Course Code


Course Name

The Male Bond in Traditional China


Thursdays 10:30– 13:15


YIA 503


Prof. King-fai Tam

Teaching Assistant

Ka Wai Wu

Course Description

Romance of Three Kingdoms (Sankuo yanyi) and Outlaws of the Marsh (Shuihu zhuan), two masterpieces
of classical Chinese fiction, are treasure troves of traditional Chinese values. This course will focus on the
phenomenon of male bonding, an important facet of masculinity, as illustrated in these two works.
Through a close study of major selections from the novels, their filmic adaptations, background materials
and critical literature, students will come to understand the nature of close relationships between men in
Chinese culture, observable in many social situations even today.

Course Outline

WEEK 1 (January 12) Organizational Meeting

WEEK 2 (January 19) Theme and Structure of SGYY and SHZh

WEEK 3 (January 26) Chinese New Year, no class

WEEK 4 (February 4) The Study of Femininity and Masculinity in China

WEEK 5 (February 9) Traditional View of Friendship and the Five Ethical Bonds

WEEK 6 (February 16) Good and Bad Women

WEEK 7 (February 23) Male Bonding
*** February 27 Short Assignment due ***

WEEK 8 (March 2) The Sworn Brotherhood

WEEK 9 (March 9) Friendship in Rivalry

WEEK 10 (March 16) Loyalty: Making Friends with Your Boss

WEEK 11 (March 23) Consultation; Work on your paper

WEEK 12 (March 30) The Man and His Alter-ego

WEEK13 (April 6) Virtual and Real Kinship

Assessment & Assignments

Participation 10%
Presentation 25%
Short Assignment 25%
Final Paper 40%

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.