Summer 2023 - GA 302 D100

Selected Topics in Chinese Studies (3)


Class Number: 4758

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: GA (or ASC 200).



Content will vary according to interests of faculty and students but will involve China-related study within one or more of the social science or humanities disciplines. This course may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


The Unvirtuous Gentleman: An Uncommon Look at Chinese Society

This lecture- and tutorial-based course takes the archetype of the virtuous Confucian gentleman as its starting point and examines elements of Chinese society that challenged that ideal. The ideal Confucian society was centered on harmonious family relationships and social hierarchies, as well as a dedication to improving one’s moral character through education, temperance, and self-improvement. We can therefore gain considerable insight into historical and contemporary Chinese society by focusing on areas that were – and often still are – considered rude, impolite, criminal or taboo; on those who were on the outside of acceptable society, such as prostitutes, collaborators, and national traitors; on why concepts of shame and humiliation continue to have resonance in crafting political narratives; and finally, the evolving attitudes to the use (and abuse) of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics. To understand the complexity of these topics, the lectures and readings will draw upon a variety of scholarly perspectives, such as history, philosophy, law, psychology, literature, religious studies, and anthropology.

This course does not require prior knowledge of Chinese history or society nor any fluency in Chinese, though GA 200 – Introduction to Chinese Civilization or any equivalent would be useful.


  • Attendance and participation 20%
  • Annotated bibliography 15%
  • Portfolio project 35%
  • Midterm test 20%
  • Oral Exam 10%



None; Coursepack will be provided


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.