Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (CHNSE 254)

Willamette University


(Not offered during 2013-14)

Instructor: Juwen Zhang
Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Culture
Department of Japanese and Chinese

Office: 147 Walton; Phone: 503-370-6256; Email:

The detailed syllabus and reading assignments are in WISE.

The Course Purpose:

This course examines the formation and development of Chinese language, ethnicity, and culture as well as their interactive relations throughout the Chinese history. By surveying the topics, analyzing the key texts and realities, the participants learn to understand the ethnicity and culture within its social contexts as expressed through the language. Topics cover from the formation of the language, standardization, dialects, identity, ethnicity, ethnic identification, to the use of language in today's popular culture and the discussion about overseas Chinese ethnic identity. Different disciplinary perspectives and historical contexts will be introduced and discussed in studying these topics.

The Course Format:

This course will be conducted through lecture, discussion, field trip, book/film review, and research paper, based on pre-assigned readings and relevant audio-visual materials. Guest speakers and extra-curriculum events will be arranged to supplement the classroom activities. Blackboard via Internet is used to assisting reading and discussing outside of the classroom.

The Course Requirements:

--The participants are expected to finish the required readings, actively participate in class, and lead certain discussions; (25%)
--Each participant will develop one topic to work along the course as part of the final exam, with the instructor's consent, and report/present it along the course; (20 %)
--Mid-term exam; (25%)
--Final exam (presentation and the revised final paper); (30%)

Weekly Schedule and Topics (Detailed assignments will be given via WISE)

For more further information, contact the instructor, Dr. Juwen Zhang,