Course Code


Course Name

Perspectives on Chinese Studies


Friday 10.30 - 13.15


WMY 502



Teaching Assistant

Huang Xiaotong

Course Description

This is a required course for all students in the Issues in Contemporary China (ICC) stream on the MA in Chinese Studies in 2023-24. 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 provide a brief introduction to the field of Chinese Studies today.
(iii) To explore some topical issues in the study of contemporary China.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students should:

1. Have improved their skills at academic writing, active reading, and critical thinking, and understand what is needed to produce a research paper to the standards required for the MA programme at CCS.
2. Have improved their ability to engage in informed discussion of a range of issues in the study of contemporary China.

Course Outline

Part 1: Introduction and Academic Literacy
Week 1 (8 Sept): Introduction.

Weeks 2 & 6 (15 Sept & 13 Oct): Academic literacy
– for all students, partially in workshop format, led by the course instructor and teaching assistant, to include training in research ethics.

Part 2: China Studies
Weeks 3-5 (22 & 29 Sept, 6 Oct): Introduction to the field of Chinese Studies – three weeks of lectures & tutorial discussions. Readings:
– Claudia Derichs, Ariel Heryanot, Itty Abraham. Area Studies and Disciplines: What Disciplines and What Areas? International Quarterly for Asian Studies 51(3-4), 2020.
– Arif Dirlik. Global Modernity and the Predicament of Social Science: The Case of China. Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2(1), 2009.
– Ivan Franceschini and Nicholas Loubere. Global China as Method. Cambridge Elements: Global China. Cambridge University Press, 2022.
– Gao Mobo. Constructing China: Clashing Views of the People’s Republic. London: Pluto Press, 2018.
– Evelyn Goh. Introduction – China in International Affairs: a century of encounter, 2022 [here]
– Kevin J. O’Brien. Speaking to Theory and Speaking to the China Field. Issues & Studies 54(4), 2018.
– Norman Stockman. Working in No Man’s Land: Between Sociology and Chinese Studies. Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies 8(2), 2018. 

Part 3: Issues in Contemporary China
Field trips, lectures and discussions around current issues in the study of contemporary China, with a focus on Hong Kong and on US-China relations. Readings and further details will be posted on Blackboard.
– Local field trips in Hong Kong, Weeks 7 & 10 (20 Oct & 10 Nov. – TBC)
– US-China relations, Weeks 8-9 (27 Oct. & 3 Nov.)
– Hong Kong in wider context, Weeks 11-12 (17 & 24 Nov.)

Week 13 (1 Dec.): Concluding class.


Assessment & Assignments

1. Assignment 1: Academic literacy exercises (10%) and CUHK research ethics training (10%). Deadline 10am on Friday 22 September, to be submitted to the Teaching Assistant.

2. Assignment 2 (30%): Chinese Studies. A review essay of at least 2,000 words on course references for Weeks 3-5 (list will be shared in Week 1). Deadline 6pm on Monday 9 October.

3. Assignment 3 (50%). An extended essay of around 4,000 words on an issue or topic in contemporary China, including but not limited to those covered in Weeks 7-12 class. Deadline 6pm on Wednesday 13 December.

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.