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CC5001 Introduction to the Study of Chinese Culture

This course covers the basic knowledge and skills expected of M.A. students of Chinese culture, and is required for all first year students. The course will be divided into four learning units: methodology, format and style of essay writing, introduction of reference materials, traditional bibliography as well as classic works of Chinese culture in the East and the West. In addition to strengthening basic academic training, this course aims in a concise and systematic way to introduce, analyze as well as evaluate the key concepts that will aid graduate students on their road to becoming professional scholars.


CC5002 Studying Chinese Culture through Fieldtrips

This course is required for all M.A. first year students. As the old Chinese saying goes: the gain from travel and experience is greater than that from books. The Grand Historian, Sima Qian, is able to write so well because he travelled extensively. Likewise, abstract learning and concrete experience will become one when students learn to combine book learning with on-site visits.  Hence, direct observation of cultural heritage sites is essential for graduate students in the humanities. This course will focus on four topics: Clans and Rituals, Historical Figures and Sites, Revolution and Social Movement as well as Folk Belief and Religion. Organized into four study tours, students will have the opportunity to visit cultural and historical sites of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. Before each field trip, the teacher responsible will introduce the relevant research and reading materials.  During the field trip, the teacher will provide on-site explanations and respond to students’ queries. After each field trip, the teacher in charge will guide the students to give presentations on their experience of the tour. Finally, the teacher will provide a summation of the field trip. 


Core Area 1: Society and Culture

CC5101 Chinese Dietary Culture

The subject aims at introducing students to the study of Chinese dietary culture or food culture. Students will consider questions such as how tea, wine, salt and sugar become the indispensable elements in the Chinese people’s daily lives, and how food and drinks interact with politics, economics, society and even literature. The subject also examines how and where good food and drinks are produced and prepared and the contributions of the Chinese minority ethnic groups to the development of Chinese dietary culture.  Students will also be encouraged to explore new horizons of the study of Chinese dietary culture with references to modern food industry, catering service, tourism and food therapy.


CC5102 Chinese Customs and Etiquettes

The course introduces social customs such as the rites of passage in major regions and major dialect communities in China. It explores the reasons for differences in customs and rites across space and time and relates them to the characteristics and essence of Chinese culture.


CC5103 Underground Societies in China

Underground societies, otherwise known as secret societies, refer to organizations of underprivileged groups that are formed initially for self-preservation and mutual help.  As they operate in secrecy, they often develop in opposition to mainstream society and may even pose threats to it.  This subject aims to unveil the mystique that shrouds the operation of underground societies in China, and to evaluate their social and political functions at various points of Chinese history.


CC5104 Folk Beliefs and Occult Science

Chinese folk beliefs are one of the most important cultural components in the daily lives of the commoners. While worship in gods and spirits and their related ceremonies constitute the basic characteristics of beliefs in folk religions, these activities are also metaphoric expressions of their social outlook. Traditional occult science refers to the practices of professional diviners and magicians, which reveal their understanding of the relationship between the macrocosm and microcosm. From the perspectives of history, cultural anthropology, folklore and religious studies, this subject aims at introducing the basic concepts of Chinese folk beliefs and occult science. The subject also examines their origins and developments. Students will accordingly be inspired to explore the significance of these practices in Chinese society, and to grasp the hidden internal order and social norms of the Chinese society.


CC5105 Gender and Sexuality in Modern China

Gender issues are essential to the analysis of society and culture. In the wake of the rise of the feminist movement in the West in the late 19th century, the clamour for emancipation among Chinese women rocked and almost overturned the gender stereotypes and the traditional values that were imposed on the female sex.  This course examines various prominent gender issues in modern China such as the women emancipation movement, women education, the economic independence and careers of women, the socializing practices between men and women, morality and chastity, the abolition of prostitution and the image of women as projected in the mass media.


CC5106 Chinese Films and Society

Film is the most influential art medium in the 20th century, where Chinese films resemble a clear mirror which reflects the ups and downs of contemporary Chinese history. Chinese films first captured people’s attention in 20s and then flourished in 30s. However, the War of Resistance against the Japanese invasion that broke out in 1937 hindered the development of its creativity. The Civil War that broke out in 1946 and the post-1949 political instability further slowed down the pace of development of Chinese films. The subject aims at exploring the very close relationship between Chinese films and contemporary Chinese history through the examination of films.


