Course Code


Course Name

Modern Chinese Literature


Thursdays 8:30 am - 11:15 am




Prof. GAO Yunwen

Teaching Assistant

MIAO Zixin

Course Description

This course considers the configuration of space, place, and identity in relation to languages, gender, and social class in Sinophone literature and culture. Engaging the issues of multiculturalism, linguistic plurality, narrative heteroglossia, and transnational im/mobility. This class probes the concept of the Sinophone and how it relates to, complicates, and challenges China and Chineseness. What is the Sinophone? How does it inform our readings of texts produced outside and on the margin of China and Chineseness? In challenging existing centers of power and hegemony, does the Sinophone form new centers? How does migration during different time periods and across different space shape the cultures of these Sinophone sites? Building on recent scholarship on Sinophone studies, this course draws on postcolonial and postmodern theories to examine a culturally and geographically diverse body of contemporary Sinophone fiction and film.

Course Outline


Week 1 (Sept 7) Course Overview and Explanation of Syllabus

• Shu-mei Shih, “What Is Sinophone Studies?” in Sinophone Studies, A Critical Reader, 1-16. (PDF)

Week 2 (Sept 14) Space and Place

• Shu-mei Shih, “Against Diaspora” in Sinophone Studies, A Critical Reader, 25-42. (PDF)
• Workshop on Textual Analysis
• Sign up for Discussion Leads


Week 3 (Sept 21) Hong Kong as Space and Place I

• Dung Kai-cheung 董啟章, Atlas: The Archeology of An Imaginary City 地圖集 (Part One), 1-44. (CUHK Ebook)
• Ackbar Abbas, “Introduction,” in Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997), 1-15. (PDF)

Week 4 (Sept 28) Hong Kong as Space and Place II

• Dung Kai-cheung 董啟章, Atlas: The Archeology of An Imaginary City 地圖集 (Part Two and Part Three), 45-122. (CUHK Ebook)

Week 5 (Oct 5) Hong Kong as Space and Place III

    • Dung Kai-cheung 董啟章, Atlas: The Archeology of An Imaginary City 地圖集 (Part Four), 123-153. (CUHK Ebook)
    • Ping Kwan Leung 梁秉鈞, “Images of Hong Kong,” in City at the End of Time 形象⾹港:梁秉鈞詩選, 79-102. (PDF)

Week 6 (Oct 12) Instructor out of town, no class

Week 7 (Oct 19) Hong Kong from an Outsider’s View

• Shih Shu-Ching 施叔⻘, City of the Queen: A Novel of Colonial Hong Kong ⾹港三部曲 (Part One), 1-100. (CUHK Ebook)

Week 8 (Oct 26) Taiwan as a Colonial Space I

• Ch’u T’ien-hsin 朱天⼼, “The Old Capital,” in The Old Capital 古都, 111-219. (PDF)
• Chen Letty Lingchei, “Refashioning Cultural Authenticity: Taiwan,” in Writing Chinese: Reshaping Chinese Cultural Identity, 51-76. (PDF)


Week 9 (Nov 2) Taiwan as a Colonial Space II

• Guo Songfen 郭松棻, “Moon Seal ⽉印,” in Running Mother and Other Stories, 13-80. (PDF)
• Chen Letty Lingchei, “When does ‘diaspora’ end and ‘Sinophone’ begin?” Postcolonial Studies, 2015, Vol. 18, No.1, 52-66. (PDF)

Week 10 (Nov 9) Congregation, No class

Week 11 (Nov 16) Taiwan as a Colonial Space III

• Film: A City of Sadness 悲情城市 (Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1989) (Watch at Home before the class)
• James Udden, “History in Its Place: City of Sadness (1989) and The Puppetmaster (1993),” in No Man an Island, 87-130. (PDF)

Week 12 (Nov 23)
Presentations (Group 1)

Week 13 (Nov 30)
Presentations (Group 2)

Week 14 (Dec 7)
Course Review and Writing Workshop

Final Paper due by 5pm Dec 11th

Assessment & Assignments

1) Participation and Preparation (15%) Students are required to come to class prepared, having watched the film, and completed the required readings. Students are expected to critically engage with the course content and contribute to class discussion.

2) Discussion Lead and Discussion Board Post (15%) Students are responsible for leading and moderating discussions for one seminar. Your responsibility is to prepare some questions for discussion and present your detailed preliminary thoughts on the readings and/or films. After the discussion lead, submit a write-up of your ideas of the text to Blackboard discussion board in 400-500 words. The write-up should also be submitted to Veriguide.

3) Reading Quizzes (15%) There will be three unannounced quizzes (5% each – 15% total) that will cover the reading materials assigned on Blackboard. The format includes multiple choices questions and short answer questions.

4) Preliminary Presentation of Seminar Paper (15%) Present your preliminary ideas of final paper research (15-20 minutes) during the final two class sessions. Provide your findings and potential argument. Also, think about areas of your paper you are still struggling with, or that you would like some feedback on, and discuss those with your classmates.

5) Seminar Paper (40%) Choose work(s) from the syllabus to examine in greater detail and intellectual depth, in addition to drawing from secondary sources. The paper should demonstrate rigorous critical thinking and assessment in 4500 words (12pt, Times New Roman, double-spaced, MLA format). All course assignments should be uploaded to Veriguide before submission.

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 each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures. Use of AI tool in any form is strictly prohibited in this course.

Use of AI tool in any form is strictly prohibited in this course.