EALC 330-530 China’s Cultural Legacy: Home

Course Info

Spring 2023.  MW 3:00-4:15.  Wescoe 1049

Instructor: Keith McMahon (office 2119 Wescoe Hall; office hours 4:15 to 5:00 Monday and Friday and by appointment). 

Email: kmcmahon@ku.edu



How does China tell its stories?  How does it define the ways to be and to live?  What are the legacies that China has to offer the world, including us right now?  We will explore these questions through key topics, stories, and character types from ancient times to the end of the last Chinese dynasty.  We will learn about core concepts and values, and get to know some of China’s most famous poems, stories, and novels, and the characters that people them. 

A brief introduction to the structure and organization of Chinese government and society will be followed by individual units, including: Confucian thought and practice, stories of the strange and supernatural (including the figures of the Daoist immortal and the avenging swordswoman), a selection of Tang dynasty poets, the novel The Three Kingdoms, about the fall of a great dynasty and the ensuing battles among heroes for supremacy, the novel Plum in the Golden Vase, about a rich rogue and his six wives, a selection of narratives about filial piety, and selections from A Rain of Heavenly Flowers and Karmic Bonds of Reincarnation, two female-authored narratives from late imperial times.

Sources for reading and research can be found in this site, as well as links to library sources at KU and elsewhere.


The whole handscroll of Jin Ping Mei