SOAS University of London

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

Contemporary Chinese Society (PG)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of changes occurring in the late 20th century Chinese culture and society. The module will provide students with an overview of issues facing contemporary Chinese Society.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. Identify the range of approaches related to the field of Chinese Studies.
  2. Critically discuss the main discourses dominating present day Chinese culture and society.
  3. Apply multi-disciplinary methods and theories.
  4. Analyse a wide range of evidence and materials, including statistics, historical documents, newspapers, books and academic journals.
  5. Design an interdisciplinary research project that contributes to the field of Chinese Studies.


Total taught hours: 20 hours. 1 hour of lecture and 1 hour seminar per week for 10 weeks.

Independent study: 130 hours

Total hours for module: 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

This module is designed to look at Chinese (popular) culture and society. Specific topics to be dealt with include:

  1. changes of gender roles
  2. challenges of an ageing society
  3. identity and minority issues
  4. cross-strait relations

Method of assessment

Reaction paper (1000 words) 25%
Essay (2500- 3000 words) 75%

Suggested reading

  • Goodman, David S.G. Class in Contemporary China. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014.
  • Kleinman, Arthur Kleinman. Deep China: The Moral Life of the Person, Berkeley: University of California
    Press, 2011.
  • Yang, Guobin. The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online. New York: Columbia
    University Press, 2011.
  • Mittler, Barbara. A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture. Cambridge, MA:
    Harvard University Press, 2012.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules