• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2015
    See Future Offerings
Friends, Family, Connections: Practices of Relatedness in Chinese Worlds (ASIA8012)
A large body of scholarship now addresses a range of questions about social relatedness in China: What does kinship consist of in China and how is it changing?  How have patrilineal kinship imaginaries shaped the place of women in Chinese families?  What is the relationship of love and practicality in romantic relationships?  How are relationships formed outside of the family in business and politics and how do these types of relationships draw on the form and content of kin relations?  How have urbanization and new communication technologies shaped practices of relationship formation?  China is an important reference point for the study of social relationships both because of scholarly debates about the uniqueness of the practices used to form social relationships there and because Chinese society is changing so rapidly. This course will introduce sociological and anthropological methods and analytics for the study of social relationships while examining the cultural forms of relatedness in Chinese social worlds.  The place of kinship imaginaries in everyday ethics and social practice will be emphasized.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to

1. Analyze the cultural and practical logics of patrilineal kinship in Chinese settings including the social variability of that practice.
2. Critically examine debates about the place of social connections (guanxi) in Chinese society.
3. Critically examine debates about how Chinese kinship is changing and the causes of that change.
4. Analyze how cultural modes of practice and understanding in one realm of society (kinship) are applied in other settings.
5. Apply analytic approaches to kinship and relatedness to Chinese settings.
6. Critically utilize case studies when arguing analytical points in writing.
7. Summarize, digest and present the contents of analytical readings for a wider audience.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial Participation: 10%  1,2,3,4,5,7
Tutorial Presentation and Essay 20% 1500 words 1,2,3,4,5,7
Final Essay 40% 3000 words 1,2,3,4,5,6
Final Exam 30% 1,2,3,4,5,6

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Scheduled for 29 June to 17 July 2015, 9:30am to 12:30pm every week day.

Preliminary Reading

Some of the book length works lectures and student readings will draw upon include:
Ba, Jin
1972. Family {a novel}. New York: Cheng and Tsui.
Brandtstadter, Susanne and Goncalo dos Santos eds.
2009. Chinese Kinship: Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Fei, Xiaotong
1992. From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society, A Translation of Fei Xiaotong's Xiangtu Zhongguo, trans. Gary Hamilton and Wang Zheng (Berkeley: University of California Press).
Gold, Thomas, Doug Guthrie and David L. Wank (eds)
2002. Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture and the Changing Nature of Guanxi (New York: Cambridge University Press).
Hsu, Francis
1971[1948]. Under the Ancestors' Shadow: Kinship, Personality, and Social Mobility in China (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
Ikels, Charlotte, ed.
2004. Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Kipnis, Andrew B.
1997. Producing Guanxi: Sentiment, Self, and Subculture in a North China village (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
Osborg, John
2013. Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China's New Rich (Stanford University Press).
Wolf, Margery
1968. The House of Lim: a study of a Chinese farm family (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall).
1972. Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
Yan, Yunxiang
2003. Private Life Under Socialism: Love, Intimacy and Family Change in a Chinese Village 1949-1999 (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui
1994. Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Zheng, Tiantian
2009. Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

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Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2958
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4350
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1688 01 Jul 2015 24 Jul 2015 24 Jul 2015 30 Sep 2015 In Person N/A

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