Thematic courses comprised of 3-5 sessions offered in the early evening on (Chinese) poetry, literature and art.


Upcoming Courses:

Songs of the Heart: Magnificent Poetry from the Tang Dynasty

Songs of the Heart

Blending music and painting – in that the spoken language is music and the written language is painting – the Chinese language is uniquely suited for poetry. Classical Chinese poetry reached its heights during the Tang dynasty (618-907). In this lecture in English, Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities at China Institute, will introduce selected works by three of the towering masters of the Tang period: Li Bai (701-762) of the high Tang Period, and Du Mu (803-852) and Li Shangyin (812-858) of the twilight years of the dynasty. Detailed discussion of the poems in their original Chinese will be given to reveal the beauty and profundity of the works. The political and social background of the Tang dynasty, against which the poems were composed, and the relationship between Chinese poetry, music, painting and major schools of thought will also be explored. A few classical poems in English composed in the spirit of the Chinese poems will also be introduced.

No previous knowledge of Chinese is required.

About the Lecturer
Ben Wang is Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities at China Institute, Co-Chair of the Renwen Society of China Institute, and Instructor of Chinese at the United Nations Language Program. An award-winning published translator, Ben Wang has taught and lectured on the Chinese language, calligraphy, and classical Chinese literature at Yale, Columbia, Barnard, Williams, U.C. Berkeley, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, ABC Nightline, the BBC, among other academic and cultural institutions. Ben Wang taught Chinese and translation at Columbia University and New York University between 1969 and 1991.

Course Schedule
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 PM – Includes a special finale performance by musical guest Chen Tao

Members: $60 full series / $25 individual ticket
Non-Members: $75 full series / $30 individual ticket

For more information, please call Aaron Nicholson at 212-744-8181 x138 or anicholson@chinainstitute.org.

*This course is made possible through the generous support of Hanban, officially known as the “Office of Chinese Language Council International,” with additional support from other private and public foundations.


The Cultural Revolution on Film

CR on Film

One of the most dramatic periods in Chinese history, still reverberating today, the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is also one of the least understood. In this short course of six films, made during and after the Cultural Revolution by both Chinese and Western filmmakers, experts in the Chinese and cinema studies fields examine the period and discuss its relevance for China today. This series is organized in conjunction with China Institute’s exhibition, Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution.

Series Schedule

Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Two Stage Sisters (1964) One of China’s most beloved modern feature films, depicts the exploitation of two female opera stars and the different paths their lives take. Directed by Xie Jin and introduced by Richard Peña, Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival and Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Morning Sun (2003) Documentary based on rare archival footage and interviews with participants, both famous and ordinary, seen through the lens of propaganda cinema. Directed by Geremie Barmé, Richard Gordon, and Carma Hinton. Introduced by Carma Hinton, who was raised in China, and is both a filmmaker and the Robinson Professor of Visual Culture and Chinese Studies at George Mason University.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
The Drugstore and The Football Incident (1975) A famous leftist documentarian’s take on the Cultural Revolution, in two films from the only cinema verite series ever made on the Cultural Revolution. Directed by Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan, introduced by Nancy Jervis, China specialist who worked with the filmmakers on the English versions of the films.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
An Evening of Cultural Revolution Cinema. Immerse yourself in the Cultural Revolution in this illustrated lecture by Richard Peña, with excerpts from the eight model operas and the feature film Breaking with Old Ideas (1975).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Though I am Gone (2006) A gripping documentary about the Cultural Revolution’s first violent event, which took place at a prestigious girls’ high school in Beijing. Directed by Hu Jie and introduced by Weili Ye, a former student at the girls’ school and Professor of Chinese History at UMass/Boston.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Sacrificed Youth (1985) An elegiac and rarely screened feature film about the “sent-down youth,” set among the Dai minority in Southwestern China. Directed by Zhang Nuanxin with post-film discussion by Renqiu Yu, Professor of Chinese History at SUNY/Purchase. (Pending availability of the film.)

Wednesdays, October 15 – November 19 ~ 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Members: $12 single ticket
Non-Members: $15 single ticket

For more information, please call Aaron Nicholson at 212-744-8181 x138 or anicholson@chinainstitute.org.


