nl en

Creativity and Culture in Contemporary China


Admission requirements

In enrollment for this course, students from the MA Asian Studies have priority. A limited number of places is available for students of the MA International Relations. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not from the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact their co-ordinator of studies.


After a period of serving as an ideological instrument, in post-Mao China cultural products have become market commodities. Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government declared creativity one of the priorities in a bid to move from manufacturing to innovation. Drawing on empirical cases from visual arts, music, publishing industries, and others, the course explores the producers, consumers, and intermediaries of the cultural products and contexts in which they operate. We will use sociological theories and concepts to discuss the complexities in the interplay between culture, markets and politics in China’s context, and to what extent China’s creative industries and markets of cultural products differ from those elsewhere. In addition to recent history, we will look at current events and present-day configurations in the Chinese creative industries and art worlds.

Course objectives

  • Provide an overview of the fields of cultural production in China since 1978.

  • Introduce major sociological concepts and theories related to cultural markets and creative industries.

  • Develop ability to critically analyze production, consumption and gatekeeping processes in China’s cultural and creative industries.

  • Develop critical thinking, the ability to gather and process information work with secondary sources, and develop analytical, writing and presentation skills.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenor needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Participation 10%
Presentation 20%
Two written assignments (2 x 15%) 30%
Final assignment 40%

Final assignment
The final assignment is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version.

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years


Only if the total weighted average is insufficient (5.49 or lower) and the insufficient grade is the result of (an) insufficient written assignment(s), a resit of the written assignment(s) is possible (40-60%). In that case the convener of the course may assign (a new) topic(s) and/or give a new deadline.

A resit of the other partial assessments is not possible.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.

Reading list



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof