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20th-Century China: A History Through Literature

China’s position on the global stage grows more important and more complex with every political act of the 21st century. But what motives—political, social, and historical—guide contemporary China’s rise to power? In this course, explore China’s recent history through the words of its most significant authors, taking an accessible decade-by-decade approach that aims to chart a course through the ascent of communism, the death of Mao, and beyond to the turn of the millennium. Works will vary from those by the mainland Chinese Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan to Hong Kong-based feminist Xi Xi to secretly circulated and subsequently banned novels by Shanghai’s most daring artists. Reading these works of fiction will provide deep and often unexpected insight into China’s current sociopolitical climate.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with some of the key Chinese literary texts and trends of the 20th century
  • An understanding of the major turning points in 20th-century Chinese history

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in between
  • Those with an interest in modern history and literature
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.