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ChinaX Book Club: Five Novelists, Five Novels, Five Views of China

Embark on a literary endeavor that explores the dynamics of contemporary China.

Start Date: Sep 28, 2016
Duration: 8 weeks
Price: $195

Course Description

How do we understand the dynamics of contemporary China, its historical vicissitudes, its cultural transformations, and its imaginary and actual engagements in everyday life?

This course, taught in English by Harvard faculty member Professor David Wang, features five world-renowned Chinese authors who illuminate through their writing, in either Chinese or English (translations provided), five aspects of contemporary China. Yu Hua guides us to understand Chinese politics in ten keywords; the Nobel Laureate Mo Yan introduces Chinese native soil literature in terms of magical realism; Yan Lianke exposes the Chinese economic dream as a carnival of the darkest kind; Ha Jin describes the sentimental journey of Chinese men and women in search of love; Wang Anyi chronicles the ups and downs of Shanghai in modern times through a former Miss Shanghai’s adventure.

Through reading the select works of these five authors, we will discuss China in drastic changes, explore issues that concern the Chinese people, and ponder the power (and limitation) of literature in imagining China anew.

What You'll Learn

  • An understanding of why literature matters so much in contemporary China from political, ethical, cultural, and gender perspectives.
  • Methods for developing your own approaches to literature and history and gain a critical appreciation of China’s literary, political, cultural, and gender discourses.
  • Some of the most pressing issues in China: authoritarianism and individual freedom; traditional bonding and revolutionary mandate; literary articulation and political intervention.
  • Chinese cultural phenomena from a global, comparative perspective.
  • Methods for explaining how Chinese civilization underwent metamorphoses in modern times.
  • Methods for the analysis of literary texts and cultural discourses.
  • Methods of critical reading to modern scholarship.
  • Methods for expressing ideas more clearly and confidently; thinking analytically and critically through the study of primary and secondary sources.

Instructors

David Der-Wei Wang 王德威

David Der-Wei Wang 王德威 Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature

Mo Yan 莫言

Mo Yan 莫言 Nobel Prize

Yan Lianke 阎连科

Yan Lianke 阎连科 Franz Kafka Prize

Wang Anyi 王安忆

Wang Anyi 王安忆 Mao Dun Prize

Ha Jin 哈金

Ha Jin 哈金 American Book Prize and Hemingway Prize

Yu Hua 余华

Yu Hua 余华 James Joyce Award

COURSE OVERVIEW

YOUR COURSE OF STUDY:

In signing up for this course, you will embark on a literary adventure that spans across China geographically and temporally. The course is meant to be an intensive dive into five contemporary novels, providing a lens to understand contemporary China from a literary perspective. You may choose which novels of the five you wish to explore or explore all five.

The course will cover each novel in a one to two week period beginning with Yu Hua and ending with Wang Anyi. Within the two week period learners are expected to watch the introduction videos and interview of the author, participate in the close reading exercises, and reflect, discuss and engage closely with the reading and each other.

Through this process learners will discover how fiction can be brought to bear on China's history.

OPTIONS FOR OBTAINING THE BOOKS:

If you enroll in the Book Club, you will be responsible for purchasing, borrowing, or otherwise obtaining the books yourself. We have provided purchase links below, but you can also buy the books from your preferred seller, rent them as an e-book, or borrow them from your local library.

Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, by Mo Yan (ISBN: 978-0-14-016854-9)

Available at: *Amazon.com|Publication Site|WorldCat

Lenin's Kisses, by Yan Lianke (ISBN: 978-0-8021-2177-6)

Available at: *Amazon.com|Publication Site|WorldCat

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, by Wang Anyi (ISBN: 978-0231143431)

Available at: *Amazon.com|Publication Site|WorldCat

Waiting, by Ha Jin (ISBN: 978-0-375-70641-7)

Available at: *Amazon.com|Publication Site|WorldCat

China in 10 Words, by Yu Hua (ISBN: 978-0-307-73979-7)

Available at: *Amazon.com|Publication Site|WorldCat

*Disclosure: Amazon.com will pay a commission to HarvardX for each purchase using the affiliate links above. Thank you for supporting the HarvardX mission.

THE HARVARDX PLUS BOOK CLUB OFFERS:

  • In-depth video introductions of the novels and their significance with each author.
  • General framework for close readings.
  • 10 general reading guide questions for each novel.
  • Close reading exercises using annotatable passages with instructor questions, contextualization, and comments embedded into the learning platform.
  • A comprehensive glossary with relevant literary and historical terms and quotations to reference throughout reading each novel.
  • Individual and peer-to-peer engagements, reflections, discussions.
  • Informal office hour videos with Professor David Wang and a graduate student.
  • Supportive peer-to-peer learning environment.

