This course introduces students to traditional Chinese literature by focusing on “tales of the strange.” We will examine how ghosts, demons, fox spirits, and other liminal creatures haunt the literary imagination, stretching the possibilities of storytelling. Students will gain familiarity with masterpieces of Chinese literature and their intriguing afterlives in performance, film, and popular culture. Our discussions will consider how literary accounts of ghosts and the supernatural grapple with issues of gender and sexuality, the cultural meanings of death, the boundaries of human community, and the experience of historical trauma. We will focus on developing skills in close reading, while critically engaging theories of the “strange.” No background in Chinese is required.
Faculty: Thomas Kelly
Semester: Full Spring Term