Contemp Chns Lit/Cult
The final focus of this course is what is happening in Chinese culture right now, but to understand now we must understand then, and so we will begin in the 1950s. In China from 1949 through the 1980s cultural activity was regarded as exerting, in Mao's words, an "enormous influence" on politics and was therefore placed under prescriptive guidelines. Writers and artists agreed that their work was important but chafed at restrictions. Since the 1990s constraints on cultural life have eased, but because Chinese literature and culture now answer to the market rather than ideology some ask if it still matters. We will try to answer this question as we trace fifty years of developments in Chinese culture in their surprising complexity. We will look at developments in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, feature and documentary film, stage drama, television, popular music, visual art, and internet fiction. Students will undertake research projects, and we will discuss research methodology. (One Chinese course in literature or culture, or by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.