Global Summer/Winter School
W022 - Ancient Culture in Contemporary China

W022 Ancient Culture in Contemporary China


Duration: 2018.1.22-2018.02.09


Campus: Xuhui



Course Description

In the last thirty years, China has developed more and more quickly than any society in human history, resulting in a sense of rootlessness and inquiry into the basis of values in contemporary China. In attempting to understand this basis, efforts tend to focus on China’s differences from the West, as well as China’s history: In contradistinction to contemporary Western values, those in China would be based on ancient Eastern paradigms, characterized in terms of figures, questions, and themes associated with the Chinese philosophic tradition. To better understand these dynamics and their stakes, this course serves as an introduction to Chinese philosophy, through reflection on the extent to which Chinese philosophy serves as, first, the basis for Chinese culture and, second, plays a role similar to religion in the Western world.

Towards this end, emphasis will be given to not only the history of China and its philosophical tradition but also contemporary China and current social trends.



Help foreign students to understand this basis, efforts tend to focus on China’s differences from the West, as well as China’s history;


  • Students will walk away with an introductory knowledge to Chinese philosophy and have a sense of how it works in a modern and more developed China;


  • Three excursions to historical sites in Nanjing, Ningbo and Suzhou will be arranged to mobilize the classroom and provide a fun way of learning to the students.



Dr. Rockwell F. Clancy


Dr. Rockwell F. Clancy is a Lecturer in engineering ethics and philosophy at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, Research Fellow in the Institute of Social Cognitive and Behavioral Science at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Associate Editor of the Asian Journal of Law and Society, Cambridge University Press. He has served as a long-term educational consultant at Purdue University, having previously taught in the US and Europe.


Dr. Clancy was a visiting researcher at the University of Strasbourg, France before moving to Shanghai, and his work has been supported by grants from the Shanghai Municipal government, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Purdue Research Foundation, and Flemish Community government of Belgian. He has published and presented extensively on engineering ethics, the impact of technology on (cross-cultural) values, moral psychology, and cross-cultural communication, as well as European philosophy, literature, and psychoanalysis. He is currently working on a number of research projects related to these themes.



Introduction to Chinese Philosophy: As Culture and Religion? consists of 45 contact hours (3 credits). The course grade is composed of the following components:

  • Attendance/reading quizzes (20%)
  • In-class reflective writing (30%)
  • Cultural assessment vignettes/surveys (30%)
  • Final exam (20%)



Program Coordinator: Viva Du (           


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