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The School of Chinese Literature

The predecessor of Beijing Normal University’s School of Chinese Literature, the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, was one of the oldest departments of Chinese language in the country’s history. In a hundred years it produced a great number of talented scholars for China and made a significant contribution to the development of the study of the Chinese language and Chinese literature. Early on, there were such brilliant lights as Lu Xun, Qian Xuantong, Li Jinxi, Huang Yaomian, Zhong Jingwen and Qi Gong. They were followed by Guo Yuheng, Han Zhaoqi, Guo Zhigang, and other famous scholars, all of whom promoted the culture and encouraged education. Today, all the professors in the department, led by Tong Qingbing and Wang Ning, among others, are pioneering in building a leadership position for the School. Passing the torch of scholarship from generation to generation, they are firmly rooted in the academic ways of the homeland while also maintaining an active interest in the outside world. These leaders are not only passing on the cultural traditions of China but also conveying the new knowledge from the West. They have assumed the major responsibility of teaching Chinese culture and education.

The new institution, Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Literature, was established in May 2003 and has been working to build a solid platform for future development on the foundations of the original Chinese Language and Literature discipline. The School of Chinese Literature embraces eleven research institutes. The undergraduate program includes two specialties: Chinese Language and Literature, and Communication, and the department as a whole contributes to the course content and structure. Graduate students are trained at eleven institutes:

1. Institute of Classical Chinese, with four research areas: Chinese Characters Study, Textual Hermeneutics, Classical Chinese Grammar, and Phonology
2. Institute of Modern Chinese, with three research areas: Modern Chinese Grammar and Rhetoric, Modern Chinese Characters Study and Vocabulary, and Modern Chinese Pronunciation and Dialects
3. Institute of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, with five research areas: Pronunciation and Phonology, Semantics, Grammar, Historical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics
4. Institute of Literature and Art Theory, with four research areas: Ancient Chinese Literary Theory, Western Literary Theory, Basic Literary Theory, Popular Culture and Literary Aesthetics
5. Institute of Ancient Chinese Literature, with five research areas: Pre-Qin and Han Literature, Tang and Song Literature, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Literature, Ancient Literary Records Classification and Research, Ancient Chinese Literature Critical History
6. Institute of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, with four research areas: Modern Literature, Contemporary Literature, Children’s Literature, Drama, Movie- & TV-related Literature
7. Institute of Comparative Literature and World Literature, with three research areas: Comparative Literature Theory, European and American Literature, Eastern Literature
8. Institute of Folklore and Cultural Anthropology, with three research areas: Study on Folk Literature and Art, Folklore, Cultural Anthropology
9. Institute of Folklore and Social Development, with five research areas: Historical Folklore, Modern Folklore, Digital Folklore, Gender Studies, Technnology Folklore
10. Institute of Chinese Education, with two research areas: Chinese Education for the Primary and Secondary School, Chinese Education for the University
11. Institute of Journalism and Communication, which includes three research areas: Journalism, Communication, Editing and Publishing

The School includes seven unincorporated interdisciplinary research centers: Gender and Development Research Center, Chinese Language and Overseas Chinese Education Research Center, Media Planning and Culture Dissemination Research Center, Pan-Media Culture Research Center, China Children’s Literature Research Center, Folk Culture Census and Research Center, Zhang Taiyan and Huang Kan Research Center. In addition, the School of Chinese Literature includes a Computer Laboratory, a Journalism and Communication Education Laboratory, a Chinese Writing Research Laboratory, and a Digital Folklore Laboratory.
Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Literature’s course in Chinese Language and Literature is a First-level National Academic Key Discipline, and the course on Folklore is a Second-level National Academic Key Discipline. The School is among the first Chinese First-Level Master’s degree and Doctorate authorization centers. It is also one of the first two post-doctoral centers for Chinese Language and Literature, and one of the first National Foundation Science Talent Training and Research bases. It also boasts a National Humanities Foundation Science Talent Training and Research Base (Chinese Language and Literature), two Ministry of Education Key Research bases for the Social Sciences (Research Center for Literature and Arts, and Folklore and Ancient Records Research Center), and one Research Center for the Classification and Standardization of Chinese Characters, established in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Language and Character Information Management Division. The School of Chinese Literature is also one of China’s “Project 211” key institutions and “Project 985” second-period key institutions.

