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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Yu Huang
ANTH 370
Seattle Campus

Han Chinese Society and Culture

Themes in the society and culture of the Han Chinese people. Concepts of self; personal interaction; family, gender, and marriage; communities and the state; religion and ritual; class, social categories, and social mobility; culturalism, nationalism, and patriotism. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 370.

Class description

This course investigates the incorporation of science and technology into governing during different historical moments in China as endeavors to achieve modernization. The state continuously invokes scientific and technological rationales and practices to facilitate political control and social engineering of citizens. We frequently see how the technocratic state of China propels gigantic projects such as the Great Leap Forward, the Three Gorges Dam project, and even the recent spacewalk by the astronauts of Shenzhou 7. Technological and scientific practices can also be understood as everyday micropolitics that shape social relations, as exemplified in the “gynotechnics� through which women asserted their agency in late-imperial China, the life-cultivation arts in contemporary Beijing, and the miracle-making of Chinese medicine. This course explores how China’s governing through science and technology exemplifies a complex interrelationship between knowledge, institutional disciplinary practice, and biotechnical strategies. Key questions include: How did the urge to achieve modernity give rise to certain social engineering apparatuses? How do we understand contradictions and conflicts within technocratic rules of government? What kinds of citizenry did the state desire to cultivate and how did individuals invoke or challenge those ideas?

The key social science concepts we will explore in this course include science, technology, gender, class, elite, ideology, socialism, development, space, body, power, etc.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Yu Huang
Date: 12/09/2009