Additional Viewing


These videos will be useful in expanding your knowledge of the various topics covered in the module, and will also help to illustrate some of the things you will be reading about or doing in workshops. Plan to watch some of these as the module progresses and consider arranging a viewing with your group so you can discuss the topics together.

Unless otherwise stated, these videos are available for loan from Jonathan as discussed in the first lecture.

Beijing: Biography of an Imperial Capital (Three programmes)


We will watch the first of these in week 1 but you may wish to watch the rest of the series which expands on Beijing’s history taking it up to the overthrow of the last emperor in 1911.

China Rises (Four programmes)


A series of 4 x 45 minute documentaries on contemporary China. Ideally watched in Block 2. Programmes 1, 2 and 4 are particularly relevant to the module, with programme 3 expanding your understanding of an important part of Chinese culture we don’t really cover: food.

From the series blurb: “In China Rises, learn how epic changes to the most populated country on earth, can reshape the rest of the world. Explore the economic development of the Chinese, how Shanghai has become a thriving metropolis, how food is at the very core of their culture but rapidly dwindling supply and finally, watch as Beijing invites foreigners in for the summer Olympic games, to observe the country’s changing political and social progress. Enjoy the fascinating China Rises Series for a better understanding of the Chinese people, their culture and what this republic has in store for the future.

In China Rises, take an in-depth look at life in the world’s most populous nation and learn how monumental changes unfolding in the People’s Republic could reshape our world. From an unkempt factory floor in Zhejiang Province to a red carpet premier at the Shanghai Film Festival to the transformation of Tiananmen Square into an Olympic beach volleyball court, this three hour documentary offers an intimate portrait of Earth’s oldest civilization as it redresses itself and attempts to reclaim its place in the world order.”

1. Getting Rich
In just 25 years, this land of 1.3 billion people has achieved the most rapid economic advance of any nation in history by scrapping its fanatical devotion to collectivism and embracing private enterprise with all the ruthless zeal of 19th century robber barons. Learn how the poor are coping with the cost of China’s success and how piracy, pollution and a looming energy crisis could derail the country’s “economic miracle.”

2. City of Dreams
In Shanghai – the 21st century symbol of a rejuvenated China – a generation of Chinese now lives in a style that would not look out of place in New York, Berlin or Toronto. They’re hip, they’re happy and they enjoy more personal freedom than at any point in their country’s history. But while middle class Chinese make the most of their prosperity, Shanghai’s poor find little reason to celebrate.

3. Food is Heaven
From the steamy kitchens of Canton to the arid moonscape of the north, food is the very heart and soul of China. But increasing development and dwindling water supplies threaten the nation’s ability to feed itself. Meet the men and women who celebrate the glory of authentic Chinese cuisine – while working to preserve a healthy food supply for future generations.

4. Party Games
With preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games already underway, the people of Beijing seem eager to invite the world to witness their country’s social and political progress. But with a peasant population of over 900 million and a growing disparity between rich and poor, the Chinese are hoping that Olympic fever will translate into an economic boom.

Artifacts (Three programmes)


A series from the Discovery Channel. The style is rather dated but the subjects are still interesting. These relate to the workshops and Block 1.

A Brush With Wisdom
A documentary on Chinese painting and calligraphy. Watch this before or after the calligraphy workshop. (45 minutes)

The Mystery of Porcelain
Documentary on porcelain explaining its history and importance to Europeans. Watch this either before the glazing workshop or as part of Week 3.

Silk: The Thread Connecting East and West
Documentary on silk. Watch around Week 3 ideally, or any time during the module. Of particular interest to textiles students but the broader topic will be of use to everyone.

Lost in China: Beijing

This series consists of six 50-minute episodes in which two American brothers travel around China examining different ways of life. The final programme looks at Beijing and covers aspects of modern youth, life in traditional hutongs, and the pace of modernisation in the city. The second half is less relevant to Week 2 as they wander outside the city.

If you wish to watch the other programmes in the series (especially if you are interested in travel), that can be arranged. You can read a series description here.


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