SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Reading Seminar: Modern Chinese Literature and the World

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

In this module students will read in the original language a selection of modern Chinese literary texts and criticism to examine how Chinese literature responds to the different waves of internationalism, cosmopolitanism and globalization in the process of China's modernization. Selected readings will as much as possible link to the students' research interests.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. read, comprehend, and translate Chinese-language literary texts at an intermediate level of proficiency
  2. demonstrate an awarenss of the various possibilities for reading literature in relation to relevant historical contexts and a range of theoretical ideas
  3. demonstrate an ability to work individually in researching, synthesizing, and preparing for seminars and written course work
  4. strengthen students' skills in research and essay writing based on Chinese-language primary and secondary sources


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour seminar and a 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

  • The Modern Literature of Travel
  • Universal Values and Modern Chinese Writing
  • Contemporary Chinese Migrant Writing
  • Mapping World Literature: Canonization and Modern Chinese Literature

Method of assessment

A research exercise of 600 words to be submitted on day 1, week 4 in the term of teaching (15%); a research exercise of 600 words to be submitted on day 1, week 8 in the term of teaching (15%); an essay of 4000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following the one in which the module is taught (70%).

Suggested reading

Core Reading
  • Merle Goldman and Leo Oufan Lee, An Intellectual History of Modern China
  • Mao Dun, Lin Jia Pu Zi
  • Yang Mo, Qing Chun Zhi Ge
  • Wang Anyi, Fuping
Additional Reading
  • Joseph Levenson, Revolution and Cosmopolitanism
  • Nicolai Volland, Socialist Cosmopolitanism: the Chinese Literary Universe, 1945-1965


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules