Summer 2024 - GA 302 D100

Selected Topics in Global Chinese Studies (3)

Class Number: 3255

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 7, 2024
    Wed, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: GA 101.



In this interdisciplinary course, students will investigate a topic relating to the histories, societies, cultures, knowledges, geographies, and/or ecologies of China, Chinese-speaking people, and/or people of Chinese descent in Asia and beyond. May be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


With the increasing polarization across the world since COVID-19, Chinese peoples are once again imagined as the Other—virus-carrier, communist spy, or victim of authoritarianism—in opposition to the West. How to not reproduce such binaries when the cultural, social, linguistic, and epistemological differences between China and the West are real? How to understand China not merely as a territorial idea but as an open signifier that points to the ways in which spaces are connected, divided, and reconfigured beyond national or colonial mapping? How to not essentialize Chinese identities but to examine the processes of subject formation always in relation to other peoples, cultures, and histories? This course examines modern China and Chinese peoples beyond the dominant cultural-political frameworks designated by both Western and Chinese nation-states. Instead, we will re-imagine China through concepts of borderland, migration, diaspora, and multilingualism.

In this course, we will examine three borderland regions by analyzing a variety of cultural productions (such as fiction, film, poetry) together with interdisciplinary scholarly works. We begin with investigating Northeast China not as a quintessential Han Chinese place (as represented in the mainstream media) but a region bordering Russia, North Korea, and Inner Mongolia, and historically hosting a large number of “ethnic minorities” such as the Joseon-jok and the Evenki peoples. Continuing to critique the monoethnic and monolingual discourse, we examine South China as the second borderland. Instead of celebrating the Southern cities as a center of Chinese economic development, we evaluate the area as a hub of diverse coastal peoples (Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Tanka, Hakka) as well as part of a wider archipelago of Southeast Asia that include Vietnam and Singapore. Finally, the third borderland we look at is British Columbia. As a transpacific nodal point that connects Asia and North America, BC has been home to generations of Chinese migrants and diasporas. We will study how Chinese communities, as racialized settlers on Indigenous lands, struggle and strive to build new relationships, find new identities, and cultivate new cultural practices.


  • Attendance and Participation 15%
  • Group Presentation 15%
  • Weekly Reflection 10%
  • First Paper (1500 words) 25%
  • Research Paper (2000-2500 words) 35%



  • Sonny Liew, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
  • Fred Wah, Diamond Grill (1996)
  • Krys Lee, How I Became a North Korean (2016)
  • Yilin Wang, The Lantern and the Nigh Moths: Five Modern and Contemporary Chinese Poets (2024)
  • (Films and other readings will be made available via Canvas.)


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 term 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.