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Topical Readings in Historical and Literary Chinese Texts


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (60 or 120 EC) or the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant MA programme.
Background in classical Chinese - intermediate to advanced level. Please, contact Prof.dr. Hilde De Weerdt prior to registration, if you are not sure whether you fulfill this requirement.


This semester the seminar focuses on encyclopedias (leishu). We will start with an historical overview of the genre and read through select sections of a handful of encyclopedias, discussing topics such as the relationships between encyclopedic texts and other genres of Chinese writing, the interplay of text and image, their role in the construction of knowledge, and paratextual features and the uses of encyclopedic texts. In addition to traditional philological tools, students will also learn to work with (freely available) digital tools for the analysis of classical Chinese texts, including digital markup and publishing platforms.

Course objectives

  • the further development of language and research skills in classical Chinese

  • the use and evaluation of digital tools for classical Chinese


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

  • Class participation and assignments (40%)

  • Final essay, including a translation of a text selected by the student (60%)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final assignment may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation. In the case of a re-write the overall grade will not exceed 6.0.

Reading list

Texts will be distributed in class and electronically.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.