一 Beijing and The Forbidden City

This week

Week 1 will provide you with an introduction to the module and then turn to a broad overview of China’s history, using the city of Beijing as a focus. Its status as China’s capital has not always been secure, and it has been the site of conquest, rebellion and revolution.
The set reading for this week will provide you with some of the background to China’s incredible past, and cover the foundation of the Forbidden City.
The recommended viewing will give you some insight in to life in modern China through the eyes of children. If you have time, try to arrange a viewing of The Last Emperor, a film based on the true story of the end of China’s imperial dynasties (you can watch this at any point during the module).

Lecture: Beijing – The Capital in the North

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Reading

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City of Heavenly Tranquility Chapters 1-3

Recommended reading and viewing

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  • Being Chinese (A programme of eight short films looking at childhood in China – well worth watching. Available on Box of Broadcasts)
  • Real Chinese (A series of short lessons in Chinese – a good introduction to the language even just for the sake of interest. Available on Box of Broadcasts. Search for the programme title).
  • Shanghai Tales: First Period – The War of Growing Up (A documentary looking at Chinese education. Available on Box of Broadcasts)
  • The Last Emperor (1987) dir: Bertolucci (Library Video DVD 590)
  • City of Heavenly Tranquility. If you have time, read chapters 4-10

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