The School of Chinese Literature has a strong teaching force. The School is one of China’s top educational centers among Chinese institutions of higher education for its Chinese Language and Literature offerings and for a pedagogy and research level with international influence. The school has a staff of 149, including 136 full-time professors, 55 professors, 51 tutors for Ph.D. students and 90 tutors for Master’s degree students. More than 88% of the professors here hold doctorates. There are seven “985” Specially-Appointed Professors, one Capital Scholar, one Changjiang Scholar, and eight Cross-Century and New Century Outstanding Talent scholars. There are nine doctoral programs (Theory of Literature and Art, Chinese Language and Philology, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Chinese Classical Literature, Ancient Chinese Literature, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature and World Literature, Folklore, Folk Literature), twelve Master’s degree programs (Theory of Literature and Art, Chinese Language and Philology, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Chinese Classical Literature, Ancient Chinese Literature, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature and World Literature, Folklore, Journalism, Children’s Literature, Theory of Curriculum and Instruction, Folk Literature). The School leads the nation in terms of the number of doctoral programs offered in Chinese language and literature.

Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Literature has always been people-oriented and has always considered it a duty to train highly competent scholars with comprehensive abilities. As a result, the School has continuously worked to reform its approach to education and pedagogy, broadening training channels and promoting the quality of human resources.

There are currently nearly 2,200 full-time students at the School of Chinese Literature, among whom are 845 undergraduates, 1,029 post-graduates (755 Master’s degree candidates and 274 Ph.D. candidates), and 335 foreign students. Two doctoral dissertations presented at the School have been named among the “100 National Outstanding Doctoral Dissertations.”

The School attaches great importance to academic research and has so far achieved much in this area. Since 2001, Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Literature has been working on many national and ministerial-level key projects, including the “Electronic Collection and Description of Ming Tablet Inscriptions and Hand-Written Documents” (Ming Dai Beike Ji Shuxie Wenxian Dianzi Diancang ji Shuxing Miaoshu), the “Project for the Construction of the Chinese Big Character Set” (Zhonghua Dazi Fuji Jianshe Gongcheng), the “Project for Central Marxist Theory Research and Construction Engineering Literature Group” (Zhongyang Makesizhuyi Lilun Yanjiu He Jianshe Gongcheng Wenxuezu Xiangmu), “Research on the Major Problems in the Creation and Reorganization of Historical Works” (Lishi Ticai Chuanzuo He Gaibian Zhong De Chongda Wenti Yanjiu), “Research on the Reform and Implementation of the Chinese Higher Education Flexible Educational System” (Zhongguo Gaoxiao Danxing Xuezhi Gaige Yu Shijian Yanjiu), “The Chinese Approach to Western Literary Theory and the Construction of Contemporary Chinese Literary Theory” (Xifang Wenlun Zhongguohua Yu Zhongguo Dangdai Wenlun Jianshe), “National Research on 20th-Century Marxist Literary Theory” (20 Shiji Makesizhuyi Wenlun Guobie Yanjiu), and the study of “Chinese Ancient Literary Education and the Birth, Development, and Diffusion of Literature” (Zhongguo Gudai Wenxue Jiaoyu Yu Wenxue De Shengcheng, Fazhan Yu Chuanbo). These endeavors have secured for the School 41 National, Provincial, and Ministerial Scientific Research awards. Among the School’s publications to date are 402 academic papers and 784 papers that have appeared in key Chinese journals, all of which has resulted in the School receiving academic research funds of RMB 9,705 million.

In 2005, the School launched the quarterly publication, “Li Yun Academic Journal” (Li Yun Xuekan) (Literature volume and Language volume). In 2004, the course in Chinese Language and Literature of the School of Chinese Literature was evaluated by the Degrees and Researchers Education Evaluation Department of the Ministry of Education, and the School was pronounced number-one in the country in terms of teaching capability and research level, and number-two in general terms. Between 2005 and 2008, for four years in a row the nationally known “Chinese Universities Evaluation” process judged the School’s Major of Chinese Language and Literature the best in China.

