Course Code


Course Name

Unofficial China


Lecture: Tuesdays 2:30-4:15pm
Tutorial 1: Tuesdays 3:30-4:15pm
Tutorial 2: TBA


Lecture: WMY_407
Tutorial 1: WMY_407
Tutorial 2: TBA


Dr. Lynn Sun

Teaching Assistant

Miss. Cailitana Mamuti

Course Description

What is it like to live as a child, a gay, a migrant, a non-Han, a disabled, or an online celebrity in today’s China? How do we decode Chinese society and culture beyond cannons and official records? This English-taught course moves beyond state ideologies and official accounts by exploring the multiplicity of Chinese livelihoods and their underlying sociocultural meanings and implications. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach to offer a survey of Chinese cultures and societies as expressed and experienced at the grassroots level. Students will be guided to engage with both textual and non-textual materials produced by Chinese individuals and groups to appreciate the multiplicity of social lives and form critical understanding of Chinese social norms, cultural patterns, and their deviations. This Faculty Package course serves as an introduction to Chinese Studies.

Course Outline

Week 1
Sept. 5 Course Introduction
NO Tutorial (Sign up for your tutorial group)

Part I Drawing Fine Lines Between Official and Unofficial

Week 2
Sept. 12 Making Official: Ethnic Classification in PRC

Week 3
Sept. 19 Making “Strangers”

Week 4
Sept. 26 Missing Voices: Memory and Politics


Part II Living Experiences on the Edge

Week 5
Oct. 3 Desire and Disability

Week 6
Oct. 10 Migrant Labor and Love

Week 7
Oct. 17 “Disappeared” Children

Week 8
Oct. 24 Presentation Day


Part III: Carving Out Alternative Spaces

Week 9
Oct. 31 Courtship on Screen

Week 10
Nov. 7 The Internet, Censorship, and Resistance
Group Final Project synopsis due (OPTIONAL)

Week 11
Nov. 14 Individual/Group Consultation (TBA)

Week 12
Nov. 21 “Zheng NengLiang” (Positive Energy) and Its Discontent

Week 13
Nov. 28 Student Group Screening and Presentation

Submitting your videos by noon, Nov. 28

Individual written commentary for the final project is due by noon, Dec. 5, 2023. Unexcused late submissions will result in grade deduction (5% per day).

Assessment & Assignments

1. Class Attendance & Participation (15%)

2. Pop Quizzes (5% each – 20% total) 

3. Individual Presentation (25%)

4. Final Project (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 the 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.