CHNS 322: Advanced Chinese

Syllabus Course Description Weekly Routine Weekly Calendar Film showings
How to "Read" a Film Assessment/Grading Writing Reports Disability Access Useful Links


Instructors:  Dr. Jianhua Bai (427-5530)
Office: 112 Ascension Hall
Office Hours:  M.T.W. 11-12::00, Thur. 1:00--3:00
Schedule: 2:00 to 3:20, Monday and Friday

Required Texts
Glimpses of China
Chinese Text for a Changing China
Supplimentary Readings

Films to be shown
Nuren de Gushi
Guo Nian Hui Jia
Yangguang Canlan de Rizi
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Assignments and Evaluation
   Evaluation provides each student multiple opportunities to demonstrate incremental skill development over discrete segments of material. It provides feedback for both  teaching and learning. The examinations will be cumulative, including all previous material plus the most recent week's new material.

   The final letter grade represents the judgment of the following:

1. Class participation, 20% (individual sessions and classmeetings).
2. Daily assignments, 30%. Homework turned in late (after the next class meeting) will be corrected but will earn zero point for the grade. However you are encouraged to redo your homework after my initial corrections to earn extra points.
3. Term paper (3 pages or longer) and presentation 20%. Topic Due before spring break; first draft April 15th and final draft the end of April.
4. Mid-term and final examinations 30%. Each examination will consists listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Attending Chinese Tables for extra credits. Students and teachers of Chinese have lunch together every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 at Upper Dempsey.

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Course Description

    The course is an upper-level course for students who wish to develop and refine their ability to understand, speak, read, and write Modern Standard Chinese. Reading materials include newspaper articles, short novels,  and writings on aspects of Chinese culture and which will serve as points of departure for discussion and composition. Films will also be used for this purpose. This course is recommended for students wishing to specialize in any field related to China. Prerequisite: Intermediate Chinese or equivalent or permission of instructor.
    In addition to the regular class meetings and the pre and post class activities students will also have weekly practice sessions (30 minutes) with Guo Laoshi on an individual basis.
    A foreign language is acquired only as a consequence of using that language. The purpose of the assignments and practice sessions is to build each week's new material into an increasingly versatile proficiency. Practice is the most important activity in this course. Every minute is valuable to you. Every class meeting contributes, cumulatively, to the attainment of your personal objective. This class is going to be conducted entirely in Chinese.

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Weekly Routine

1. Weekly assignments.  There will be extensive reading, listening and other assignments. Get together with a classmate and study the assigned readings. Since our class consists of people of different levels, it would be best if you study with someone of different levels of proficiency so that those who have studied more can help those who have studied fewer years.
2. The class meetings will consist of  lectures and class activities that enable you to practice listening and speaking skills and increase your knowledge about aspects of Chinese culture and society. We will start the class by discussing your readings and then do some contextualized pattern and vocabulary practices and then watch and discuss part of a film.
3. Web-surfing and weekly writing reports. You need to keep updated with the current events by reading or listening to the news (see recommended "useful links") daily. At the beginning of each class we will spend a few minutes talking about current events. You are encouraged to send me summaries of news, which I can post and share with others in the class.
4. For the individual conferences with Guo Laoshi you will 1) discuss the assigned materials, 2) Q&A about the assignments, 3) oral report on something interesting that you learn from web surfing or reading, and 4) a free conversation on anything you want to discuss.
5. Additional reading materials available upon request.

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Calendar for Unit One

Date Class Activities Homework
Jan. 29 News Report and Review
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 1.1.
Faurot 3
1,2,3, P.17
Feb. 2 News Report and Review
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 1.1. Reading on P. 18
Faurot 4
4., P. 17
Feb. 5 News Report and Review
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 1.2
Faurot 4
1,2,3,4, P. 31,32
Feb. 9 News Report and Review
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 1.2 Reading on P.32
Faurot 5
5, P. 32
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Calendar for Unit Two

Date Class Activities Homework
Feb. 12 Unit Quiz
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 2 (Page 40)
One-page reflection
paper on the film.
Feb. 16 News Report and Review
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Liu 2.1 (P. 46)
1, 3 of Page 55
Feb. 19 News Report and Review
View and discuss Guo Nian Huijia
Reading passage on Pp 55-56
Faurot P. 20 (Mama)
Feb. 23 News Report and Review
View and discuss Guo Nian Huijia
Liu 2.2. (P 60)
1,2,3 of Page 72
Feb. 26 News Report and Review
View and discuss Guo Nian Huijia
Liu 2.2. (Pages 73-74)
Faurot P. 29 (Muguang)
5 of Page 73
Mar. 2 News Report and Review
View and discuss Guo Nian Huijia
Liu 2.3. (P 80)
Happy Spring Break!
Mar. 19 News Report and Review
View and discuss Guo Nian Huijia
Liu 2.3. (Pages 89-90)
Faurot P. 33 (Shufajia)
1 of Page 87
Mar. 23 Unit Quiz
View and discuss Nu-ren de Guoshi 
Faurot P. 37
1-page reflection 
paper on the film