CC5107 Special Topic on Society and Culture

The instructor will select a topic from the “Society and Culture” cluster for in-depth analysis.  Students will be guided to investigate the purposes of current researches, their strengths and weaknesses and other issues such as methodology and avenues for future research.


CC5115 Modern China’s Intra-Asian Political and Cultural Relations

This subject surveys the interactions between China and other Asian societies–independent states, colonies and puppet states–in the modern period. Material is discussed taking into account both thematic diversity and chronological order. We explore the ways in which political activists, intellectuals and state actors have engaged “Asia” as a transnational concept, constructed cultural identities, and understood and even remade the international order in which they operated. Taking as its departure point the multiple and contested meanings of Asia, this subject encourages students to critically examine the historical evolution of power relations in the region and beyond. They will also have the opportunity to assess the promises and challenges of intra-Asian integration and reconciliation in the present century.


Core Area 2 : Religions and Thought

CC5201 Government and Education in Confucianism

The course introduces the gist of Confucian canons and classic commentaries and the important ideas therein, the life and scholarship of eminent Confucians, and the evolution of doctrinal interpretations of the Classics over times, whereby their bearing on the development of Chinese government and education will become clear. It discusses the impact of Confucian thought on the political ideas as well as the political and social institutions in Chinese history. It also studies the Confucian proposals for moral self-cultivation and for the maintenance of the social order, in addition to considering the practice of selected Confucian social programs.


CC5202 Buddhism and Chinese Culture

This course aims at examining the fundamental differences between Chinese and Indian cultures, alongside with Buddhist doctrinal issues, and dissemination of the religion from India to China. Incorporating a historical perspective, this course focuses on the formation of indigenous Chinese Buddhism in the process of acculturation. This will be achieved by exploring Buddhist influence on various dimensions of Chinese culture such as folk-custom, philosophy, politics, literature, language and art. Through topical studies demonstrating continuous interactions between Buddhism and Chinese thoughts, students are expected to acquire a clear and overall picture of Chinese culture in ancient and modern times. Selection of topics is geared at scholarship, interest and diversity.


CC5203 Daoism and Chinese Culture

This course aims at exploring Daoism and Chinese culture with lectures and research fieldtrips.  Daoist beliefs in deities, Daoist conceptions of immortality, Daoist festivals and rituals, Daoist temples and architecture, Daoist practice of spirit-writing, Daoist morality books and ethics, etc., are among the topics that the course will cover.


CC5204 Islam, Christianity and Chinese Culture

In the early Tang dynasty (681-907), Christianity and Islam entered China.  Since then, the two religions have co-existed side by side with the Chinese culture. This course examines the encounter and interaction between Christianity and Islam on the one hand, and the Chinese culture on the other, their respective paths of development in Chinese history, as well as the long process of their assimilation and integration into Chinese culture.


CC5205 Special Topic on Religions and Thought

The instructor will select a topic from the “Religions and Thought” cluster for in-depth analysis.  Students will be guided to investigate the purposes of current researches, their strengths and weaknesses and other issues such as methodology and avenues for future research.


Core Area 3 : Literature and Arts

CC5301 The Expression and Application of Chinese Writing

This course discusses the characteristics of Chinese writings, and through the analysis of celebrated pieces of writings of different literary forms over time as well as problem pieces in newspapers and magazines, guides students to master the theory and basic techniques of practical writings.


CC5302 Appreciation of Chinese Classical Rhymed Writings

This course introduces the various forms of rhymed writings in Chinese literature. It seeks to uncover the mind and sensibilities of the writers through analytical appreciation of the artistry in their works. It also discusses the role classical rhymed writings in the shaping of Chinese culture.


CC5303 Appreciation of Chinese Calligraphy and Paintings

The main purpose of this course is to teach students how to appreciate and analyze Chinese art in general, and calligraphy and paintings in particular. Contrary to the common sense that considers art appreciation an inborn quality of human beings, it takes art-historical knowledge to understand art. This course will place Chinese calligraphy and paintings in their own contexts of production and consumption and make the appreciation of them relevant to our daily life.


