Not available in 2013/14
AN231      Half Unit
The Anthropology of China

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Stephan Feuchtwang OLD6.12 and Ms Charlotte Bruckermann KGS1.06


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Undergraduates taking this course should have completed an introductory course in anthropology unless granted exemption by the course teacher

Course content

The anthropological study of China offers new perspectives on general topics. Topics that will be considered are kinship; relatedness; gender; gift, honour, and trust; the performance of love; ritual and belief; the ambivalence and scales of hospitality; the stranger king; gods and ghosts; civilisation and its others; and the modern state.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare discussion material for presentation in the classes and are required to write assessment essays. Anthropology students taking this course will have an opportunity to submit a tutorial essay for this course to their personal tutors. For non-Anthropology students taking this course, a formative essay may be submitted to the course teacher

Indicative reading

Brandtstädter, Susanne and Santos, Gonçalo (eds.) Chinese Kinship:
Contemporary anthropological perspectives; Fong, Vanessa Only Hope:
Coming of Age under Chinas One-Child Policy; Feuchtwang, Stephan
The Anthropology of Religion, Charisma, and Ghosts; Chinese lessons for adequate
theory; Gates, Hill Chinas Motor: A thousand years of petty capitalism;
Watson, James; E Rawski (Eds) Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern
China; Stafford, Charles ;Separation and Reunion in Modern
China; Yan, Yunxiang Private Life under Socialism.

Good background reading in history: Spence, Jonathan D. (1990) The Search for
Modern China.
Detailed reading lists are provided at the beginning of the course.


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 2500 words) in the MT.

The assessed essay must be between 2,000 – 2,500 words in length.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: 16

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information