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Creativity and Culture in Contemporary China (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant research MA programme. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


After a period of serving as an ideological instrument, in post-Mao China cultural products have become market commodities. Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government declared creativity one of the priorities in a bid to move from manufacturing to innovation. Drawing on empirical cases from visual arts, music, publishing industries, and others, the course explores the producers, consumers, and intermediaries of the cultural products and contexts in which they operate. We will use sociological theories and concepts to discuss the complexities in the interplay between culture, markets and politics in China’s context, and to what extent China’s creative industries and markets of cultural products differ from those elsewhere. In addition to recent history, we will look at current events and present-day configurations in the Chinese creative industries and art worlds.

Course objectives

  • Provide an overview of the fields of cultural production in China since 1978.

  • Introduce major sociological concepts and theories related to cultural markets and creative industries.

  • Develop ability to critically analyze production, consumption and gatekeeping processes in China’s cultural and creative industries.

  • Develop critical thinking, the ability to gather and process information work with secondary sources, and develop analytical, writing and presentation skills.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The conveners need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hours 280 hours
Seminar 2 ×13hr 26 hours
Extra sessions for Research MA students 6 hours
Compulsory readings 105 hours
Written assignments and presentation 63 hours
Final assignment 80 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Presentation 20%
Two written assignments: 2 x 15% 30%
Participation 10%
Final assignment 40%

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of an insufficient paper, a resit of the final assignment is possible (40%). In that case the convener of the course may assign a (new) topic and give a new deadline.

A resit of the other partial assessments is not possible.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.

Reading list



Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.


Dr. Svetlana Kharchenkova


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.