For more information on classes at China Institute, please call (212) 744-8181, or use a form available on this site.

Windows to a Culture: The Fascinating Chinese Proverbs

Rich and colorful, the Chinese language blends music and painting: a language nonpareil in its unique visceral quality. The Chinese proverbs, mostly four-character phrases, concise but deep in their meanings, take a special place in Chinese culture, illustrating moral and emotional expressions. The philosophical and often incisive messages the proverbs carry are alternately somber, didactic, amusing, hilarious or ironic. Used properly in writings or speeches, they can achieve what cannot be achieved by other ways of articulating the same thoughts. This three-session course in English will cover some of the most poignant and evocative among the thousands of Chinese proverbs. Previous knowledge of Chinese is not required.

Ben Wang is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Chinese Language at China Institute and an award-winning translator.

Tuesdays, October 26, November 2 and 9 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$85 member / $95 non-member (3 sessions)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


Pictures that Speak: The Uniqueness of Chinese Characters

The beauty of Chinese characters – the soul of Chinese culture – are unraveled in this 3-part short course. Learn the pictographic origin and auditory history of selected characters that reveal emotions, aspects of daily life, and how they function as the main components in poetry, literature and art. While no knowledge of Chinese is required, this course enhances any study of the language.

Ben Wang is China Institute’s Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities, and an award-winning translator.

Tuesdays, November 17, 24 and December 1~ 6:30-8:30 PM
$85 member / $95 non-member (3 sessions)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


For more information on classes at China Institute, please email lchrysostome@chinainstitute.org, call (212) 744-8181, x 111, or use a form available on this site.

Short Course

Windows to a Culture —The Fascinating Chinese Proverbs II

By popular demand, join us for another session of fascinating lectures by Ben Wang on a specially selected collection of Chinese proverbs.

Rich and colorful, the Chinese language blends music and painting — a language nonpareil in its unique visceral quality. The Chinese proverbs, mostly four-character phrases, concise but deep in their meanings, take a special place in Chinese culture, illustrating moral and emotional expressions. The philosophical and often incisive messages the proverbs carry are alternately somber, didactic, amusing, hilarious, or ironic. Used properly in writings or speeches, they can achieve what cannot be achieved by other ways of articulating the same thoughts. This five- session course, held in English, will cover some of the most poignant and evocative among the thousands of Chinese proverbs. Previous knowledge of Chinese is not required.

Ben Wang is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Chinese Language at China Institute and an award-winning translator.

Tuesdays, November 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$135 member / $158 non-member (full course)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


Paul Chih Meng Memorial Short Course:
Timeless Poetry of the South

This unique course will be taught by the Institute’s own Senior Lecturer in Chinese Language and Humanities, Ben Wang, a distinguished scholar and award-winning translator of Chinese drama and poetry. This course will begin with Songs of the South (Chuci) and cover a pair of examples of Song-dynasty poetry (Songci) in the style of Songs of the South. No previous knowledge of Chinese is required.

Tuesdays, April 5, 12, and 26 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$85 member / $95 non-member (3 sessions)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


Chinese Art and Archaeology

Resident Scholar and Consulting Archaeologist to UNESCEO World Heritage Centre and Discovery Channel’s Ancient Manmade Marvels series, Dr. Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu, will teach a five-week long course introducing Chinese art and archaeology from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age. This the first in a series of short courses on Chinese art and archaeology to be offered in the next few years in conjunction with our exhibitions.

Dr. Hsu was on the faculty of Brown University (2004-2007) and a research scholar at Stanford University (2008). In 2002, she was the first American graduate student to receive a Mellon Foundation fellowship to conduct research at the Needham Institute at Cambridge University for her work on ancient cartographic science. Dr. Hsu’s publications include “Structured Perceptions of Real and Imagined Landscapes in Early China” in Geography, Ethnography, and Perceptions of the World from Antiquity to the Renaissance (2010), “An Emic Perspective on the Mapmaker’s Art in Western Han China” in Journal of the Royal Society of Asiatic Studies (2007), and The Exceptional Universal Value of the Road Systems in Ancient Empires: A Comparative Study of the Chinese Oasis Route of the Early Silk Road and the Qhapag Ñan, UNESCO (2006).

January 11 (Tuesday), 20 (Thursday), and Tuesdays, February 1, 8, and 15 ~ 6:30-8:30 PM
$200 member / $250 non-member (5 sessions)
$45 member / $55 non-member (per session; February 22, 6:30-9 PM, screening is free)

SOLD OUT

Short Course
Windows to a Culture: The Fascinating Chinese Proverbs III

By popular demand, join us for the third series of fascinating lectures by Ben Wang on a specially selected collection of Chinese proverbs.

Rich and colorful, the Chinese language blends music and painting: a language nonpareil in its unique visceral quality. Chinese proverbs, mostly four-character phrases, concise but deep in their meanings, take a special place in Chinese culture, illustrating moral and emotional expressions. The philosophical and often incisive messages the proverbs carry are alternately somber, didactic, amusing, hilarious, or ironic. Used properly in writings or speeches, they can achieve what cannot be achieved by other ways of articulating the same thoughts. This five-session course, held in English, will cover some of the most poignant and evocative among the thousands of Chinese proverbs. Previous knowledge of Chinese is not required.

Ben Wang is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Chinese Language at China Institute and an award-winning translator.

Tuesdays, November 13, 20, 27, and December 4 and 11 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$135 member / $158 non-member (full course)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


Short Course
Classical Musical Drama of China: Laughter and Tears of a People

Blending poetry with singing, dancing, and acting, the classical Chinese musical drama fully reflects the rich emotions, laughter, and tears of the Chinese people. Although conceived during the ancient Zhou Period (1100–500 BCE) with its early and inchoate music and dance separately performed, it was not born until the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century. The following Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties saw the ripening of the classical musical drama, as how it was represented by Kunqu, the towering musical drama, which in turn gave birth to hundreds of local dramas in China, among which Beijing Opera shines as Kunqu’s most prominent descendant.

In this 3-session course, Ben Wang, an authority on Kunqu, will introduce the history of the classical Chinese drama, the unique poetic and visceral qualities of Kunqu and Beijing Opera. As the finale of the course, the life and art of Mei Lanfang (1894–1961), the greatest performer of the two genres, will be discussed. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

Ben Wang is China Institute’s Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities, and an award-winning translator. He is author and translator of Laughter and Tears, a selection of Kunqu dramas, published in June 2009.

Tuesdays, April 10, 17, and 24 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$85 member / $95 non-member (three sessions)
$30 member / $35 non-member (per session)


Short Course on the Arts and History of China, Part I

Join Dr. Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu, Resident Scholar and Consulting Archaeologist to UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Discovery Channel’s Ancient Manmade Marvels series, for an introductory virtual tour of China’s great museums. This multimedia course to the arts and history of China from the earliest cultures to the Song dynasties will help students better understand China Institute’s new exhibition, Theater, Life, and the Afterlife: Tomb Décor from Ancient Shanxi, Tenth through Thirteenth Centuries (February 9 – June 17, 2012). No prior coursework on Chinese culture is required.

Prior to joining China Institute in 2008, Dr. Hsu served on the faculty of Brown University (2004–2007) and was a Mellon research scholar in Classics at Stanford University (2007–2008). First trained in Classical Archaeology, Dr. Hsu’s research and publications have focused on cross-cultural studies of early empires, including The Exceptional Universal Value of the Road Systems in Ancient Empires: A Comparative Study of the Chinese Oasis Route of the Early Silk Road and the Qhapag Ñan, a chapter in Geography, Ethnography, and Perceptions of the World from Antiquity to the Renaissance, and “An Emic Perspective of the Ancient Mapmaker’s Art,” which was published by Cambridge University Press and considered for the Barwis-Holliday Award for Far Eastern Studies by the Royal Asiatic Society. Dr. Hsu was the Special Assistant to a former U.S. Ambassador to China and Korea and has served on two UNESCO international committees. In 2009, she led the UNESCO-American Museum of Natural History study expedition to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Tuesdays, January 24, 31, February 14, and 28 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$200 member / $250 non-member (4 sessions)
$55 member / $70 non-member (per session)

