Chinese Culture: Transformation

Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has been in the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China's economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing the full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of Chinese culture in transformation.
Key questions of the course:
(1) What are the Four Great Classical Chinese Novels? What are the stories about? Why are they so famous and influential in Chinese literature?
(2) What is special about the art of Chinese operas? What are the symbolic meanings behind the face make-up, gestures and costumes? How do the operas serve as a medium for transmitting knowledge in Chinese culture?
(3) Why did the private Confucian academies thrive in the Song dynasty? Why was the famous Donglin Academy suppressed by the state in the Ming dynasty? How were the private academies engaged in the state educational reforms in the late Qing dynasty?
(4) How did New Confucianism emerge as a movement in the 20th century? What were the aspirations of the New Confucians? How did they address modern challenges to the development of Chinese science, democracy and cosmology? Did they succeed in modernizing Confucianism?
(5) What were the traditional expectations of gender roles in China? How was gender politics heightened in the labour force in early New China? What light does the film Li Shuangshuang shed on the gender awareness of Chinese socialism?

  • Video Transcript: English