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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John C. Hamm
CHIN 583
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Modern Chinese Literature

Directed study of selected works of modern Chinese literature. Primary focus on the novel, short story, and essay.

Class description

Modern Chinese literature is often read in anthologies or in sets of an author’s collected works. Yet much of it sees first publication in newspaper supplements or in literary, cultural, or entertainment periodicals, where a given short story or chapter of a novel shares the page with a cornucopia of literary and extra-literary elements, and vies with them for the reader’s attention. In what ways has periodical publication shaped the production, circulation, and reception of modern Chinese fiction? What insights into individual works do we gain from considering them in the context of their original publication? What can the study of Chinese literary periodicals contribute to the theorization of the literary field and literature as a communicative process? This seminar will survey recent secondary scholarship in English and Chinese and employ the University of Washington Library’s rich holdings of original materials in an exploration of these questions. The course will be conducted as a seminar. Students are required to prepare the assigned readings, make in-class presentations, participate thoughtfully and actively in discussion, pursue self-directed research, and contribute to a joint research project. The period(s), periodicals, and works studied will be chosen with reference to students’ interest. Potential areas of focus include: *The material, social, and political history of Chinese literary periodicals *Analysis of literary works with reference to the context of publication *Theoretical studies of print culture, serialization, and literary media *Archival work with material in the University of Washington libraries *“Post-periodical” media and the online distribution of literature

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Written Work (40%): Students will write two book reviews, of a maximum of 1000 words each. We will discuss everyone’s first review in class.


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 John C. Hamm
Date: 11/20/2011