Culture and Heritages Studies:Local Prespectives

MA course for China Studies

Tutors: Wu Zongjie (

Course Description and General Goal
This course introduces practical and theoretical approaches to the key issues in the field of cultural and heritage studies in a local perspective. It is aimed at both those who wish to study culture and heritage as an academic subject, and those who might wish to develop professional outlook in the sector of cultural industry. The course caters for students from a wide range of academic disciplines who wish to study the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field.

The main purpose of the course is to help students discover ‘culture,’ and ‘heritage’, its meanings, practices, implications, and how we may go about studying them. Students will be trained through a progressive research project that involves reading academic papers, identifying research questions, fieldwork investigation, data analysis and cultural narration. Students should be aware of participating in a broad range of interesting and exciting projects, field trips, cultural visits and guided tours.

The course brings together a variety of disciplinary theories: cultural anthropology, history, communication, sociology, literature, archaeology, folklore, media theory, film/video studies, museum studies and art criticism. Four key concepts (culture, heritage, history and discourse) will be focused to develop a holistic perspective to see cultural phenomena focusing a  on everything from ancient temples to contemporary art galleries, films and museums.  By the end of course, students should develop a cultural competence that enable you to ‘historize’ the present, and to see the world critically from a diversity of cultural situations.

The research questions you should explore:
What is the culture as lived experience?
How is culture inherited? What is the past, and how is it memorized or forgotten?
How is culture represented in discourse (eg. the forms of cultural narrative)?
How is culture produced and consumed in contemporary cultural industry?

Teaching Method
Much of the course will be taught using seminar style. Class sessions will consist of interactive discussion of readings, peer presentations, and spontaneous elaboration of your own interests. You should become familiar with these methods even if you don’t agree with the epistemic or ontological underpinnings of those methods. You should be able to express not only ideas but also your value and feelings. Students will be expected to engage in critical, creative and reflective thought. It will be assumed that you are able to organize, structure, and communicate thought effectively. This course is time consuming and requires the kind of intellectual maturity associated with advanced research work. Students are expected to: (1) do the reading for each of the topics covered and find your own references through library and internet for your group investigation; (2) prepare the sample analyses and do a classroom presentation in group; (3) complete a larger piece of discourse (cultural) analysis by the end of the term. This final paper should be primarily empirical, using appropriate theoretical frameworks to analyze a transcript of naturally occurring conversation or a piece of written discourse found in the social world. The paper should also include a brief literature review and a discussion of why you chose the approach(es) you did.

Teaching Mode:
- Lecture
- Student presentation
- Discussion

Course Requirements:
Class attendance and discussion (10%)
Project presentation (groupwork) (10%)
Group discussion (10%)
A final paper (4000 words) on a topic in cultural and dheritage studies. It is possible to choose other form of research project in consultation with me. (e.g. make an ethnographic video) (70%)

Students are assessed on the basis of the documentation of the stages for their research project and on the major research paper. The topic for the research project is developed in consultation with the course professor.


