Chinese

(Offered within the Department of Asian Studies)

Chinese puts you in touch with 1.3 billion people and with a culture still vital after more than 3,000 years. Already the second-largest economy in the world, with an annual economic growth rate more than double that of the U.S., China is also a nuclear-armed military power playing an increasingly large role in Asia. Our country critically needs proficient speakers of Chinese, not only in government service, but also in business, law, journalism, and technology. But with few exceptions, Americans visit China unable to speak the language. St. Olaf has taught Chinese since 1973 and is one of only a few colleges in the Midwest that offers four years of language study, an active study abroad program, and a broad selection of related courses in art, economics, history, literature, philosophy, politics and religion.

The Chinese Major

To fulfill a Chinese major, students will demonstrate both linguistic and cultural competence.

For linguistic and language skills, the Chinese language major students will possess proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing at the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Intermediate-High level or above as well as metalinguistic and intercultural awareness of the use of Chinese language in different social milieus.

Regarding cultural knowledge, students will have the ability to analyze, interpret, and critique various discourses and cultural productions such as literature, art, history, religion, philosophy, and politics in both social-cultural and global-contemporary contexts.

Special Programs

Since 1984, St. Olaf has had a sister-school relationship with East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China, a city that has been the focus of China’s trade and cultural exchange with the West for 150 years. Students with two years of study of Chinese language are encouraged to spend either the fall semester or spring semester on either our Term in China program in Shanghai or at one of the institutions affiliated with our Term in Taiwan program. 

The Chinese major consists of nine courses.

Core language courses 1
CHIN 231Intermediate Chinese I1.00
CHIN 232Intermediate Chinese II1.00
CHIN 301Third-Year Chinese I1.00
CHIN 302Third-Year Chinese II1.00
One language course above CHIN 302 21.00
Four courses, taught in English, focused on China/Chinese language and culture 34.00
Recommended
FLAC course(s), study abroad, internships, or other immersion experiences in China. 4
Total Credits9

 For information about the China studies concentration and the Asian studies major, see Asian Studies.

CHIN 111: Beginning Chinese I

First of two elementary courses that helps students with no prior background to develop basic Mandarin skills, such as pronunciation, pinyin, grammar, and handwriting along with knowledge of Chinese culture and society. Students should achieve the Novice Mid level on the ACTFL proficiency scale and identify about 150 characters in areas of daily life and immediate needs upon completion of this course. Students attend three classes and one laboratory weekly.. Offered annually in the fall semester.

CHIN 112: Beginning Chinese II

Second semester of the two elementary courses, designed for those who have completed CHIN 111 or with equivalent backgrounds. It aims to further develop basic Mandarin skills, such as speaking, listening, reading, writing, and knowledge of Chinese culture and society. Students should achieve the Novice High to Intermediate Low level on the ACTFL proficiency scale, identifying about 300 characters upon completion of this course. Students attend three classes and one laboratory weekly. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: CHIN 111 or placement.

CHIN 231: Intermediate Chinese I

This course is for students who have successfully completed CHIN 112 or students who have had at least one year of Chinese learning experience. It aims to enhance students' proficiency in all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) as well as knowledge of various Chinese communities and cross-cultural communications. Students should achieve the Intermediate Low/Medium level on the ACTFL proficiency scale.Students attend three classes and one laboratory weekly. Offered annually in the fall semester. Also counts toward Asian studies major.
Prerequisite: CHIN 112 or placement.

CHIN 232: Intermediate Chinese II

This course is for students who have successfully completed CHIN 231 or students with equivalent previous Chinese learning experiences. It aims to further enhance students' proficiency in all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) as well as knowledge of various Chinese communities and cross-cultural communications. Students should achieve the Intermediate Medium/High level on the ACTFL proficiency scale. Students attend three classes and one laboratory weekly. Offered annually in the spring semester. Also counts toward Asian studies major and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: CHIN 231 or placement.

