EAS 140 (#5090)

Introduction to East Asian Cinema

“Gender in Chinese Films”

1st Quarter, Fall 2008

Tu &Th 7:15PM - 10:05PM

 HU 020



Dr. Fan Pen Chen
Office hours: Tu 10:15-11:15; Th 3:00-4:00; and by appointment.

Office: Hu-246

Phone: 442-2600

Email: fanchen@albany.edu


Movies are said to represent popular media's most prestigious art form. Contemporary Chinese cinematography is claiming a status among the best cinematographies of the world. Embedded in Chinese culture, its films provide a window to understanding traditional and modern Chinese culture. This course offers a general introduction to the portrayal of gender in Chinese films through the lens of six (6) films. It examines issues related to sexism, gender relations and the construction of gender in Chinese culture. Appreciation of the aesthetic merits of the films is also a major goal of the course.


The course fulfills the General Studies Arts requirement. No prior knowledge of East Asian cinema is necessary. 


Required Materials:


A packet of critiques of the six films is available through our University Electronic Reserve System (ERes) which can be accessed through the Internet. All you need to do is to go to the University library page from the University main page. Select “Eres,” click on “Electronic Reserves and Reserves Pages,” fill in “140” for the Course Number, click on “AEAS140” and fill in the password (eas140f08). 

Please note this is a quarter course. The final is scheduled by the university to be given on Thursday October 16th. Each week the class will view one film. The films are not available in the library or from the instructor, and there can be no provisions for missed classes or missed exams. It is therefore essential that you plan to attend all meetings of this class. You must not come to class late. Wandering in and out of class is extremely distracting to the professor and other students in any course but even more so in a course of this nature.


Grading will be determined as follows: 1) class attendance, preparation, and contribution to class discussions (24% of the final grade); 2) midterm exam (20% of the final grade); 3) final exam (20% of the final grade); and 4) 3 one-page thematic papers (36% of the final grade. Each thematic paper is worth 12%).

Numerical scores will be converted to course grades according to the following scale: 93-100%=A; 90-92.99%=A-; 87-89.99%=B+; 83-86.99%=B; 80-82.99%=B-; 77-79.99%=C+; 73-76.99%=C; 70-72.99%=C-; 67-69.99%=D+; 63-66.99%=D; 60-62.99%=D-; 0-59,99%=E.

Attendance will be taken at each class, beginning on Tuesday August 28, the first day of class. No unexcused absences are allowed. A record of both absences and late arrivals will be kept and they will hurt the attendance component of your grade.

Three one-page thematic papers will be due at the beginning of class on the dates assigned. Late papers will not be accepted. If the paper is not submitted on time (beginning of class on the date due), you automatically lose 12% of your grade. Guidelines for these papers will be available. If you tend to miss classes and hand in assignments late, you should think about dropping this class now. Also, there is no eating or drinking in class.

Class Rules You are responsible for reading the undergraduate students’ manual online for familiarity with the university rules and regulations which also apply to our class.     

The discovery of any cheating (including plagiarism or shared work of any kind) during an exam or on written assignment will result in 1) expulsion from this class with a failing grade, 2) a referral of the matter to appropriate university officials. Note that copying of any material from the Internet is plagiarism. There might be analyses and other materials concerning these films on many Internet sites, but if you use them without giving due credit, it constitutes plagiarism. The students involved in this type of conduct will fail the course and their cases would be submitted to the corresponding university authorities. Given the nature and requirements of the paper assignments, points will be deducted for using other sources, even if you give due credit to the sources.  


Learning Objectives for General Education Arts Courses (Developed by Focus Group of UAlbany faculty)

Arts courses enable students to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of the history and/or practice of one form of artistic expression.
  2. recognition of the difference and overlap between creative and critical thinking.
  3. an understanding of the function and meaning of form.
  4. that they have the vocabulary they need to continue to learn about how art is made and interpreted.
  5. depending on the nature of the course, arts courses enable students to demonstrate an understanding of how art works are embedded within different cultures at different times and places.



EAS 140 Course Schedule, Fall 2008

(Subject to Amendment)



8/26 – Introduction. View “Hero.”

8/28 – Overview of traditional Chinese history. Discussion of film.

9/2 – View “The King of Masks.”


9/4 Critical terminologies. Discussion of film.

9/9 – View “To Live.”  First "Thematic Paper" due.


9/11 – Overview of modern Chinese history. Discussion of film.


9/16 – MIDTERM


9/18 – View “Farewell My Concubine.”

9/23 – Discussion of film.

9/25 – View “Together.” Second "Thematic Paper" due.

9/30 – NO CLASS


10/2  Discussion of film.


10/7 – View “Eat Drink Man Woman.” 


10/9 – NO CLASS


10/14 – Discussion of film. Third "Thematic Paper" due.



Titles of films for viewing on a specific date are subject to change without notice!


"Thematic Paper” Guidelines


        The purpose of these short papers is NOT to summarize the plot of the film, but rather for you to articulate and develop a theme in the film based on class discussions and your own intellectual and aesthetic reactions to the film. The paper is NOT to be a simple catalogue of your impressions but rather a coherent analysis of the film through the exposition of a thesis clearly stated in the first sentence of the paper.

        * papers are limited to one double-spaced or 1.5 spaced typed page (12 pt)
        * use standard 8.5 x 11 inch white paper
        * handwritten papers will not be accepted
        * no cover sheet
        * place your name at the left hand corner the top of the page and no other info

        * place the title of the paper centered in Bold, 12 pt, across the top of the page    

        * check carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes

        * plan the paper before your write

        * think of a main "point," "argument," or "theme" of the film

        * use at least three scenarios or points from the film to support your theme.
        * write short clear sentences
        * organize paragraphs logically and plan transitions between paragraphs
        *read the critiques on the film before viewing the film (see ERes)       
        * take notes during class discussions