GE1135 Material Culture in Everyday Life in China: A Historical Perspective

Course Aims

Objects play an intimate role in everyday life. In this course, we will explore the material culture in the history of China, as reflected from everyday life of Chinese people. We will also examine various types of physical objects (e.g. clothes, food, tea, export ceramics, furniture, jade, jewellery, religious artefacts, and musical instruments) ranging from household goods and tomb objects to court objects and museum collections. Readings, lectures, and discussions will focus on the objects themselves, and secondarily on Chinese people’s reflections on objects and the ways they were incorporated into everyday life. Material culture is a broad and interdisciplinary field that explores the cultural meanings objects acquire in context. Within the expert arena of the six faculty members, this course will be looked into from an interdisciplinary perspective, which includes history, cultural studies, anthropology, heritage studies, art history. Both textual and visual sources will be analysed in class. In particular, we will examine how economic and technical developments in creating objects encouraged new ways of thinking about and understanding the world. The course also encourages students to experiment with the practical aspects of museum exhibition display. It is intended that we will organise field trips to museums in Hong Kong or in neighbouring cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Macao.

Teaching Staff:

Instructor: Dr. LUO, Yu

Medium of Instruction: English