C LIT 322 (VLPA)
Studies in Asian and Western Literatures


Beijing in Transition:
Through the Eyes of Filmmakers, Writers,
Artists and Urban Planners


How do we imagine the spaces in which we live? How does art change our view of urban space? Which images linger, and which erased? To examine these questions, we will read fiction, watch movies, and examine other artifacts that depict the growth of modern Beijing.



T Th 1:30-3:20 MGH 242; F 1:30-3:50 MGH 271


5 credits



Yomi Braester


office: C-504 Padelford


office hours: TTh and by appointment


e-mail: yomi@u.washington.edu


course website: http://faculty.washington.edu/yomi/urban2.html






Readings and film viewings:
All readings must be completed on time. Students are required to attend the Friday screenings.


Written assignments:
     (1) Reading responses Students are required to hand in a typed reading response, one page long, for 12 readings, following a set of questions posted on the web (link will be added here). The responses should demonstrate familiarity with the text and the respective week's film. Point at passages of special interest to you! Each response is worth 2 points (total 24 points).
    (2) Mid-term paper Due 11/9. The paper will be written on a given set of questions (link will be added here). The paper should be 3-5 page long and typed. To understand the expected quality, please consult my grading criteria. The mid-term is worth 26 points.
    (3) Final paper Due 12/5. The paper will be written on a given set of questions (link will be added here) and should be 5-7 page long and typed. The final paper is worth 50 points.


Policies and Procedures

Late submissions must be pre-approved by the instructor or they will not be accepted.  Extensions for reading responses, make-up classes, and extra screenings will be available only in very special cases, where the students can demonstrate circumstances beyond their control.
      All assignments, except in-class commentary, must be typed. To ensure a standard length, please make sure to use Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced, with page margins not exceeding 1.25 inches on each side.
       The course strictly adheres to UW’s rules on plagiarism.
       Students with disabilities are encouraged to inform me, and I’ll do my best to provide the relevant accommodations.



CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to change)

week 1


9/ 30




week 2


10/ 5

Discussion: The feel for the city


Read for today (reading response #1):
          Michael Dutton, Streetlife China, 196-235 (e-reserve);
           Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (selection, e-reserve);
           "Introduction," in Li Longyun, Small Well Lane (UW Bookstore)



10/ 7

Discussion: The theater of the everyday


Read for today (reading response #2):
           Li Longyun,
Small Well Lane
(UW Bookstore)




Screening: Feng Xiaogang, Big Shot’s Funeral (2001)



week 3


10/ 12

Discussion: Culture as capital


Read for today (reading response #3):
          Yunxiang Yan, “McDonald’s in Beijing" (e-reserve)
          Jing Wang, "Culture as Leisure and Culture as Capital," Positions 9, no. 1 (Spring 2001) (UW libraries electronic journals)



10/ 14





Screening: Mi Jiashan, The Troubleshooters (1987)



week 4


10/ 19

Discussion: The cultural gray zone


Read for today (reading response #4):
           Geremie Barmé, “The Apotheosis of the liumang” (e-reserve)



10/ 21

Discussion: Street wisdom


Read for today (reading response #5):
           Geremie Barmé, “Consuming T-shirts in Beijing” (e-reserve)




Screening: Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun



week 5


10/ 26

Discussion: Countercultures


Read for today (reading response #6):
          Andrew Jones, Like a Knife, 115-143 (e-reserve)



10/ 28

Discussion: Street-smart history


Read for today: Colin Mackerras, Peking Opera, 1-31 (e-reserve)
          Note: reading response #7 addresses the midterm!




Screening: Chen Kaige, Farewell My Concubine (1992)



week 6


11/ 2

Discussion: Memory and identity


Read for today (reading response #8):
Madeleine Yue Dong, Republican Beijing, 23-53 (e-reserve)



11/ 4



Read for today (reading response #9):
          Madeleine Yue Dong, Republican Beijing. 54-73 (e-reserve)




Screening: Wang Xiaoshuai, Beijing Bicycle (2000)



week 7


11/ 9

Presentations by Beijing Exploration Seminar students
Grandpa Jing and His Customers


No reading for today





11/ 11



No screening today



week 8


11/ 16

Discussion: Cultural memory
Dragon Beard Ditch


Read for today (reading response #10):
Lao She, Dragon Beard Ditch (e-reserve)



11/ 18



Read for today (reading response #11):
          Madeleine Yue Dong, Republican Beijing. 78-101 (e-reserve)




Screening: Zhang Yang, Shower (1999)



week 9



Discussion: The politics of urban planning


Read for today (reading response #12):
           Ian Johnson, "Dream of a Vanished Capital" (e-reserve)






Thanksgiving - no screening today



week 10


11/ 30

Discussion: The city as palimpsest


Read for today (reading response #13):
           Yomi Braester, “Tracing the City’s Scars” (e-reserve)



12/ 2





Screening: Ning Ying, On the Beat (1995)



week 11