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CCOG for ENG 208 Summer 2022

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Course Number:
ENG 208
Course Title:
Literature of China
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces Chinese literature translated into English, from the oldest texts (ca. 1000 BCE) to contemporary works. Includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and film. Examines the cultural and historical importance of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism on Chinese literature. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Instructors may choose an anthology, individual works, or a combination of both. The course will meet the requirements of a survey, emphasizing breadth over depth, as well as a mixture of classical and contemporary texts.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify differences between Chinese and Western concepts of literature and analyze how these differences affect what we read and how we read it.
  2. Articulate the limits of translation, especially in regard to core Chinese concepts that have no equivalent concept in English.
  3. Distinguish the traditional literature of the bureaucratic class from traditional folk literature and recognize the cross influences of the two traditions.
  4. Apply an understanding of the cultural and historical importance of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism when reading works of Chinese literature.
  5. Write clear, focused, coherent essays about Chinese literature for an academic audience, using standard English conventions of grammar and style.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Cultural Literacy

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze and evaluate how cultural systems relate to broader social dynamics.

Course Activities and Design

The course activities can include lecture, discussion, and collaboration, along with other activities such as participating in group projects, dramatization, film and music appreciation, attending a performance, and so forth.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

 Assessment tools may include informal responses to study or journal questions; evaluation of small- and full-group discussion; in-class and out-of-class writing; formal academic essays; presentations by individuals and groups; short and long essay examinations; quizzes; close reading exercises using support/evidence; skits and performances; writing exercises which include evaluation of various interpretations of a text and their relative validity. Both instructor and peer evaluation may be incorporated into the assessment process.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

 The course will introduce and foster understanding of

·        literary vocabulary

·        literary themes

·        literary genres

·        critical reading and thinking

·        close reading and explication

·        literary conventions and allusions

·        contextualization

·        essay and response writing

·        religious, dynastic and political shifts and their influence on the artist and on literature (17th and 18th century periods of anarchy, or the Cultural Revolution, or the 20th century birth of the middle class, for example)

·        the Chinese literary form and its development from early poetry and lyric form through to the novel.

Competencies and Skills

· analysis

· synthesis

· understanding literary texts through contexts such as society, politics, artistic conventions, multiple interpretations of an author, etc.

· writing about literature

· close readings

· critical reading employing reviews and critical essays

· comparison and contrast of Chinese literary history with other western and non-western traditions

· speaking and listening reflectively

· small-group collaboration

Some Suggested Texts:


The following examples of instructors’ choices of texts in the past are intended here to provide a possible aid to choosing texts in the future. This list is not intended as prescribed or recommended. Instructors new to the course should feel free to contact the campus literature chair, Comp/Lit SAC chair, and/or instructors who have taught the course in the past for further information.

  • Some instructors use no published text, but rely on handouts, taking due note of applicable copyright laws.
  • Some instructors may use general study books, for example:

Literatures of Asia by Tony Barnstone

  • Some instructors may use books that focus on a specific genre, region, time period or even on a particular work:

Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused: Fiction from Today’s China Ed. Howard Goldblatt

Dream of the Red Chamber by Tsao Hsueh-Chin

The Death of Woman Wang byJonathan D. Spence

A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman byLao Toai-Toai Ning

Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs by C.A.S. Williams

Chinese Literature: An Anthology from the Earliest Times to Present Day Ed. William McNaughton

Blooming and Contending: Chinese Literature in the Post-Mao Era. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985)

The Analects by Confucius

The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tze