 (19 Jan): Performing Chinese Femininities
NO TUTORIAL (Sign up for the tutorial facilitation)

WEEK 3 (26 Jan): NO CLASS (Lunar New Year Holiday)

WEEK 4 (2 Feb): The Hybridity and Pluralism of Contemporary Chinese Masculinities

WEEK 5 (9 Feb): Gender and the Chinese State

WEEK 6 (16 Feb): Gender, Marriage, Power and Resistance

WEEK 7 (23 Feb): Empowerment or New Forms of Exploitation?: Gendered Mobility in Contemporary

WEEK 8 (2 Mar): Presentation Day
*Reflection Paper Due

WEEK 9 (9 Mar): Gender, Class, and Work

WEEK 10 (16 Mar): Gender, Body and Consumption

WEEK 11 (23 Mar): Gender, Aging and Caregiving
Final Research Paper Proposal Due (Optional)

WEEK 12 (30 Mar): Individual Consultation Sessions (TBA)

WEEK 13 (6 Apr): NO CLASS Work on Your Final paper!

WEEK 14 (13 Apr): Gender, Eating and Cooking

WEEK 15 (20 Apr): Romancing and Queering the Cyberspace: Gender and the Charm of “Beautiful

Assessment & Assignments

Attendance and Participation 15%
Discussion Facilitation 20%
Presentation and Reflection Paper 35% (15% presentation+ 20% reflection paper)
Research paper 30%

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 . With each assignment,
students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations
and procedures.