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Topical Readings in Pre-modern Chinese (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research). Students of other MA programmes are kindly referred to the regular MA course.


This semester the seminar focuses on an eighth century text on government titled “Zhenguan zhengyao” (‘The Essentials of Government of the Zhenguan Reign’). The text was used to educate emperors and cultural elites and has become a standard reference in East Asian political thought from the eighth century through the present. In addition to traditional philological tools, students will also learn to work with (freely available) digital tools for the analysis of classical Chinese texts, including digital markup and publishing platforms.

Course objectives

  • the further development of language and research skills in classical Chinese

  • the use and evaluation of digital tools for classical Chinese


Check timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Seminar 2 ×13 uur: 26 hours, with 6 hours extra for students of the Research MA (in a form to be discussed)

  • Compulsory readings: 86 hours

  • Class Assignments: 62 hours

  • Term paper: 100 hours

  • Total: 280 hours

Assessment method

  • Class participation and assignments (40%)

  • Final essay, including a translation of a text selected by the student (60%)

(The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)

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



Reading list

Texts will be distributed in class and electronically.


Registration through uSis


Email: Prof. dr. De Weerdt