GE1104 - Chinese Cultural Canons and Their Modern Application

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Chinese and History
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
GE Area
Area 1: Arts and Humanities
Course Offering Term*:
Semester A 2014/15, Semester B 2014/15, Summer 2015
Semester A 2015/16 (Tentative), Semester B 2015/16 (Tentative), Summer 2016 (Tentative)

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

Aim of the course for the students is to become familiar with Chinese classical works which are of great value in terms of the valid application to the modern world. Understanding Chinese traditional thinking is indispensable to our students, leaders of our future, especially when tackling critical contemporary issues: Sun Tze’s The Art of War is universally received as a sourcebook for building business strategies; Daoist philosophy inspires ideas about balancing development and environmental protection, a pressing issue of current affairs; Buddhist wisdoms provide enlightenment in solving life difficulties and the Confucian doctrines continue to guide people about how one should conduct oneself in a society.

Students electing this course should be those who, having a general interest in Chinese culture, wish to focus on the study of ancient texts that cover the different aspects of Chinese history, art, politics, philosophy and religion, apart from language and literature. We define “Chinese Cultural Canons” as great books most venerated by Chinese mainstream intellectual authorities. The canons we select are all authored or completed by the greatest thinkers or the most important personages in different aspects of Chinese culture and have created a lasting influence on the Chinese throughout a long historical period.

Given the richness of Chinese intellectual history, the texts covered in this course are voluminous. We shall therefore focus our reading and discussion on representative chapters of the selected texts. After close reading, understanding, appreciating and discussing these works, our students are expected to be able to:

  • acquire basic knowledge about the selected canonical works, including the writing background, genre and major characteristics;
  • strengthen their ability of reading different genres of ancient texts as well as their ability in appreciating different forms of art;
  • analyze the core values of Chinese culture and engage in inquiry with the teachers;
  • elaborate the insights suggested by the works; and
  • apply the academic knowledge generated from their reading to contemporary issues.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 100%
Detailed Course Information


Useful Links

Department of Chinese and History