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Life and Work in Contemporary China


Admission requirements


This course introduces the most important aspects of the social organization and culture of contemporary China. We will focus on how life and work in contemporary China are shaped by social and administrative structures (family, kinship, work units, villages), then move on to concepts of the self, the group and individuality, and finally discuss new patterns of diversity (religion, ethnicity, sexuality, consumption and class). The final two classes will be used for student paper presentations. Attendance and participation in all sessions is compulsory and will be included in the final grade.

Course objectives

Each session will be interactive and student-driven with short presentations on the set readings followed by discussions. The exception will be the first session where there will just be a lecture after an introduction of the course and self-introductions by the participants.

After the course, students should have:
 Advanced knowledge of contemporary Chinese society and culture
 Independent research and writing
 Oral presentation


Check timetable

Teaching method


Assessment method

Students will have to write a term paper of maximally 6,000 words. The final mark of the course is made up by the paper (70%), paper presentation (20%) and general attendance and participation (including book presentations, 10 %). Papers will have to be submitted through Blackboard and are due four weeks after the final class.

Blackboard Yes.

Required reading

For each lecture 2-4 English-language articles (about 100 pages) will have to be read. In addition, students take turns reading a book for presentation in class. All set readings for the classes will be made available on Blackboard.


Meld je voor dit college op tijd aan via uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. For registrationprocedure, deadlines etc., see also Aanmeldprocedures voor colleges en tentamens


For further information about the contents of this course, please contact Prof.dr. F.N. Pieke.