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    Understanding Chinese Society
    CHST A201
      More information: Course Guide
    Understanding Chinese Society
    Course Start Date
    Spr 2021
    Course Level
    Length in Terms
    2 terms
    Fees ($) (including lab fees)
    Future Terms
    Start Date
    Course Level Length in Terms Credits
    Fees ($)
    (including lab fees)
    Future Terms
    Spr 2021
    Middle 2 terms 10

    Course Coordinator: Dr Vincent Cheng, MPhil, PhD (HKU)

    Course Developer: Prof. Colin Mackerras

    Understanding Chinese Society is a course that deals with the culture and society of China from the perspective of anthropology and sociology. China is dealt with very explicitly. Anthropology and sociology as academic disciplines are dealt with only in passing and as a way to focus some of the questions that are asked about social change in Chinese society.

    The course traces the social changes that have affected all sections of Chinese society, with particular attention paid to the Chinese peasantry and urban dwellers. By comparing the rural and urban sections of Chinese society, the course will provide evidence that far from being homogenous, Chinese society in its traditional and contemporary forms has been and continues to be highly diversified, following sometimes conflicting sets of cultural values and norms.

    This course introduces the nature of Chinese society, both past and present, through the analysis of the political, social and economic changes that have affected China since the early 20th century. Its aim is to help you understand continuity and change in Chinese society, including what is different from the past about contemporary China and what is similar. More specifically, the course will examine the character of the Chinese family and kinship in their traditional and current forms, as well as the roles and status of women in traditional and contemporary China. It will also compare the rural and urban sections of Chinese society, and examine the way power, stratification, social mobility and educational policies operated in traditional Chinese society and have continued to do so since the 20th century.

    The course covers the following topics:

    • Introducing Chinese society

    • Historical contexts

    • Family, kinship and the individual

    • Women

    • Rural Chinese society

    • Urban Chinese society

    • Power, stratification and social mobility

    • Education

    • Social inequality

    • Continuity and change in Chinese society

    Learning support
    There are ten two-hour tutorials.

    There will be five assignments and a final examination. Students are required to submit assignments via the Online Learning Environment (OLE).

    Set book(s)
    Stockman, N (2000) Understanding Chinese Society, Cambridge: Polity.

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