Literature & Film Classes

Spring 2024 Registration is Now Open!
Classes start on April 8, 2024!
Register by March 5 to receive $30 discount off tuition!

China Institute offers a variety of special interest classes that tailor to different interests and hobbies of our audiences in the areas of traditional art, literature, and more.

Check below of a list of currently available courses.

Contact us today for any questions regarding classes!

Available Courses:

A Special Course by Ben Wang: A Ballad of Ballads: Li Bai’s Calling from Chang-gan 長干行

Calling from Chang-gan is a bildungsroman, depicting how an innocent girl flowers first into a shy young wife, and then into a mature woman in love: it is love that ultimately transforms her into a fearless woman warrior hell-bent on doing anything and going anywhere for the return of her man.

This ballad of love opens with symbolic spring, followed by summer when the lovers are at the height of their passion. As the lovers’ separation goes on, the narration turns to the advent and then the dark end of autumn, the closing of yet another year without her love. And at last, she breaks out of her early image as an ingénue, and shouts in the winter of her love story to her beloved that she’d do anything possible to see him again, even if it means her perish. With this image the pentasyllabic ballad closes.

Through the creation of this woman with an increasing intensity of her emotions, Li Bai has crossed the barrier of sex and triumphed in assuming the role of the female protagonist as the first person in his writing.

Calling from Chang-gan must be studied to be loved for its full beauty of the poetry set in its remarkable music. It will be a Ben Wang’s special course offered in the spring semester of China Institute…

Tuesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
April 9 – June 11
10 sessions (20 hours)
$550 member / $590 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
This class will be taught in English.


6:30 - 8:30 PM
Instructor: Ben Wang
Masters of Modern Chinese Literature: Readings in Original Chinese Texts

Modern Chinese literature (1918-2018) presents a spectacular cultural and intellectual transformation that reflected the impacts of political turmoil and societal collapse and rebuilding. A new writing culture emerged and reached immediate florescence in active responses to all the historic themes packed in China including revolutions and wars, poverty and reforms, censorship and ideological fights, and particularly the language itself breaking from the two-millennium tradition of literary Chinese.

In this course, students will read the original texts and engage in an in-depth discussion of works by the five most phenomenal and unusually gifted masters. The works selected will include essays, short stories, and poems by Lu Xun (鲁迅 1881-1936), Hu Shih (胡适 1891-1962), Xu Zhimo (徐志摩 1897-1931), Qian Zhongshu (钱钟书 1910-1998), Yu Guangzhong (余光中 1928-2017), with snapshots of Shen Congwen (沈从文 1902-1988), Ba Jin (巴金 1904-2005), Feng Zhi (冯至 1905-1993), Zhang Ailing (张爱玲 1920-1995)…

*This class will be taught in Chinese. An advanced level of proficiency in the Chinese language is required. A course package will be provided.

Monday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
April 8 – June 17 (No Class 5/27, Memorial Day)
10 sessions (20 hours)
$550 member / $590 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)


Class Cancelled
6:30 - 8:30 PM
Instructor: Steve Zhang
Modern China Through Film—Chinese Families in Transition

This 6-week course will explore the changing Chinese families through Chinese fictional cinema made during the two decades after the mid-1990s. It will focus on feature films about Mainland China by the so-called fifth- and sixth-generations filmmakers, and some younger, newly emerging balinghou (post-1980s) directors who came of age after the millennium. Participants will gain an understanding of modern and contemporary Chinese film, history and culture as well as familiarity with the Chinese movie industry and its major players.

The course involves a combination of screening and lectures covering a total of five contemporary Chinese-language films.

  1. Zhang Yimou’s To Live, 张艺谋,活着 (1994)
  2. Zhang Yuan’s Seventeen Years, 张元,过年回家 (1999)
  3. Huo Jianqi’s Postmen in the Mountains, 霍建起, 那山那人那狗 (1999)
  4. Xin Yukun’s The Coffin in the Mountain, 忻钰坤, 心迷宫 (2014)
  5. Yang Mingming’s Girls Always Happy, 杨明明, 柔情史 (2018)

*This class will be taught in English. Reading materials will be provided.

Class Schedule:
Tuesday, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
April 16 – May 21
6 sessions (9 lecture hours)
$250 member / $290 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)


6:30 - 8:00 PM
Instructor: Karen Ma

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