SOCL 251 

Peoples of China

“What is China?”, “Who are the ethnic minorities?”, “Who are the Hans?”, “Why are ethnic minorities important for China and for knowing China?”
Zhang Haiyang
Course Introduction
Zhang Haiyang

Zhang Haiyang

Ph.D. Minzu University of China (Central University for Nationalities)
  • Ethnic-Regional Autonomy and Ethic Relation in China
  • Ethnic Minority Rights and Interests Advocacy in West China Development Ecological
  • Basis of China’s Economic-Cultural Types
  • China's Cultural Diversity and Chinese Identity

Peoples of China

This course is accredited through Loyola University Chicago
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Course Description

Modern China & its Peoples constitute a puzzling, challenging complex whole and those who engage its study often see the phenomenal trees but overlook the structural forest. This anthropological course is trying to be holistic with a strategy of focusing on the national minorities’ perspective by introducing its cultural diversity in unity, including its natural ecologies and cultural legacies, history and evolution, structure and agency, interaction between the big tradition and little traditions, the paradox of modern development and the necessity of safeguarding equity of cultural continuity as a requirement for better governance.

This course is based on lectures once a week, some of them will be delivered by minority scholars from different cultural backgrounds, Manchu, Mongol, Uyghur, Tibetan, Hui, Miao, Yi, Dong etc., together with Professor Zhang Haiyang and his Vietnamese assistant Dr. Nguyen Phuong Tram.

Each lecture is to be divided into three interesting parts: a brief introduction by the instructors, a active presentation on topics assigned in advance, and an intensive discussion based on your readings and observations.

A field trip to the campus of the Minzu University of China and its ethnic museum followed by an interaction with minority graduate students in over an Uyghur or Mongolian food table is the highlight before your final examination.

Courses Outcomes

The aim of this lecture is to internalize an overall mental picture about the diversity in unity of peoples and cultures in China. It will enrich your conception of China, Chinese People, ethnic minorities in China and their cultures, etc. After this course, you will be different because you will have a different outlook on China in many ways. An interesting topic somehow developing it into a persuasive paper to demonstrate your agency in cross cultural communication is the requirement.

All the assignments and discussions in AND out of the classroom are mechanisms to ensure you to have the following learning outcomes:

  1. Clarifying the questions of “What is China?”, “Who are the ethnic minorities?”, “Who are the Hans?”, “Why are ethnic minorities important for China and for knowing China?” and “How to attain better governance in light of the postmodern transformation?”
  2. Sharpening your mind and eyes by building a holistic view on the diversity in unity of peoples and cultures in China.
  3. Establishing a new concept of China based on your readings, observations and interviews about the language, religion, he ethnic minority peoples in China.
  4. Gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural situations in China by your own observations of hot issues such as nationalism, terrorism, human rights, environment protection, identity in China and how to negotiate with the mainstream societies on behalf of the subalterns?
  5. Developing an ability to perceive cultural phenomena in a comparative framework and appreciate the cultural differences by thinking historically, listening sympathetically, reading critically, behaving locally and writing and speaking persuasively.