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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John C. Hamm
CHIN 553
Seattle Campus

Second-Year Classical Chinese

Continuation of CHIN 551, CHIN 552. Intermediate level readings in Han and pre-Han historical and philosophical texts. Prerequisite: CHIN 551 and CHIN 552. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Chinese 553, a unit in the Department's second-year Classical Chinese series, offers continuing training in the skills needed to read texts in literary Chinese (wenyan). This year we will be reading a selection of Qing dynasty narrative and expository prose. The primary emphasis in the course is on grammar and lexicon, supplemented as needed with attention to rhetoric, textual criticism, and literary history. Some secondary scholarship in English and Chinese may also be assigned.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The majority of class time will be devoted to close reading of the assigned primary texts. Preparation of a primary text should include: noting the correct pronunciation of words (in modern Mandarin); discovering the contextually appropriate meaning of lexical items; analyzing grammatical structures; explaining allusions and references; being prepared to render the text into semantically and grammatically appropriate English. Preparation of the secondary readings involves being able to critically summarize the reading's main points and comment thoughtfully on its relevance to the primary readings.

Recommended preparation

Completion of the first-year Classical sequence (Chinese 451-2-3) is required for enrollment. Previous terms in the second-year sequence (551, 552), and other coursework in Chinese literature, are recommended but not required. Add codes are available from the instructor.

Class assignments and grading

See above under "general method of instruction." In addition to preparing the assigned readings, each student is required to complete as a final project an annotated translation of a selection or selections not covered in class.

Course grades will be assigned on the basis of class participation (40%), quizzes on the assigned readings (30%), and the final project (30%).


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: 02/16/2012