The School continues to promote transparency in its activities, as well as democratic management. There is a Teachers’ Committee, an Academic Committee, and a Learning and Teaching Committee. Professor Zhang Jian is the current President of the School. Professor Li Guoying is the Secretary of the School Party Committee. Professor Li Guoying (who holds more than one post), Professor Guo Changyu, Professor Wang Lijun, and Associate Professor Yao Jianbin are vice presidents of the School. Associate Professor Zhang Yanling and Teacher Fang Hongshan are the vice secretaries of the School Party Committee. Professor Tong Qingbing is the President of the Teachers’ Committee, Professor Wang Ning and Professor Zhao Rengui are vice presidents. Professor Dong Xiaoping is the current President of the Academic Committee, and Professor Wang Xiangyuan and Professor Li Yunfu are the vice presidents. Professor Li Zhengrong is the current President of the Learning and Teaching Committee, and Professor Zou Hong and Professor Yi Min are the vice presidents. To encourage information sharing, the School also publishes the School of Chinese Literature Newsletter (Wenxueyuan Tongxun).

Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Literature has established good exchanges and collaborative relationships with many Chinese teaching and research institutions. Also, in the past few years more than fifty scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, among other countries, have come to the School of Chinese Literature to visit, lecture, develop research in collaboration with local scholars, and to participate in conferences. The School has sponsored more than fifteen major international academic conferences and cultural exchange activities and has welcomed more than forty Chinese and foreign experts to visit or lecture. After its success with the 7th Bachelor’s Degree course in Singapore, in 2004 the School set up a Master’s degree course in Chinese Language and Culture. This course has been very well received and has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of Chinese-foreign cultural exchanges. The School is now actively promoting the Confucius Institutes in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

The School of Chinese Literature is also working hard on a Chinese Language and Literature course digitalization program. In addition to the powerful tool of the School website, other electronic sources are promoting the modernization of traditional humanities studies, including: the Chinese teaching and scientific research multimedia collection workshop, the Theory of Literature and Art website, the Folklore and Ancient Records Research Center website, the Chinese Ancient Literature website, the Folk Images Electronic Archive, the Tablet Inscriptions and Hand-Written Documents Electronic Archive, and the Ministry of Culture Mathematical Folk Songs Integrated Example.

Data on the current status of The School of Chinese Literature

Disciplines and majors
Undergraduate majors Newly-established undergraduate majors Talent training bases
National Provincial and Ministerial School level
2   1

 

 

First-level National Key Disciplines(Chinese Language and Culture) Second-level National Key Disciplines (part of Sociology) Post-doctoral scientific research stations Ph.D. centers Master’s degree centers
1 1 1 9 12
Number of students Undergraduates Foreign students Post-graduates Ph.D. candidates
1181   755 274
  Number of teachers and structure Professional titles structure Total no. of full-time professors Professors Associate Professors Lecturers Assistant Professors and undefined titles
No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage
136 58 42.6% 40 29.4% 38 28%    
Education structure Total no. of full-time professors Ph.D. candidates Master’s degree students University undergraduates No degree
No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage
136 120 88% 10 7.4% 6 4.6%    
Age structure Total no. of full-time professors Under 35 yrs. 36-45 yrs. 46-55 yrs. Over 56 yrs.
No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage
136 38 28% 51 37.5% 30 22% 17 12.5%
School structure Total no. of full-time professors From this School and this specialization From this School but not this specialization From other schools
No. Percentage No. Percentage No. Percentage
136 65 47.8% 5 3.7% 66 48.5%

Lecturer qualifications (percentage)

Ratio of professional and basic lectures to undergraduate students by Professors and Associate Professors in the past 2 years
Year 06-07 Year 07-08
100% 98% 100%
No. of high-level Professors Changjiang Scholar Specially-appointed Professors Renowned Teachers National Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions Candidates of the “National Hundred, Thousand, and Ten Thousand Talents Project”
National Provincial
1 2 2 1 2
Winners of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars Winners of the Outstanding Young Teacher Award of Higher Education Institutions given by the Ministry of Education Candidates of Cross-century and New Century Program  Members of the Course Evaluation Group of the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council Tutors of Ph.D. candidates Tutors of postgraduates

 

1 8

 

51 88
Teaching Achievement awards above Provincial and Ministerial level (included) Excellent courses above Provincial level (included) Teaching materials awards above Provincial and Ministerial level (included)
National Provincial and Ministerial National Provincial and Ministerial National Provincial and Ministerial
7 8 2 1 3 4

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