Society and Culture

The Chinese Society and Culture

Lecturer:Prof. YU Hai (Ph.D Fudan University)

Credits:3 Fudan University credits, 5 ECTS equivalent

This course aims to familiarize students with a number of themes about Chinese society. As the rapid development and comprehensive social transition in China has increasingly been a global foci, it is necessary to better understand the social, cultural and political forces that underpin China’s unique development trajectory and the current situation. In turn, such an understanding further calls for a process of learning an array of key notions and conceptual tools that will be methodically introduced and explicated throughout the semester.

The content of this course consists of two components:

The first component, which occupies most lectures, addresses various aspects of Chinese society. Specifically, we choose some particular topics that relate to Confucian teachings, guanxi practices in Chinese’s daily life, native religions and belief, historical transition since the Mao’s era, population polices, the development of internet, and the feminist movement. These topics concern the most significant ones in the general sociology of China, thus serving to familiarize students, both domestic and international ones, with the present cultural, political, economic, and societal states of China.

The second component involves lectures focusing on Shanghai. By all measures, Shanghai is a unique place in China and to better understand Chinese society, especially the potential future development path, it is always necessary to learn more about this metropolis. In this part, lectures will introduce the native Shanghainese culture, the formation and features of Shanghainese identity, anecdotes pertaining to the history of Shanghai, and voluntary organization development. To be sure, these topics cannot exhaustively cover every aspect of this big city, but could set the stage for deeper explorations and investigations.



Lecture 1 by Yu Hai & Hu Anning: Course Orientation and Chinese Culture: Ancestor Worship, Guanxi, and Confucian Ethics.

Lecture 2 by Yu Hai: Shanghai Stories in the Multiple Perspectives (Field Study)..

Lecture 3 by Yu Hai: Modern China: From Zedong Mao to Xiaoping Deng.

Lecture 4 by Chen Na: Revival of Confucianism and Reconstruction of Chinese Identity

Lecture 5 by Li Yanbo: The Amnesiac City: The Brief History and New Trends of the Neighborhoods in the City Center of Shanghai. 

Lecture 6 by Hu Anning: The Culture of Shanghai I: the Identity and Life Style of Shanghainess

Lecture 7 by Hu Anning: The Culture of Shanghai II: Nostalgia, Gentrification, and Consumerism

Lecture 8 by Hu Anning: Religions in China: Survival and Revival.