Admission to the MA Asian Studies, tracks Chinese Studies (EAS or 120 EC). Students from other programmes may be admitted at the discretion of the instructor, Paul van Els. Please contact him if you are interested in taking this course, but are NOT a student of the MA Asian Studies tracks mentioned here.
How do you become a better person? How can you navigate smoothly through a world full of complexity? What is the most efficient way to strengthen a country? How to prevent countries from fighting wars? … Master Kong (a.k.a. Confucius), Master Mo, Master Meng, Master Zhuang, Master Han Fei, and many other thinkers in early China pondered over such questions, and their views continue to inspire people to the present day. This course offers you the opportunity to acquire an advanced understanding of those views, by reading early Chinese philosophical texts (in translation), as well as modern studies of those texts. Throughout the course you will engage with state-of-the-field debates, as you familiarize yourself with various perspectives and methodologies to study Chinese philosophy. We will pay attention to new insights gained from archaeological discoveries, to the importance of historical context, to philological problems when reading age-old writings, to diverse philosophical interpretations of texts, to the fruits of comparative philosophy, and to the contemporary relevance of ancient texts. In the process, you will get to know your favorite master of Chinese philosophy, and well as your favorite approach to study his philosophy.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
comprehend passages from Chinese philosophical texts (in translation)
grasp the diversity of Chinese philosophical texts
grasp the diversity of approaches to study these texts
analyze complex scholarly arguments
participate actively in group discussions (in English)
formulate an original research question
conduct effective research to answer the research question
report on your findings, both orally and in writing
The timetable is available on the Asianstudies website
Mode of instruction
class participation (20% of final grade)
written assignments (20% of final grade)
term paper (60% of final grade)
The term paper must be higher than a passing grade (6.0) in order to successfully complete this course. A failed term paper may be re-written only if the original submission constituted a serious attempt.
The workload for this course is roughly 280 hours (10 EC x 28 hours per EC)
plenary sessions: 24 hours (12 weeks x 2 hours per week)
readings: 96 hours (12 weeks x 8 hours per week)
course assignments: 60 hours
final paper: 100 hours
Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.
Students are expected to familiarize themselves with these books prior to participating in the course:
Ivanhoe, Philip J. and Bryan W. Van Norden. Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005 (2nd edition). ISBN-13: 978-0872207806
Van Norden, Bryan W. Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1603844680
Other reading materials will be announced on Blackboard.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.