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Many Faces: Understanding the Complexities of Chinese Culture

University of Exeter via FutureLearn


Look beyond the clichés and stereotypes of art and literature in Chinese culture

Chinese culture has not been explored in as much depth as Chinese history and politics. By uncovering the richness and diversity of Chinese culture, you can gain a broader understanding of modern China as a whole.

This course by the University of Exeter covers three important aspects of Chinese culture. Learn how the concept of the ‘noble hero’ is portrayed on cultural and political platforms. Examine the tension created by traditional and modern values in Chinese landscape art, and analyse literature created by marginalised groups like immigrants.

This course is for anyone interested in building their knowledge of Chinese culture and society. You don’t need any prior experience or qualifications.


  • Cliché and Stereotypes: How to understand contemporary Chinese culture?
    • Welcome to the course
    • Stereotypes: a historical phenomenon
    • Harmony and the beautiful: Imagining China
    • Test and reflect
  • Continuation and Gap: Understanding Chinese worldview through the changing image of an ideal persona in literature and arts
    • Stereotyping in history and the 'Other'
    • The international concession and popular culture in Shanghai
    • The May Fourth Movement and the 'People'
    • Test and reflect
  • Writing as an art of life: representation and self-representation
    • Writing as an art of life
    • Writing through images: self-making and self-imagination
    • Test and reflect
  • Landscape aestheticisation and the production of harmony
    • Leisure travel: the middle class as exemplars
    • Landscape aestheticisation at real estate-appropriated ‘feature town’
    • Test and reflect

Taught by

Ting Guo


3.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 106 ratings

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