Reading Poetry: Charting the Cultural Landscape of Traditional China

SS095
Fall 20

This is a GE oriented course in humanities area, designed for the undergraduate students of all the majors. The main content of this course is to teach the classical Chinese poetry and the embodied traditional culture, aiming to motivate the students' interest and to hone their abilities in reading, understanding and appreciating the classical Chinese poetry. Meanwhile, this course is designed to guide the students in their cognition of the cultural landscape of traditional China through the medium of poetry.

 

The core approach of this course, unlike the ones undertook by many Chinese majors that could lean heavily towards methodologies of historical investigation and memorization, is reading. With the poetry and its embodied cultural aspects as the focal point, this course singles out fifteen sets of cultural concepts or images quintessentially reflected in the classical Chinese poetry. In each session, the course lecturer prepares a selection of poetry content, and leads the students to explore one of the abovementioned sets of cultural notions through close reading, critical thinking and discussion. During this process, the students are expected to grasp the basics when faced with the poetic texts, to learn to recognize, understand and enjoy the language, the rhetorical strategies and the artistic effects, and to further contemplate the cultural implications bestowed onto the poetic entities. Aside from the poetry reading, the lectures also touch upon various forms of the complementary contents, introducing the relevant historical events, anecdotes, norms and cultural phenomena, and in so doing, create a richly informative and well-structured class experience. For the students from different backgrounds, this course surpasses the division between disciplines. Rather, it strives to appeal to, guide and inspire the students' way of thinking on a fundamental level, where the students could be expected to break free from the rigid disciplinary bias and initiate fresh perspectives to look at the world.

Mengwen
 ZHU

Mengwen
 ZHU

I received my Ph.D. and M.A. in Chinese Literature from the University of Hong Kong and Fudan University, respectively.