Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL MEDIATION
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Basic compulsory subjects
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (50 hours)

At least one semester of Chinese language teaching is highly recommended, and a brush-up on modern and contemporary world history is certainly useful, for instance: Bayly C.A., The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons, Oxford, Blackwell. (ISBN-13: 9780631236160).

Final Examination: 

For non-attending students, the final exam will be written, with two different sections: one featuring three open-ended questions (short essays), one featuring a set of multiple-choice questions.
For students attending classes, the final grade will also consider the evaluation of group activities, debates and short essays the students participated in during the course. There will be two partial tests (one featuring open-ended questions, one featuring multiple-choice questions) during the course, which students will have to pass in order to access the final exam, which will be an oral test. Partial tests may be only repeated once in case of failure, otherwise the students will have to take the written exam for non-attending students.

Voto Finale

The goal of this course is to offer a wide perspective on China’s cultural history, on the development of Chinese civilization and its foundational elements. The leitmotiv of this course will be the complexity and dynamism of intercultural interactions throughout the historical process of Chinese cultural identity construction. The students will learn how to cope with “legitimate questions” (questions that have no set answer, but rather require study, reflection, analysis and argumentation to search for a viable answer) about the changes in territory, population, society, politics, economy and culture during over three thousand years of Chinese history, learning to use linguistic, socio-historical and bibliographic tools that will allow them to get a better grasp of today’s China and to forecast the most likely future scenarios of change.

The course features a total of 50 hours of class time, divided into 15 thematic units, each lasting three to four hours according to classroom and scheduling requirements. Each thematic unit centers on relevant questions for the study of Chinese civilization in a given historic period. Lectures devoted to explaining historical phenomena and key concepts for each unit will alternate with moments of class discussion, stimulated and supported by maps, images, videos, historical documents presented both in the original Chinese and in Italian translation.

The 15 thematic units are listed below:
1. An introduction to China’s human geography
2. The contemporary Chinese political system and its challenges
3. Chinese antiquity: Xia, Shang, Zhou
4. The Warring States and the Hundred Schools
5. Rise and fall of the Han dynasty
6. The Empire divided: Three Kingdoms, Jin dynasty, Northern and Southern dinasties
7. The second Empire: the Tang dynasty [1st debate: the hundred schools]
8. Heavenly bureaucracy vs imperial autocracy: from the Song to Mongol domination, to Ming restoration
9. The Great Divergence and the Century of Humiliation: rise and fall of the Qing dynasty
10. Saving China: from self-strengthening to the Nanking decade
11. The second Sino-Japanese War and the foundation of the People’s Republic
12. Mao Zedong’s China
13. The Reform Era from Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao [2nd debate. Saving China]
14. The New Era and the Chinese Dream: Xi Jinping’s China
15. The Overseas Chinese

Students attending classes will receive additional bibliographic, sitographic and filmographic advice for each unit discussed in class. They will be encouraged to divide into groups and take part in two workshops: the first being a role playing exercise set in the Warring States period (the Hundred Schools debate), the second being a public debate of papers expounding the ideas of the different political factions concerned with the reform of Chinese culture and institutions at the turn of the XIX century, building their case from historical documents and monographies written by sinologists, historians and other scholars (the Saving China debate). Participation in these two debates will contribute to the students’ evaluation during their final exam.

Students will refer to the texts listed below, and to learning materials provided on the digital learning platform.
A manual of Chinese history:
Vogelsang K., Cina. Una storia millenaria, Torino, Einaudi (ISBN-10: 8806217186; ISBN-13: 978-8806217181).
An introduction to Chinese culture:
Lavagnino A.C., Pozzi S., Cultura cinese. Segno, scrittura e civiltà, Roma, Carocci (ISBN-10: 8843070029; ISBN-13: 978-8843070022).
A cultural history of contemporary China:
Lavagnino A.C., Mottura B., Cina e modernità. Cultura e istituzioni dalle Guerre dell'oppio a oggi, Roma, Carocci, (ISBN-10: 8843081950; ISBN-13: 978-8843081950).

Traditional lectures will alternate with class discussion of specific issues (“legitimate questions”, according to the famous definition by Austrian physicist Heinz von Foerster), with some group projects (which will require writing and arguing a short dissertation) and roleplay within two workshops.

Borrowed from

click on the activity card to see more information, such as the teacher and descriptive texts.