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Discover Chinese Drama: Understanding 'The Injustice to Dou E'

Explore the origins and development of Chinese drama in this course examining the classic play 'The Injustice to Dou E'.

1,305 enrolled on this course

Explore the wonders of Chinese literature in the time of the Yuan dynasty

Chinese drama is a brilliant crystalisation of Chinese performing arts, and ‘The Injustice to Dou E’ is one of the genre’s greatest examples.

This thirteenth-century play remains a much-quoted classic in China, and – with its startlingly realistic portrayal of injustice in the Yuan dynasty – still captivates modern audiences.

On this course, you’ll study the history and development of Chinese drama, learning how to define and analyse Zaju opera, and ultimately closely examine the famous play itself.

Our educators will irregularly join the discussion with you, but, of course, at every step in this course, you are invited to share your ideas with us and other fellow learners.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds One way to learn about the essence of a culture is by listening to the stories it tells. For those who are interested in knowing more about Chinese culture, this course—Chinese Drama—will be great for you. We will begin with a brief introduction to Chinese history, to be followed by the development of performing arts in China. Then we will explore several important topics Chinese are concerned about in a traditional play called Injustice to Dou E, 竇娥冤, a zaju play written in the 13th century during the Yuan dynasty, i.e., the Mongol rule. Have you ever heard of a traditional Chinese play called Snow in June, 六月雪? This Beijing Opera, which is still performed a lot today, is based on Injustice to Dou E.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds This is to say the 13th-century play is still alive today! Through different steps of close reading, discussion, rewriting, article reading and video demonstration, we will examine the dilemma the female protagonist Dou E faces in the play so as to understand Chinese culture more and to appreciate the beauty of Yuan zaju! I hope you will enjoy it.

What topics will you cover?

  • The History and Definition of Chinese Drama
  • Development of Chinese Drama
  • The Characteristics of Yuan Zaju
  • Characters and Plot of Yuan Zaju
  • The Plot of The Injustice to Dou E

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on the meaning of justice through the study of Injustice to Dou E
  • Explore the historical background of Yuan Zaju
  • Compare the idea of justice of ancient China and other countries

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone wishing to know more about the developlent of Chinese drama, the history of the Yuan period, or explore the performance of Zaju.

What software or tools do you need?

You will be invited to post your creative ideas on Padlet, an online virtual ‘bulletin’ board, where we can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures. But don’t worry, clear instruction will be given on how to use these tools as we go along. See you in class!

Who will you learn with?

Tsui-fen Jiang, Professor of English at National Chengchi University, Taiwan, completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. Her specialty is Modern Drama.

Who developed the course?

National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University

National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) was originally founded in Shanghai in 1896 and was re-established in Hsinchu, Taiwan in 1958.

National Chengchi University

National Chengchi University (NCCU), founded in 1927, is known in Taiwan as one of the leading schools for researching and teaching in the humanities and social sciences.


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