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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST3012 Chinese Oral and Performance Traditions

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Timothy Thurston

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Folklore, the stories people tell themselves about themselves, is an incredibly important, and often overlooked, resource of understanding a culture on its own terms. As China becomes an increasingly important actor on the world stage, it becomes more important to understand China on its own terms, in its own words, and beyond the grand narratives of drama and trauma that frequently shape our perception of the country. Doing so requires understanding its traditions that inform both its past and present. In this class we will approach China from its rich heritage of oral and performance traditions and seek to understand the background upon which China’s cultural present is partially built. Through translations, videos of performances, and secondary material relating to traditions from the Han majority, as well as minority groups including Tibetans, Mongolians, and others, we will investigate some of the important sources for China's enormously complex present in its past.


This module seeks to introduce the diverse oral and performance traditions of China through close examination. Students will learn some basic key terms and theories for the study of folk and expressive cultures, and see how these apply to a variety of folk traditions in China—including Tibetans, Han, Mongolians, and others—from folktales to festivals and beyond.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this course, students should:
- Be able to speak and write about the diversity of oral literature, folklore, and other performance traditions of China.
- Understand some of the basic theories for the analysis of expressive and folk culture.
- Write critically about expressive traditions past and present in China.


This module will cover a range of topics including some basic vocabulary for studying folklore and expressive culture, some popular folk traditions. Readings will examine a variety of oral and performance traditions from a variety of China’s ethnic groups.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study will include completing readings and watching videos of performances and festivals in preparation for lecture, and seminar sessions, preparing for seminar presentation, and independent learning on a specific ethnic group as part of writing an essay for assessment. Background reading.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress is monitored through performance and informal weekly reading response papers (approximately 1 page in length), and through performance in seminars. Once the assignment is set in week 8, students will also prepare an unassessed annotated bibliography due in week 10. Feedback from this will help students prepare an outline for the final paper due the final week of classes.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words70.00
Oral Presentation10 Minutes30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:35:13


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