CHIN 294: Academic Internship

CHIN 298: Independent Study

CHIN 301: Third-Year Chinese I

This course provides continued practice in speaking, reading, and writing at the third-year level. Our text introduces students to Chinese geography and history and modern written style. Conducted entirely in Chinese. Offered annually in the fall semester. Also counts toward Asian studies major and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: CHIN 232 or equivalent.

CHIN 302: Third-Year Chinese II

This course provides continued practice in speaking, reading, and writing at the third-year-level. Our text introduces students to Chinese geography and history and modern written style. Conducted entirely in Chinese. Offered annually in the spring semester. Also counts toward Asian studies major and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: CHIN 301 or equivalent.

CHIN 320: Special Topics in Chinese

In this fourth-year-level Chinese course, students explore a specified topic or theme in language, in various text/media (literature, newspaper, television, and film), in culture/civilization, or in a combination of these, through close examination of texts (written or visual), discussion, analysis, and interpretation of selected materials. Specific topics vary by instructor and semester. May be repeated if topic is different. Taught in Chinese. Offered annually. Also counts toward Asian studies major.
Prerequisite: CHIN 302 or equivalent.

CHIN 351: Chinese Language and Society through the Media

This advanced Chinese language course aims to develop students' language proficiency and introduce students to various aspects of contemporary Chinese social life and culture. Course materials include films with excerpts of written scripts, newspapers, television, and essays related to the unit topics. Classroom activities include lectures, language drills, discussions, debates, presentations, and performances. Taught in Chinese. Offered annually. Also counts toward Asian studies major.
Prerequisite: CHIN 302 or permission of instructor.

CHIN 360: Professional Chinese

This advanced Chinese language course assists students in acquiring content knowledge and language skills in professional and business settings. Course materials include profession-related conversations, news articles, website blogs, and radio and TV news. Class activities include lectures, language drills, discussions, presentations, and group projects. Specialized knowledge in business and economics is not required to take this course. Taught in Chinese. Offered periodically. Also counts toward Asian studies major and concentration.
Prerequisite: Chinese 302 or equivalent.

CHIN 394: Academic Internship

CHIN 398: Independent Research

Courses focused on China/Chinese

ART 259 The Arts of China

ASIAN 156 Contemporary China Through Film (in English translation)

ASIAN 236 Chinese Literature (in English translation)

ASIAN 237 Modern Chinese Literature and Society

ASIAN 270 Visual Culture of Modern China

HIST 250 China: Past and Present

HIST 251 Revolutionary China

Courses Focused on China/Chinese with Cross-Cultural/Regional/Global Comparative Perspectives

ASCON 210 Asian Conversations I

ASCON 215 Asian Conversations II (abroad)

ASCON 216 Asian Conversations IIB (on campus)

ASCON 220 Asian Conversations III

ASIAN 121 Asian Cultures in Comparative Perspectives

ASIAN 123 Asia in America

ASIAN 200 Topics in Asian Studies

ASIAN 268 The Art of Calligraphy: Techniques and Appreciation

ASIAN 282 Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy in an Asian Context

ASIAN 300 Topics in Asian Studies

ASIAN 310 Buddhism through Text and Image

ASIAN 333 What is a Hero?

ASIAN 397 Seminar: Human Rights/Asian Context

ASIAN 399 Seminar for Asian Studies Majors

AS/PS 255 Politics in Asia

AS/RE 256 Religions of China and Japan

AS/RE 257 Buddhism

AS/RE 289 Buddhism, Peace and Justice

HIST 240 Major Seminar: Histories of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (depending on content and instructor)

HIST 345 East Asia Seminar

PHIL 117 Confucius, Buddha, and Socrates

PHIL 249 Asian Philosophy

PSCI 245 Asian Regionalism

Director, 2020-2021

Ka F. Wong

Associate Professor of Asian Studies

language pedagogy; cultural studies; Asian American studies; visual culture

Hui Bi

Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Chinese language instruction

Hsiang-Lin Shih

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Chinese literature; classical and modern eras

Ying Zhou

Associate Professor of Asian Studies

second language acquistion and language pedagogy