CC5304 Chinese Traditional Theatre and Performing Arts

The subject aims at introducing students to the basic concept of “theatre” through  a series of thematic studies of Kun opera, Peking opera, Sichuan opera, Cantonese opera, as well as the study of storytelling in Suzhou dialect with string instruments, storytelling in Shantung dialect with drum, twist talk and blind’s song in the Southern melody. The subject also examines the role of the performers from various performing arts including actors, musicians, play writers, singers etc., in traditional Chinese society. It further explores the beauty of Chinese theatre from an aesthetic perspective, with the hope of identifying the uniqueness of Chinese performing arts.


CC5305 Special Topic on Literature and Arts

The instructor will select a topic from the “Literature and Arts” cluster for in-depth analysis.  Students will be guided to investigate the purposes of current researches, their strengths and weaknesses and other issues such as methodology and avenues for future research.


CC5311 Classical Chinese Fiction

This course introduces students to the development of classical Chinese fiction through representative literary works from different periods before the collapse of the dynastic system.


CC5312 Modern Chinese Literature

This course introduces students to the development of modern Chinese literature through representative literary works published since the late Qing.


Other Free Electives & MA Thesis

CC5401 Businessmen and Business Culture in China

This course adopts a historical approach in describing the origins and development of Chinese commerce, introducing and analyzing from different angles the status and function and influence of the merchant in traditional and modern Chinese society. It also introduces the forms and transformation of merchant organizations and explores their regional and cultural characteristics.


CC5402 Cultural Tourism and Chinese Culture

This course examines the relationship between culture and tourism. It aims to explore various cultural aspects pertaining to Chinese literature, philosophy, history, religion, art and ethnology and their interactions with resources related to tourism. Apart from understanding the scope and dimension of tourism from the cultural perspective, it also attempts to demonstrate the exuberance of Chinese culture and its re-creation through the development of tourism.


CC5405 Special Topic on Business, Tourism and Cultural Management

The instructor will select a topic from the “Tourism and Business Culture” cluster for in-depth analysis.  Students will be guided to investigate the purposes of current researches, their strengths and weaknesses and other issues such as methodology and avenues for future research.


CC5406 Great Works of Chinese Geography and Travel

This course examines selected masterpieces of Chinese geography and travel literature to explore the history of Chinese geographic thought, changes in China’s political geography, and the transformation of the social environment that shaped geography over time. It aims to foster a better understanding of Chinese cultural characteristics in the appreciation of the land and travel.


CC5407 Writings for Chinese Merchants and Encyclopedias

This course provides a short history of Chinese traditional business literature and encyclopedias, examining the prefaces, contents and organization of selected masterpieces to explore the process of their editing and printing, the classification and spread of knowledge, the concept and practice of business and the ordinary life of literati and merchants in imperial China. It aims to foster a better understanding of Chinese traditional book culture and commercial culture.


CC5408 Chinese Regional Culture

This course aims to develop students’ understanding of the unity and diversity of Chinese culture by studying a particular region.


CC5501 Teaching Chinese History and Culture

This course introduces methodological concepts and practices in the learning and teaching of subjects in Chinese history and culture. To make the course practical, it explores remedial measures for problems arising from hard-to-teach topics in the Chinese history and culture syllabi in Hong Kong secondary schools. Through discussing syllabi, sample teaching plans and ways of classroom and extracurricular delivery, the course aims at enhancing the ability of secondary school teachers teaching these subjects, who will in turn heighten the interest of the secondary school students.


CC5502 Selected Topics and Readings in Chinese Culture

This course may be conducted in two ways. The first will focus on a selected text in the study of Chinese culture. According to her/his field of expertise, each professor may select one from the four traditional categories of learning: the classics, the histories, the philosophies or the miscellanies. Each professor may analyze the text thoroughly from a theoretical, rhetoric or evidential perspective and evaluate research findings pertinent to the chosen text.  The second way may be compared to the study of a selected topic, where a professor may introduce strategies, methodologies and analytical skills in relation to her/his research in literature, history or philosophy. She/ He may bring to bear the experiences and insights of her/his own research as well as other related research outcomes.


CC5503 / CC5504 MA Dissertation (9-credit)

This course is designed for M.A. students who are interested in continuing their learning by applying for M.Phil. or Ph.D programs. An experienced professor of the Department will be assigned to the student as the thesis supervisor. By providing the student one-to-one guidance on matters related to the writing of a thesis, the course aims to enable the student to conceive and conduct advanced level research independently. The thesis, not including footnotes and bibliography, may not be less than 25,000 words.