Calendar for Unit Three

Date Class Activities Homework
Mar. 26  Liu 3.1.
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Ex. 1 and 2 of P.106
Mar. 30  Liu 3.1. P.106
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Faurot  P 42
Short essay
April 2  Liu 3.2.
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Ex. 1 and 2 of P. 125
April 6  Liu 3.2. P. 125
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Faurot  P 51
3 of Page 125
April 9  Liu 3.3.
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Ex. 1 and 3 of P 138
April 13 Liu 3.3. P. 139
View and discuss "Xi Yang Jing"
Faurot  P. 63
4 of Page 139
April 16 Faurot P. 72
Unite Review
1-page reflection 
paper on the film
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Calendar for Unit Four

Date Class Activities Homework
April 16 Liu 3.3. P. 139
Faurot  P. 63
View and discuss "Zhan Zhe le!"
4 of Page 139 (due April 20th)
First Draft of paper due today.
April 20 Faurot P. 72
Unite Review
Unit Quiz
April 23  Liu 4.1. P. 150
View and discuss "Zhan Zhe le!"
Ex. 1 and 2 of P. 157 (due April 27)
April 27 Liu 4.1. P. 157
Faurot P. 84 
View and discuss "Zhan Zhe le!"
Ex. 3 of P. 157 (due April 30)
April 30 Liu 4.2. P 162
View and discuss "Zhan Zhe le!"
Ex. 1 and 3 of P 173
Paper Due today.
May 4  Paper presentations.
Final Examinations on May 9th?
(Listening, Reading and Writing)
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Useful Links

1. Advanced Listening
Click the above line and you can go to a web-site (Deutsche Welle) and be able to listen to the daily Chinese news about China. I suggest that you listen to it regularly and share what you learned about current events with your classmates at the beginning of each class.

2. Newspapers
Click the above line and you will go to a website (from the Chinese program of  UM) that contains various links to Chinese newspapers.

3. Advanced Reading: News and more
Click the above line and you will go to a web-site ( and be able to read China-related daily news in English and a weekly-magzine in Chinese. I suggest that you summarize, in writing once or twice a week, articles that you found interesting and share them with your classmates and your instructor.

4. Lighter readings
Click the above line and you will go to a web-site (UIUC) that contains many intereting reading passages with hot links to glossary of the difficult words (highlighted). Because of the hot-links you will find the reading task a lot easier. Read them and tell each other what you have read about. Have fun!

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Writing Reports

You are required to write a term paper (3 pages or longer) on a topic of your own choice. During the last week of the class you give a presentation of your paper to the class. Topic Due before spring break; first draft April 15th and final draft the end of April.

How to "Read" and Write about a Film?

I. McCormick, R. Instructions for Sequence Analysis
1. State the “message(s) of the sequence, i.e. what is the filmmaker trying to communicate.
2. Explain how the message(s) are communicated by such channels as image, speech, music, sound effect and etc.
3. Sequence Analysis Worksheet:
A. Describe briefly what you see in the selected sequence.
B. What is the filmmaker trying to communicate in the segment?
C. How do the five channels of information in film, visual image, print, speech, music, sound effect, and work together to communicate the message? Is space—landscape or interior—used as a “comment” on the character’s inner state of mind? Does the use of space exude a certain atmosphere? Are there any symbolic uses of props? How are focus, angles, lighting, color and sound effect used to help communicate? What are some of the social and cultural codes?
D. Try to determine what function and significance this segment has for the film as a whole?

II. Viewing and reading share the same basic interactive process of getting the meaning across.
Active reading and viewing involves constant interacting with the text and the film, analyzing how the messages are communicated via various channels. What broad statement is the film director trying to make? How is character portrayal is done to help communicate the director’s message(s)? How does the setting and time period shape or contribute to the film’s thematic structure or messages? Are certain cultural values (virtues) singled out for critical examination or upheld for emulation? How are cultural or social messages conveyed? How imagery is used? Such as camera angles and shots, lighting, color, focus, sounds, etc. Can you watch the movie and watch yourself watching the movie at the same time, i.e. critical reading/viewing?

