CHIN 493 Classical Chinese II (Heritage) covers a range of pre-modern classical Chinese essays since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). This three credit course is one of the many higher level Literature Chinese courses in the Chinese Language Program that are designed for advanced heritage Chinese students. In these courses, students are encouraged to examine various literary pieces in Chinese literature, film studies, and cultural studies with strong critical awareness. All these courses provide opportunities to strengthen students’ academic writing skills via strict and yet formative training. In particular, CHIN493 offers students a unique opportunity to discover the profound beauty and wisdom hidden in classical Chinese writings from the Tang to Qing dynasties as well as to cultivate their own literary skills.
“Some renowned prose of the Tang and Song dynasties are the teaching materials for CHIN 493. Students can appreciate the literary characteristics of these masterpieces while they enhance their ability to understand and analyze classical Chinese.“
This course highlights pre-modern Chinese cultural and social thoughts, which were all recorded in classical Chinese prose. A variety of texts has been thoughtfully selected for CHIN 493, which aims for strengthening students’ writing and communication skills. From the Tang Dynasty to the present, the Chinese language has continued to evolve, and the common meanings of certain words in classical Chinese have changed. Some common grammatical phenomena have even disappeared completely or maybe unclear and hard to understand. By enrolling in CHIN 493, students decipher the meanings from classical Chinese texts and master the knowledge of classical Chinese.
“I strongly recommend CHIN 493 to other CHIN students. Because from CHIN 493, we can learn knowledge of ancient Chinese literature, and understand the thoughts of ancient people from this literature, even have a profound impact on our thinking about life in the future.”
The pre-modern writers selected in CHIN 493 had both literary attainments and rich comprehensive knowledge, with their learning and research methods providing great enlightenment to students. Even though some texts were written over a millennium ago, students are still able to gain insight from the profound wisdom within classical literature, which can be applied to their present-day lives. Due to the pandemic, students have been faced with the challenges of online learning. However, students may find inspiration by reciting the ancient Chinese prose “穷且益坚，不坠青云之志,” meaning “In difficult circumstances but still strong, not losing great ambitions,” motivating those who are feeling discouraged during these trying times.
Liu Laoshi’s CHIN 493 class engaging in a discussion on contemporary topics
“The assignments in CHIN 493 are carefully designed in a way that really inspires students to think about what they learned in class. Students are allowed to have multiple supported interpretations of assigned texts.”
“When I am learning the various ideas and studies from ancient times, I realize they are totally connected with modern society and sometimes I even feel like I am virtually communicating with the authors across the ages.”
As the instructor of CHIN 493-003, Professor Liu creates a supportive environment that seamlessly combines learning with fun. Professor Liu is a reputable scholar in the field with a string of success: Harvard-Yenching visiting fellow in 1996-7, UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies research fellow in 1998, and doctorate degree from UBC. An asset to Professor Liu’s teaching experiences and knowledge is his consistent attempt to implement engaging activities like “开心一刻” in every class. His efforts are greatly appreciated by students, who are encouraged by the enjoyable and dynamic atmosphere of student learning.
Professor Liu encouraging student learning through his weekly “开心一刻” activity!
“Most other university classes could be serious, and even boring sometimes, yet, in the middle of the lecture, Professor Liu would insert interesting Chinese jokes and riddles during the “开心一刻” moments. I look forward to attending CHIN 493 lecture all the time because of these moments.”
“I am deeply attracted to CHIN493’s classroom atmosphere, for that Liu Laoshi often encourages us to express our opinions or ask questions on the discussion board. To make students feel more willing or motivated to study, Liu Laoshi [won’t] restrict anyone’s chance to participate in the class. We can think creatively and critically in such an environment and thus our ability to study ancient classics are strengthened.”
CHIN 493 offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about the historical conventions of writings and learn to translate classical Chinese texts into modern standard Chinese. In addition, students can develop the ability to explain the genres of major prose written in the pre-modern era, as well as the writing styles of important writers of that time. CHIN 493 not only equips students with more knowledge about the classical essays but also leaves students feeling inspired by the rich Chinese culture.
CHIN 493 Classical Chinese II (Heritage) 这门三学分的课程收录了从唐朝到清代的古文名篇，是UBC中文项目为母语为汉语的学生开设的众多文学高级课程之一。这些课程鼓励学生们以积极的批判意识审视中国文学、电影及文化研究中的各类文学作品，并且通过具有启发性与系统性的训练，来提高学生学术写作的能力。就CHIN493来说，它旨在为学生提供一个独特的机会，去探索唐朝到清代的古典文学作品中深刻的美和智慧以及培养自己的文学技能。
“我强烈推荐其他中文课的学生来上 CHIN 493这门课。因为从CHIN 493中，我们可以学到中国古代文学的知识，并从中了解古人的思想，甚至对我们对未来生活的思考有深刻的影响。”
CHIN 493这门课选入的古代作家都是具有丰富涵养的文学大家，他们的生平与其学习的经历与对知识的研究态度，亦给学生提供了极为重要的启发。即使一些文本写于一千多年前，学生们仍然能够从古典文学中获得深刻的智慧，这些智慧甚至可以应用到他们现在的生活中，这就是知识与智慧的永恒价值。例如：由于疫情所致，学生们都面临着在线学习的压力。然而，学生们可以通过朗读、理解这些古文名篇找到面对生活与挑战的智慧，比如“穷且益坚，不坠青云之志” 的意思便是鼓励大家“在困难的环境中，仍然保持坚强的信念，不致失去原本伟大的抱负”，以激励那些在困难时期感到灰心丧气的人。
“CHIN 493 的作业通过精心设计的内容去激励学生们巩固在课堂中学过的知识，并且鼓励学生们去创新性地理解文本。”
CHIN 493 为学生提供了一个极为独特的机会，不仅让他们了解古文的写作方式，并学习如何准确地把古文翻译成现代标准汉语，增加了学生对古汉语的知识储备。与此同时，学生们还能够掌握赏析古代散文及各历史时期重要作家的写作风格，更能体会到丰富多彩的中国文化，而这些知识的学习与文学的赏析，又能进一步充实积累学生自身的文学底蕴与思辨的能力。