Contemporary China (CEAS 500 / EALC 590): Topic/Theme/Subjects

Research information to help explore the economic, social, and political changes in China during the reform era since 1978.

Hot Topics

Subject Headings

The Library of Congress subject headings system was originally designed as a controlled vocabulary for representing the subject and form of the books and serials in the Library of Congress collection, with the purpose of providing subject access points to the bibliographic records contained in the Library of Congress catalogs.

As an increasing number of other libraries have adopted the Library of Congress subject headings system, it has become a tool for subject indexing of library catalogs in general. 

Subject, Topics, and Themes

Africa Investment/Policy
Army Defense
Art, Modern (798/Yuanmingyuan) (avant-garde art, 798)
Business & Economics
Banned books/Nobel prize winners
Boundary/Border and Security
censorship (ex. great firewall of China)
Cinema, Theater, Opera (Movies International Market, Themes, Directors)
Cities (includes Housing) / buildings (modernization); Beijing, Shanghai
Civil Law. Legislation Coercive and Social Controls
Culture (Traditional Value, non-Traditional Changes)
Ecology, Energy, Forests, Water
Economic Reforms; Economic Strategy
Econ, Rural
Education Faction 
Ethnic conflicts
Family planning, Government policy
Food safety
Foreign Professionals
Foreign Trade/Investment
Games (Olympics); sports
Hong Kong and Macau
International relationship; China-U.S. Relations
Marriages and Families
Political Campaigns; one country two systems
Political leaders/Communist Party/Deng, Jiang, and Hu Eras
Politics Government
Public Health
Technology and Industrialization
Women's Rights


ex. Articles by Themes

Ideology; Identity
Industry, Labor, Management
Japan (Diaoyu/Senkaku Island dispute)
Korea (North and South Relationship)
Labor; migrant labor
Land Reforms; Peasants
Language Reform and Linguistics
Law, Human Rights, Social Control (Liu, Xiaobo, Nobel prize winner)
Literature, Criticism (Gao, Xingjian; Mo Yan Nobel prize winners)
Minorities & Tibet, Uighur
Money, Markets, Banks, Taxes
Music, Musicians
National Policy Generators
Non-Government Organization
One-child policy
Politics (Elite Politics)
Pollution, Environmental Issues
Population & Migration
Portraits of Daily Life, Autobiographies
Professionals, Work Force
Psychology & Negotiation
Science & Technology (Space program)
social activism
State Elite & Bureaucracy
Taiwan (external policy toward Beijing)
Transportation (high speed train, etc.)
TV, Media, Mass communication, Blog, Telecom, Cell Phone
Villages, Units, Networks
Welfare, Incomes
Women & Men, gender
Workers & Class


Research Themes

This session will aid the understanding of Chinese culture through library research of the practices, beliefs, customs, behavior, values, media expression, etc. of Chinese society since 2000.  Students may focus on any subject of choice with faculty permission.  This includes any primary source of culture in any media format including print, images, film, internet, etc.  Combine theoretical research with practical insight.  Describe consequences and influences of culture on individual and collective behavior and perception of the Chinese people. 


General culture and values, family, marriage customs, marital relationships, father-son, mother-daughter, friendships, national characteristics, self-identity, sexuality, everyday life, religion/spirituality, education, intellectual movements, medicine, cultural etiquette, women’s issues, food/culinary, tea culture, urban culture, village culture, folk customs, minority and ethnic groups, saving/losing face, cultural/ governmental facade, immigrants/migrants, study abroad, internet, mass media, popular culture, advertisement, modern and pop art (calligraphy, performing arts, painting, opera, music, etc.), martial arts, communication, new/borrowed words, modernization, urbanization, consumerism, rising expectations/ upward mobility, social organization, nationalism, literature, fashion, architecture, transportation, leisure, sports, games, exercises (ballroom dance, salsa dance, etc.)

Locations (city, province, architectural structure, temple, lake, river, or a combination of those)





Dunhuang/Silk Road





Hong Kong

Great Wall


Changbai Mt. (Jinlin) 


Holidays and


Moon (Fall harvest) Festival, 

Spring Festival,

Ritual holiday foods

Dragon boat Festival,

Lantern Festival,

Ghost Festival (July 15th Lunar calendar or Tanabata, evening of the seventh, in Japanese)



Scholarly and popular sources: film (commercial/ documentary), publications (book/journal), news, images,        

Famous writers, film makers,

artists, pop stars, architects,  

Ang Lee

Bruce Lee

Jackie Chan

Jet Li

King Hu

Wayne Wang

Xiaoshuai Wang

John Woo

Zhang Yimou

Leslie Cheung

Maggie Cheung

Chow Yun-fat

Gong Li

Yao Ming

Zhang Ziyi

Elieen Chang (Zhang Ailing)

Wang Anyi


Jin Xing


Life Rituals:

Birth and death rituals

Wedding traditions & customs  

funeral customs