Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society

This survey course provides an introduction to emerging trends in Chinese culture and society. We will explore processes of change and continuity in the People’s Republic, examining the complexity of social issues and the dynamics of cultural unity and diversity. While we will focus on the post-Mao reform era (1978 to the present), we will consider how contemporary developments draw upon the legacies of the Maoist revolutions as well as the pre-socialist past. The course provides an overview of anthropological approaches to the study of contemporary China, introducing students to key concepts, theories, and frameworks integral to the analysis of Chinese culture and society. Readings, lectures, and discussions will highlight not only macro-level processes of social change and continuity but also the everyday experiences of individuals involved in these processes. We will pay particular attention to issues of family life, institutional culture, migration, religion, ethnicity, gender, consumption, and globalization.