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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST3140 Chinese Society

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Heather Zhang

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

We examine the distinctive forms of social organisation and social dynamics in Modern and Contemporary China, and we critically evaluate major Western theories and conceptual frameworks for understanding Chinese society.


On completion of this module, students should be able critically to assess concepts and ideas of Chinese social organisation before and after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. They should be able to understand how major societal dynamics help bring about change in family and lineage structures, in the role of the individual and in the structures of social power and social organisation. They should be able to understand processes of individual and group identity formation and critically assess external perspectives on Chinese society.


The module covers Chinese identity, family and kinship before and after 1949, the individual, the rural/urban divided, internal migration, rural society, urban society, women and society, social power, sex, love and marriage, social inequality and social transformations. In addition to the core readings for the module covered in the lectures, the students will also be required to prepare for each of the seminars by reading a chapter or article representing prominent Western appraisals of Chinese society and to write brief abstracts of or comments on them.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for and follow up from each class
Preparation for assessment
Background reading

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress is monitored through participation in regular seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentSeminar Participation5.00
Essay2,500 words80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018


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