COURSE OUTLINE

Week 1: Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Literature and Post-Capitalist China

  • Introduction to ChinaX Book Club
  • Introduction to Yu Hua
  • China in Ten Words
  • Office Hours

Week 2: Introduction to Chinese Native Soil Literature

  • Introduction to Mo Yan
  • Red Sorghum
  • Office Hours

Week 3-4: Introduction to Post-Socialist China

  • Introduction to Yan Lianke
  • Lenin's Kisses
  • Office Hours

Week 5: Introduction to Chinese Literature in Diaspora

  • Introduction to Ha Jin
  • Waiting
  • Office Hours

Week 6-7: Introduction to Women's Voice in Chinese Literature

  • Introduction to Wang Anyi
  • Song of Everlasting Sorrow
  • Office Hours

Week 8: Conclusion

  • Conclusion to the ChinaX Book Club

HARVARDXPLUS BENEFITS

HarvardXPLUS is online learning reimagined, with you in mind. All HarvardXPLUS courses are taught by Harvard faculty members. Smaller cohorts enable a higher level of peer-to-peer learning and increased engagement with faculty and teaching assistants. Learners who successfully complete the course will earn a unique and valuable HarvardXPLUS branded credential highlighting the skills and knowledge mastered in the course.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE

This course is opened to anyone who is interested in understanding contemporary China.

  • You may be a high school or college student looking to expand your knowledge of Chinese literature and contemporary Chinese history.
  • You may be a high school or college faculty member who is looking to use some of the materials to think of new ways of teaching online or in the classroom, or to support professional development growth.
  • You may be alumni looking to build your community, a library or book club group that is interested in using the material for your own hybrid learning experience.
  • You may be a lifelong learner interested in better understanding contemporary China.

Whether you are looking for a rigorous intellectual experience or a more flexible path through the novels and novelists, we hope you join us in September!

FAQs

What is HarvardXPLUS?

HarvardXPLUS is online learning reimagined - with you in mind. With this new initiative as one of the pioneers of high-quality online education, HarvardXPLUS has set out to create an unprecedented online learning experience, one that leverages the immersive content of HarvardX courses, and also features a high-touch community with your peers and with Harvard faculty and teaching assistants. Expectations and academic rigor remain a key element for HarvardXPLUS courses. With smaller cohorts than traditional MOOCs, these limited enrollment courses will offer you a chance for a deeper connection, more peer-to-peer engagement and the opportunity to develop a strong network with fellow learners.

What kind of commitment is required for a HarvardXPLUS course?

The HarvardXPLUS programs offers courses in multiple disciplines that require an eight-week commitment from each learner. Each week learners can anticipate dedicating four to six hours to the course, which includes course readings, discussion forums, videos and assessments.

Please note, HarvardXPLUS courses use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). To convert times to your local time zone, please use the following tool:

Are courses accessible to participants with disabilities?

HarvardX strives to create an innovative online-learning platform that promotes accessibility for everyone, including students with disabilities. We are dedicated to improving the accessibility of the platform and welcome your comments or questions at support-hxplus@harvard.edu.

Are video captions available?

Each video for this course has been transcribed and the text can be found on the right side of the video when the captions function is turned on. Synchronized transcripts allow students to follow along with the video and navigate to a specific section of the video by clicking the transcript text. Students can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review.

Will I receive Harvard credits or Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

The courses offered by HarvardXPLUS do not carry academic credit or Continuing Education Units. Learners may not imply nor state in any manner, written or oral, that Harvard or HarvardXPLUS awards academic credit or Continuing Education Units.

In the event employers or institutions wish to convert the HarvardX Credential into CEU’s or Professional Development Hours (PDH), each course under the HarvardXPLUS program is accompanied by the number of hours required for completion for easy conversion. Awarding CEU’s or PDHs is at the sole discretion of the employer or receiving institution, not HarvardXPLUS.

How do I register for a course?

Go to harvardxplus.harvard.edu, click on the course you would like to register for, and click "Enroll Now". You may be prompted to first create an account if you do not have one already. Complete the registration process to create an HarvardXPLUS account, checkout and pay for the course. Once you are granted access to the course, will be prompted to complete the mandatory entrance survey before you can gain access to the videos and other course materials.

How do I cancel or withdraw from the course?

Cancellation requests must be submitted to support-hxplus@harvard.edu. Refunds are not available beyond the second day after the official course start date.

To submit your request, please include your full name and order number in your email request. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used when you registered and may take up to two billing cycles to process. HarvardXPLUS and edX have no obligation to issue a refund after the second day into a course; however if you believe a refund is warranted, please email us at support-hxplus@harvard.edu.