III. Writing about a film.
    When you write about movies,  “it is insufficient to convince others to like or dislike the film, but to add to their understanding of the film… personal feelings, expectations and reactions may be the beginning of an intelligent critique, but they must be balanced with rigorous reflection on where those feelings and expectations and reactions come from and how they relate to more objective factors concerning the movie in question: its place in film history, its cultural background, its formal strategies… what is interesting is not pronouncing a film good or bad but explaining why (T. Corrigan)."
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Schedule for Film Showings

Students are encouraged to watch the films, Sunday 7:00 pm in ASC 226 and write short response papers.

1. Shadow Magic (Xiyang Jing) 2000
Directed by Hu An, this historical comedy tells when and how film making was introduced to China at the beginning of the 20th century.

2. To Live (Huozhe) 1994
Directed by Zhang Yimou, To Live follows a contemporary family across the turbulent face of modern China, from the Japanese invasion through Mao's Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. 132 min. This might be a good film to start the course since it covers almost the entire time period that we want to discuss. English Sub. MLL and Olin 950368.

3. Family (Jia)  1956
Directed by Chen Xihe & Ye Ming. Through the bitter experiences of the three brothers, the family contradictions , changes and finally declines, this film has vividly depicted the life of a wealthy family in the early years of Shanghai.  MLL

4. New Year Sacrifice (Zhufu)  1959
Directed by Sang Hu, New Year Sacrifice tells a tragic story on the life of a mid-aged village woman who was widowed twice and whose last hope was shattered by the news that her son was torn apart by a group of wolves.  MLL

5. A Girl from Hunan  (Xiang Nu Xiaoxiao) 1986
Directed by  Xie Fei and Wu Lan, A Girl From Hunan  is about a poor girl's miserable life as a child bride (at the turn of the century) and her happiness and bitterness in life as she falls in love with a young man. 99 min. English Sub.  Olin 920005

6. Crows and Sparrows  (Wuya yu Maque) 1949
Directed by Zheng Junyi, regarded as "a milestone in Chinese film history," this pre-revolution film (1949) portrays a group of characters, accurately representing various types among the working people in the lower social strata in 1949. 111 min. English Sub available.

7. Two Stage Sisters (Wutai Jiemei) 1965.
Directed by Xie Jin, this film contrasts the lives of two actresses, one who seeks happiness and fulfilment through family life, and the other through political activism. You probably can guess who will be happier.

8. Hibiscus Town (Furong Zhen) 1986
Directed by Xie Jin. During the "cultural revolution", Hibiscus Town is filled with darkness and terror. Hu Yuyin, a diligent country woman, is sentenced to sweep the streets every day together with the "Rightist" Qin Shutian. They helped each other and gradually fall in love. They got married, but misfortunes never come singly. 143 min. MLL

9. Sacrificed Youth (Qingchun Ji) 1985
A story of a youth sent to live with the Miao people in southern China. The Cha1-dui4-luo4-hu4 experience during the cultural revolution. English Sub. Olin 900080

10. WOMEN'S STORY (Nuren de Gushi)1988
Directed by Peng Xiaolian, the plight of Chinese women seen from their point of view in this poignant tale of three peasant women who flee their village to taste freedom in the big city and escape the sexist oppression of rural China. 96 min. MLL
(Economy reform and social change in recent China)

11. Black Canon Incident" (Heipao Shijian), dir Huang Jianxin, 1985

12. Shower (Xizao) 1999
Directed by Zhang Yuan, one of the sixth generations of Chinese directors, The old and new worlds collide in this charming tale of a family divided, then brought together by a traditional bathhouse. The successful, career-minded son of the bathhouse's owner first sees the establishment as outdated, but as he spends more time with his family and friends, and as the threat of its destruction draws near, he begins to see its worth. "...a delicate, lyrical case for the importance of holding on to small traditions" (Desson Howe, Washington Post).

13. EAT, DRINK, MAN, WOMAN (Yinshi Nannu) 1994
Directed by Ang Lee, this film tells a story about  Master Chef Chu who attempts to maintain family unity with ritual Sunday dinners as he comes to terms with his three daughters' growing independence. 104 min. Olin

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Disability Access Statement
If you have a hidden or visible disability which may require classroom or test accommodations please see me as soon as possible during a scheduled office hour. If you have not already done so, you must register with the Coordinator of Disability Services (Erin Salva,, x5145), who is the individual responsible for coordinating accommodations and
services for students with disabilities. All information and documentation of disability is strictly confidential. No accommodations will be granted in this course without notification from the Office of Disability Services.

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