Week oneTopic: Discourse, Culture and Heritage: definitions and relations (文化与话语:定义与关系)Readings:Introducing Cultural Studies:Chapter 1 Cultural and cultural studiesText for analysis: Media practice(奥迪青年时报)Grouping(助教)
Week two Topic:Culture, everydayness and representation (文化、生活与表征)Readings:Cultural Studies (Chapter two) Said(Orientalism)吴宗杰:中国文化人类学的话语转型Text for analysis: Fei Xiaotong: Jia; Lin Yaohua: Golden WingDiscussion questions:Discuss the degree of particularity between the two works. Identify the insights of particularitiesvideo诸葛村Text for analysis东坞山报告
Week threeTopic: From Ethnography to Cultural Interpretation从人类学田野到遗产叙述:文化解读Readings: 大学村村官工作实务 第三篇 农村文化保护与发展 浙江大学出版社The birth of heritageIt makes sense to us: Cultural Identity in Local Legends of Place东坞山文化研究报告(课程网站下载) Text for analysis: 燕子窝 (Introducing fieldwork)Discussion questions:How does the narrative make or unmake a place?What is the moral dimension of the narrative of a place?What means by “the past”(heritage) in the narrative?Analyze the style of narrative (燕子窝): the source of data, the way of weaving together, plot, moral orientation
Week fourTopic: Heritage in the Western and Chinese perspectives中国古人与现代人的遗产观Readings:Pierre Ryckmans: THE CHINESE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PAST(解读中国古人的遗产观,结合方志等古籍读)DAVID LOWENTHAL:The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History(对当今遗产膜拜(西方遗产观与历史观)的批判)RANDOLPH STARN:Authenticity and historic preservation: towards an authentic history(结合国际上几个重要公约,分析西方真实性标准的文化问题)。Cultural visit: Places of Remembrance(纪念之所)
Week fiveTopic: Heritage and cultural memory(文化记忆与遗产)Readings:cultural memory Assmann.pdfThe Invention of Tradition.pdf( introduction and chapter one) 衢州水亭门文化遗产与记忆研究Discussion: The politics of remembering and forgetting; How do modern people invent traditions.Task: Analyze 东坞山研究报告:乡俗篇
Week sixTopic: Discourse and the making of heritage meanings 话语与遗产意义的产生Readings: Stuart Hal: Foucault; David C. Harvey or Waterton: The Utility of Discourse Analysis Questions:What is discourse, compare the perspectives in "The birth of heritage" and "The birth of Clinics". Indicate the episteme that dominates modern heritage practice. How could the concept of discourse be applied to the analysis of heritage?Task: Make your research proposal. 
Week seven Tutorial: Developing a research proposal Click here to see how you work with your proposal. Task: A research proposal ready for your assignmentGroup collaboration: One case or one perspectiveIn the tutorial, you will be advised on the revision of your proposal.
Week eight Presentation: Analyze a paper that is relavant to your researchYou can choose a paper provided by the course or find a paper by yourself. Questions:Identify in the paper the research question(s); theoretical framwork; nature of data, style of analysis, fieldwork. Discuss the relevance of the paper to your research. 
Week nineTopic:Visual culture and representationVideo: ethnographic film (BBC:Chinese; Baraka)Readings: Emma Waterton: Sights of sites; Ian Russell: Images, Representations and Heritage黄心村:向阳院
Week ten Topic: History, culture and diversity(过去、文化与多元性)方志,家谱,地方文献解读及其利用Readings:封建话语Smith: Geetz: Thick description;《史记》与文化叙述
Week elevenGroup presentation: fieldwork experience各组:呈现一小段自己收集来的文本,包括采访、照片、方志,并加以分析Task:在助教指导下剪辑5-10分中节目:可根据水亭门陈述
Week twelve Museum, discourse and Curation(博物馆,表征与展示策划)Readings: California museum
Week thirteen Global discourse of Intangible Heritage(联合国非物质文化遗产及其影响)Seminar: data analysisReadings: Heritage crusade
Week fourteen Tourism and cultural industry (旅游、休闲与文化产业) Readings: Liu & Wu: Exploring the Aura of Chinese Leisure Heritage
Week fifteen Seminar: Paper structure and narrationWeek sixteenAssignment submissioncourse reflection

You have the following options for your final paper:
Optional one: an ethnography of village heritage (老村落或现代村落)
Optional two: an ethnography of street heritage  or tourism sites (古老或现代街区的旅游点)
Optional three: A critical discourse analysis of a museum, places of remembrance or exhibition(如某博物馆,纪念场所或会展)
Optional four: make a piece of video clips and write an essay to comment on it(make an ethnographic film)
Optional five: an discourse-cultural analysis of a piece of text (如文化产业广告、西方人拍摄的有关中国的人类学电影)
Optional six: Any research project of your interest in consultation with me

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