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University of Pittsburgh

Chinese Courses

1999 Chinese Capstone


Credits: 3

This course, “The Senior Project,” is the culminating phase of all Chinese Majors before graduation, to be taken in the last semester of their senior year at Pitt.  The rationale of this projected-oriented course is to enable the students to integrate and internalize all that they have learned and acquired in the Chinese Major program including not only the language and culture content courses within EALL and outside of EALL at Pitt, but the courses they have taken and the cultural knowledge they have acquired while in China and/or Taiwan.

Our intent in having this course is specifically twofold: 1) to work on a senior project that reflects the summation of all your learning and your research focus; 2) be part of a Chinese-only session every week to keep up fluency and proficiency.  The format is tentatively set as meeting twice a week for class to be held at 4-5:15 pm [subject to change] on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There are roughly three phases to go through during the term:

  • Regular reading and discussion on potential theses (in class); invited  speakers on relevant issues (by fellow seniors and graduate students at Pitt;
  • Formulation and compilation of projects (individual meetings with the Instructor);
  • Presentations of thesis synopsis (in Chinese) in class; submission of projects

Readings will be focused on, but not limited to the following:

--Selected readings in Chinese and English (individual printouts)

--Electronic media

--Reviewing materials from

seminal courses in both  traditional and modern Chinese culture: Dr. Sun’s CHIN 1090 “Great Minds of China” focusing on Confucianism, Daoism, and Chan Buddhism and CHIN 0070 “Exploring China from Roots to Blooms” focusing on the origin and formation of Chinese characters, the all pervasive and cosmological concept of qi (vital energy) and the Yin-Yang concept in the Book of Changes, the influential Military Strategy of Sunzi, etc. in the traditional area, and two courses on modern China under the rubric of “World of China.”  The modern segment offers in its turn a cross-section view of the Chinese society transitioning through dynastic changes, social upheavals, political traumas, open-door reforms up till present.