East Asian Languages and Cultures | Seminar in Modern Chinese Literature
C671 | 26247 | Zou

TOPIC: Materialism and Intellectual Culture in Late Imperial and
Modern China

This course will examine material culture in both late imperial and
modern periods, as well as their connections.  We will investigate
the development of commerce, entertainment, and other forms of
material culture in late imperial China, and ask how literati
respond to them in philosophical, aesthetic, and practical terms,
and how these responses take directions different from previous
periods.  Particularly, we will pay attention to the rise of the
city space and its function in integrating various facets of
material culture.  We will then consider how the late imperial
material culture is transformed into various discourses in the 20th
century, such as the nationalistic discourse of economic
development, the discourse of science, the bourgeois discourse of
consumption and fashion, and the discourse of anti-materialism.
Modern intellectual’s evocation of Confucianism and Buddhism in
resistance to a loosely defined materialism is one of our focal
points.  Readings include such works as Dongjing meng hua lu, Hai
shang hua, essays by Yan Fu, Liang Shuming, and Zhang Taiyan, and
prose, drama, fiction, and other novels in both periods.

Course requirements: active class participation, one research
project, and a term paper (20-25 pages)