Education About Asia: Online Archives

Four Ways to Use Literature in Chinese History Courses

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By Timothy Cheek

As teachers of Asian Studies courses, we have no doubt all used literature to help make our topic more accessible, challenging, and meaningful to our students. Over the years, I have come to use literature in four different ways in my Asian history and culture courses at Colorado College, a liberal arts college with small classes that promote discussion. I use literature as illustrative material, as confounding examples, as historical documents, and as liminal artifacts on the border between literary text and historical document. While the examples I give below are all from Chinese studies, it is my hope that they will suggest paths to take in other Asian history courses.