Can I transfer/defer my registration for another session or course?

Admission and fees paid cannot be deferred to a future session; however, you may cancel your registration and re-enroll at a later date. Please note, no late cancellations will be granted. If you would like to request a refund or have issues with billing, contact support-hxplus@harvard.edu. Please include your order number in all refund requests. Please do not include your credit card information.

Can someone else attend in my place?

We cannot accommodate any substitution requests. Please review the time commitment and course outline to ensure you are able to participate and complete the course before you register.

What is the registration deadline?

Individual and group registrations must be completed within one week of the course start date. Please note that once registration has closed, no late registrations will be granted.

Are there any prerequisites to the courses?

HarvardXPLUS courses do not have formal requirements for prerequisites. However, learners should have a good command of the English language and possess the ability to fluently express ideas in English. Some courses do assume prior knowledge in the area of study.

Can I work ahead of the course pace?

HarvardXPLUS is designed to create a high touch online learning experience by connecting our learners to Harvard faculty and encouraging peer-to-peer networking. As a result, learners are encouraged to follow the recommended pacing of the course rather than working ahead.

Will I have access to the course materials after I complete it?

Registered and paid learners will have access to the archived course for 90 days. This includes videos, discussion boards, and content. No extensions are granted.

What happens if I do not finish my course on time?

HarvardX Credentials are awarded to students who complete the course successfully in the scheduled time as indicated on the course details page.

How should I list the HarvardXPLUS Credential on my LinkedIn profile?

When you have successfully completed your course, you will be instructed to confirm your course details. Then you will be provided with a link to add your credential to your LinkedIn profile.

How should I list the HarvardXPLUS Credential on my resume?

When you have earned your HarvardX Credential, list it on your resume with the date of completion as follows:

Fall 2016

HarvardXPLUS Credential, ChinaX Book CLub: Five Novelists, Five Novels, Five Views of China

What methods of payment are acceptable?

HarvardXPLUS accepts globally recognized major credit or debit cards that have an American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or Diner’s Club logo. Simply follow the easy sign-up prompts when you register. At this time, we are unable to accept bank transfers, or other forms of payment. Payment is due in full at the time of registration.

Is financial assistance available?

At this time, financial assistance is not available for HarvardXPLUS course offerings. However, we have an extensive list of free courses available to our learners. We encourage you to explore for our free course listings.

HONOR CODE

HARVARDXPLUS COLLABORATION POLICY

By enrolling in a course with HarvardX, you are joining a special worldwide community of learners. HarvardX aspires to provide anyone with an internet connection access to HarvardX courses, and to provide our learners the best educational experience technology enables. You are a part of a community that will help HarvardX achieve this goal. HarvardX relies on your motivation to learn the material and to do so with honesty and academic integrity. In order to participate with HarvardXPLUS, you must agree to the Honor Code below and any additional terms specific to a program. This Honor Code, and any additional terms, will be posted on each course website.

HARVARDXPLUS HONOR CODE PLEDGE

By enrolling in a HarvardXPLUS course, you agree that you will:

  • Complete all work associated with the course and final exams or assessments with your own work and only your own work.
  • Maintain only one HarvardXPLUS account and not let anyone else use your login and/or password.
  • Not engage in any activity that would dishonestly improve your results, or dishonestly improve or hurt the results of others.
  • Not reproduce problems or answers for quizzes, exams, or any other means of assessing participant performance.
  • Not post HarvardXPLUS materials outside your program (e.g., publish screenshots of or videos from course pages).
  • Act as a steward of the Honor Code and encourage others to do so as well.

VIOLATIONS

If you are found in violation of the Honor Code, you may be subject to one or more of the following actions:

  • Receiving a zero or no credit for an assignment
  • Having any credential earned in the program withheld or revoked
  • Disenrolled from a course
  • Termination of your use of the Site
  • Additional actions may be taken at the sole discretion of HarvardX

No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations.

Honor Code violations will be determined at the sole discretion of HarvardXPLUS. You will be notified if a determination has been made that you have violated this Honor Code and you will be informed of the corresponding action to be taken as a result of the violation.

CHANGING THE HONOR CODE

We may make changes to this Honor Code at any time, but will alert you that we are doing so by giving notice on the HarvardXPLUS website (the "Site") or through our services or by some other means. By accessing the Site or registering for our using our services after any changes have been made, you signify your agreement to the modified Honor Code and all of the changes, which will be effective immediately unless we notify you of a later effective date. If the changes are not acceptable to you, you should discontinue use of the Site and our services.