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Advanced Readings in Classical Chinese

Vak 2017-2018

Admission requirements

BA3- course “Classical Chinees III” or comparable course.


In this course, we will read representative works of Qing dynasty (1644-1911) classical scholarship. We will focus on those texts dealing with questions of authenticity and authorship, as these are central topics of discussion in the period: Who wrote the Analects if Confucius did not do it? Whose interests does the text reflect, then? How to tell if a text is what it pretends to be? What does authenticity even mean for early Chinese texts?
Except for a foray into the early Qing at the beginning of the course that is meant to introduce terms and issues, we will read texts written in the latter half of the 18th century. Most of the texts will be complete, short stand-alone essays. However, we will also read other forms of scholarly communication, such as letters, prefaces and excerpts from longer works.
Beyond strengthening reading skills in the classical Chinese of the late imperial period, this course will serve as an introduction to scholarship as practiced during the high Qing and the ways in which it was made public.

Course objectives

• expanding vocabulary and grammatical knowledge
• refining reading skills
• refining translation skills
• using dictionaries and other relevant sources


See the timetable on the departmental website for time and location.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Seminar 13×2 hours: 26 hours
Compulsory readings: 52 hours
Term paper: 62 hours

Total course load: 140 hours

Assessment method

Class participation and assignments: 40%
Final scholarly translation, with an introduction: 60%

In the final translation, students will be asked to demonstrate that they are able to understand and appropriately translate a text related to the topic of the course on their own and with the use of relevant tools. The translated text should be placed in its context and interpreted in an introduction. The base text should be around 800 to 1000 Chinese characters in length, the introduction ca. 5 pages in standard formatting (Times New Roman, 12 pt, 1,5 line spacing).

Students must complete all requirements (participation, final essay) to pass the course.

There is no resit opportunity for participation. The resit for the final essay is only available to students whose final grade is insufficient. The resit will then make up 100% of the grade.
h3. Blackboard

Yes: distribution of texts to be read and various announcements “Blackboard”

Reading list

to be announced through Blackboard


Registration through uSis is compulsory. No registration, means no admission to attend this course.


For further information about this course, please contact Daniel Stumm: