Chinese Culture: Transformation

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12.00 ساعة تعليمية
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Owing to its rapid development in recent years, China has been in the spotlight of the international arena. While understanding modern China's economy, technology and politics is important, knowing its cultural roots and evolution is no less crucial for seeing the full picture of Chinese culture. This course introduces 5 interesting aspects of Chinese culture in transformation.

Key questions of the course

  • What are the Four Great Classical Chinese Novels? What are the stories about? Why are they so famous and influential in Chinese literature?
  • What is special about the art of Chinese operas? What are the symbolic meanings behind the face make-up, gestures and costumes? How do the operas serve as a medium for transmitting knowledge in Chinese culture?
  • Why did the private Confucian academies thrive in the Song dynasty? Why was the famous Donglin Academy suppressed by the state in the Ming dynasty? How were the private academies engaged in the state educational reforms in the late Qing dynasty?
  • How did New Confucianism emerge as a movement in the 20th century? What were the aspirations of the New Confucians? How did they address modern challenges to the development of Chinese science, democracy and cosmology? Did they succeed in modernizing Confucianism?
  • What were the traditional expectations of gender roles in China? How was gender politics heightened in the labour force in early New China? What light does the film Li Shuangshuang shed on the gender awareness of Chinese socialism?

Course Design

  • A team of 5 experts in Chinese culture has designed the course. They are, in alphabetical order, Dr Chun, Dr. Li, Dr Lin, Dr Wu and Dr Zhang.
  • The compact design of the mini-lectures suits the busy schedule of edX learners.
  • Introduction by animation hosts highlights the key questions of each unit.
  • Illustrations and maps are designed to liven up the mini-lectures.
  • Self-learning is supported by review questions and forums.
  • Cross-referencing enhances a fruitful learning experience across the units of the HKPolyUx series on Chinese culture.


Jack Chun
Jack Chun

Dr Jack Chun received his B.A. (First Class Hons.) from the University of Hong Kong and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto as a Commonwealth Scholar. Currently Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies of the Faculty of Humanities, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he has been Subject Chief Examiner for HKEAA and Consultant on Thinking Skills for the HKSAR government, the commercial sectors such as SmarTone-Vodafone and professional groups, including medical doctors, C.E.O.'s. Dr Chun has also provided consultancy services to universities, including the Cornell-VinUniversity project in 2019. He has developed two stand-alone MOOCs and an XSeries Program (3 MOOCs) on edX. His writings have been published by Oxford University Press, Routledge, McGraw-Hill, Springer and others.

Meng Li
Meng Li

Dr LI Meng is currently a Teaching Fellow at the Confucius Institute of Hong Kong (CIHK), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Before her current appointment at CIHK, Li had been working for the Department of Chinese Culture, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as Visiting Lecturer and Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 2014 to 2015. Li holds a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies in the University of Sydney, Australia (2013). Her academic interests include: Chinese intellectual women, contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese popular culture and women’s history.

Dr Hsueh-yi Lin
Dr Hsueh-yi Lin

Hsueh-Yi Lin is a historian of late imperial China. She obtained her PhD from Princeton University, with a focus on the intellectual and sociocultural history of China from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. In teaching and research, she is concerned with the interplays between ideas, people, and institutions, and in particular, the invention and reinvention of cultural traditions through this process. Much of her recent work has drawn on archival research to address changes that have long term impact on Chinese values and identity, such as the patterns of Buddho-Confucian interactions and the expansion of elite networks.

Wan-yi Wu
Wan-yi Wu

Dr Wan-yi Wu is a researcher of classical Chinese drama. Her secondary specializations include the history of Chinese literature, history of the Chinese theater, comparative study of Japanese and Chinese classical drama and gender studies. Now she is broadening the scope of her study to the study of the development of the female theatre.

Dr Yu Zhang
Dr Yu Zhang

Yu Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese Culture at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the author of Going to the Countryside: The Rural in Modern Chinese Cultural Imagination, 1915-1965 (The University of Michigan Press, 2020). Taking up an interdisciplinary and transmedia approach, her publications have covered topics in twentieth-century Chinese literature, film, and cultural studies. She is currently working on a new book project tentatively titled “China at Work: Revolutionizing the Culture of Work in Contemporary China”. She received her PhD from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University, and her research has been supported by Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation Junior Scholar Grant and General Research Fund from the Research Grants Council in Hong Kong.