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Topical Readings in Premodern Chinese


Admission requirements

Background in premodern Chinese - intermediate to advanced level.


This semester the seminar focuses on encyclopedias (leishu). We will start with an historical overview of the genre and read through select sections of a handful of encyclopedias, discussing topics such as the relationships between encyclopedic texts and other genres of Chinese writing, the interplay of text and image, their role in the construction of knowledge, and paratextual features and the uses of encyclopedic texts. 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

  • Compulsory readings: 92 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%)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final assignment may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation. In the case of a re-write the overall grade will not exceed 6.0.



Reading list

Texts will be distributed in class and electronically.


Registration through uSis


Email: Prof. dr. De Weerdt