Course Code


Course Name

Perspectives on Chinese Studies


Mondays 3:30PM - 6:15PM




Prof. Kristof VAN DEN TROOST

Teaching Assistant

Mavis Siu

Course Description

This is a required course for all students in the Chinese Arts and Culture (CAC) stream of the MA in Chinese Studies. It has three aims:

(i) To enhance students’ academic literacy and develop writing and research skills required to complete the MA in Chinese Studies (reading, writing, citation and academic ethics);

(ii) To introduce students to the field of Chinese Studies and its history, and to provide tips on how to “watch China” from different perspectives;

(iii) To explore different dimensions of how film can be used to study Chinese culture and society.

Course Outline

Week 1 (4/9): Introduction
Owen, Stephen. “What Is the Future of China’s Past?” In The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power, edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi, 283-87. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.

Week 2 (11/9): Academic Research and Writing
Mullaney, Thomas S., and Christopher Rea. Where Research Begins: Choosing a Research Project That Matters to You (and the World). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022.

Week 3 (18/9): Library Workshop and Tour
[This class will take place at the University Library. Our meeting point: Digital Scholarship Lab, G/F.]

Week 4 (25/9): Chinese Studies: Field and Method I
Stockman, Norman. “Working in No Man’s Land: Between Sociology and Chinese Studies.” Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies 8, no. 2 (2018): 130-143.

Derichs, Claudia, Ariel Heryanto, and Itty Abraham. “Area Studies and Disciplines: What Disciplines and What Areas? Current Debates.” Internationales Asien Forum. International Quarterly for Asian Studies 51, no. 3-4 (2020): 1-15.

Cohen, Paul A. “How Has the Study of China Changed in the Last Sixty Years?” In The China Questions, edited by Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi, 283-87. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.

***Wednesday 27/9 CUHK Research Ethics Training & Annotated Bibliography Due***

*** 2/10 Public Holiday—The Day Following National Day: NO CLASS ***

Week 5 (9/10): Chinese Studies: Field and Method II
Liu, Lydia H. “Introduction: The Problem of Language in Cross-Cultural Studies.” In Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity-China, 1900-1937, 1-42. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Chen, Kuan-Hsing. Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. 211-

Week 6 (16/10): Field Trip I: Hong Kong Heritage Museum (tbc)

*** 23/10 Public Holiday—Chung Yeung Festival: NO CLASS ***

Week 7 (30/10): Theoretical Frameworks in Chinese Film & Cultural Studies
Higson, Andrew. 1989. “The Concept of National Cinema.” Screen 30 (4): 36-47.

Berry, Chris, and Mary Farquhar. “Introduction: Cinema and the National.” In China on Screen: Cinema and Nation, 1-16. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Shih, Shu-mei. “The Concept of the Sinophone.” PMLA, Vol.126, No.3 (May 2011): 709-718.

Week 8 (6/11): Film and Chinese Aesthetics [Screening: Dragon Inn, 1967]
Chow, Rey. “Introduction: On Chineseness as a Theoretical Problem.” In Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory, edited by Rey Chow, 1-25. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

Rodriguez, Hector. “Questions of Chinese Aesthetics: Film Form and Narrative Space in the Cinema of King Hu.” Cinema Journal 38, no. 1 (1998): 73-97.

Week 9 (13/11): Film and Chinese Society I: Genre. [Screening: The Wandering Earth, 2019]

Song, Mingwei. “Variations on Utopia in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction.” Science Fiction Studies 40 (2013): 85-102.

Langford, Barry. “Who Needs Genres?” In Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond, 1-28. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. (Especially pages 13-22)

Week 10 (20/11): Field Trip II: Hong Kong Film Archive (tbc)

***Wednesday 22/11 Film Analysis Due***

Week 11 (27/11): Film and Chinese Society II: Realism [Screening: A Touch of Sin, 2013]

Stuckey, G. Andrew. “Documentarization and Amplified Realism in Jia Zhangke’s Films.” In Metacinema in Contemporary Chinese Film, 78-99. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2018.

Week 12 (4/12): Conclusion

***Tuesday 5 December Literature Review Due***

Assessment & Assignments

Annotated bibliography 20%
CUHK research ethics training 10%
Film analysis 30%
Literature review 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 VeriGuide declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.