2013 PAUL CHIH MENG MEMORIAL SHORT COURSE

The Timeless Li-Du and Du-Li in the World of Tang Poetry

Classical Chinese poetry, long held in the highest esteem by members of the intelligentsia in China, reached its height during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Li Bai (701-762) and Du Fu (712-770), famously known in world literature as Li-Du, are among the greatest poets during the High Tang period in the mid-8th century, in whose works love, life, and politics are fully reflected. In a true sense of “zeitgeist,” two others emerged as towering poets of the Late Tang period a century after Li-Du are Du-Li: Du Mu (803-852) and Li Shangyin (812-858). The poems by the 4 masters are all marked by hauntingly sensual images and a surpassing romanticism.

Given in honor of Dr. Paul Chih Meng, the second President of China Institute, this 3-session course presents the lives of the 4 poets and some of their finest poems. The course is taught in English, with the poems being introduced in the original Chinese with pinyin and English translation.

Ben Wang is Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Chinese Language at China Institute and an award-winning translator.

Tuesdays, May 7, 14, and 21 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$85 member/ $95 non-member (3 sessions)
$30 member/ $35 non-member (per session)


Meditative Arts
TaiChiZen Workshops: A Chinese New Year Resolution for New Yorkers

Join experienced Viviane Chen for a workshop of four classes to obtain mindfulness, peace, and health through a combination of TaiChi/Qigong/Meditation. Ms. Viviane Chen believes that a peaceful mind, a compassionate heart and a healthy body are the keys to a fulfilling life. Years of training and personal practice have enabled Ms. Chen to see the similarities and common principles behind different schools of TaiChi, Qigong and Eastern spirituality. She has developed a unique approach to the teaching and practice of these disciplines, integrating the highlights of various traditions and making them applicable in our hectic, modern lives.

Ms. Chen is a devoted student and teacher of TaiChi. She has trained with the best teachers in field in both US & China, including Master Alex Dong, the fourth generation of the renowned Dong family of Taichiquan, Master Ping Zhen Cheng, founder of TaiChiZen & “Enlightened Studies”, Master Wang Rengang, the third generation master of Dachengquan and Dr. Ye Ruichun. She has also received Chen-style Taichi training from Master Ren Guang-Yi and Grandmaster Chen Xiao-Wang, the nineteenth generation standard-bearer of the Chen Family.

Tuesdays, March 5, 12, 19, and 26 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$35 per session/ $130 series

(students are strongly encouraged to take the series for a comprehensive understanding of the practice)

*Please wear loose, comfortable clothing

Introduction to Buddhism

IntroBuddhism

This illustrated short course offers an exciting and highly visual introduction to one of the fastest growing world religions. In five sessions, participants will gain an understanding of Buddhism’s origins in India, its iconography, important concepts and primary schools of thought, its transmission into China and beyond, and contemporary Buddhist practice in China. Topics covered will include Buddhism’s relationship to Daoism, Chan Buddhism in China, and the Tang Dynasty, when some of its greatest art and literature was created. A weekend session will tour the Metropolitan Museum’s Asian art galleries, focusing on Buddhist art and artifacts.

Instructors: Annette Juliano with guest lecturer Chun-fang Yu, plus a MET tour with France Pepper.

Annette L. Juliano is Professor of Asian Art History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Professor Juliano specializes in the 6th and 7th Dynasties and is an expert on Buddhist and non-Buddhist art along the Silk Road. She was curator of China Institute’s exhibition “Buddhist Sculpture from China: Selections from the Xi’an Beilin Museum, Fifth through Ninth Centuries.”

Chun-fang Yu is Sheng Yen Professor Emerita of Buddhist Studies and Religion at Columbia University, and the author of numerous scholarly studies on Guangyin, Post-Tang Buddhism, and contemporary Buddhist practice.

France Pepper is the Founder & Director of China Insider and a frequent lecturer on Asian art at the MET.

Course Schedule:
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Saturday, March 8, 2014, 12:15 PM-1:30 PM*
Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Members: $80 course fee for full series
Non-Members: $90 course fee for full series

Registration closed – SOLD OUT

For questions, please call 212-744-8181 x 130 or email confucius@chinainstitute.org.

*Participants will meet at the MET.

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