Thomas Moran

John D. Berninghausen Professor of Chinese

 SPRING 2017: Mon 11:15-12:15, Thur 4:00-5:00, Fri 9:00-10:00, and by appointment
 Voter Hall 105

John D. Berninghausen Professor of Chinese Thomas (Tom) Moran has a Ph.D. in modern Chinese literature from Cornell University and has been at Middlebury since 1994. He teaches courses in modern and contemporary Chinese literature and Chinese film, as well as Chinese language, and has directed our team-taught course in beginning Chinese in most semesters since 1994.  He has served as the Director of East Asian Studies (2009-2011), acting director of the Literature Program (2009-2010), and director of the C.V. Starr Middlebury School in China, Beijing (spring 2011). Tom is currently serving his third term as Chair of the Greenberg-Starr Department of Chinese Language and Literature. He has received grants from the Committee for Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China, the Center for Chinese Studies at the National Library of Taiwan, the Blakemore Foundation, and the Fulbright Senior Scholar Program.

Tom is the editor of The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Chinese Fiction Writers, 1900-1949 (ThomsonGale, 2007) and co-editor of  The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Chinese Fiction Writers, 1950-2000 (Thomson, Cenage, 2013) and has published translations of modern and contemporary Chinese plays, short stories, film scripts, and essays. Most recently he has published translations of selections from the late Chinese essayist and deep ecologist Wei An’s “Things on Earth,” which have appeared in Mānoa, Cerise Press, and the New England Review; as well as translations of the short stories, “G is for Goddess,” by Chen Qiufan, and “The Philips Electric Razor,” by Zheng Xiaolü, both of which are in the book, The Sound of Salt Forming: Short Stories by the Post-80s Generation in China, edited by Song and Yang (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015).

In the fall semester of 2015, Tom taught his new course, Documentary Film in Contemporary China; to launch the course he hosted at Middlebury documentary filmmakers Wu Wenguang and Zhang Mengqi, who showed films, lectured, and visited Tom’s class. Also in the fall semester, Tom brought Chinese novelist Ning Ken to Middlebury to talk about his new novel and his concept of fiction of the “ultra-unreal.” In the spring semester of 2016, Tom will teach his new First Year Seminar, Fate, Filial Piety, and Passion: An Exploration of Key Concepts in Chinese Civilization.

Tom has been affiliated with Middlebury's program in environmental studies since 2004 and has taught the first-year seminar "The Culture of Nature in China." His article "Lost in the Woods: Nature in Soul Mountain" (Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Vol 14, No 2, Fall 2002), which is a study of a novel by Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian, was one of the first works of ecocriticism about modern Chinese literature. His current research focuses on the origins and development of nature writing in contemporary China and Taiwan.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CHNS0101 - Beginning Chinese      

Beginning Chinese
This course is an introduction to Mandarin (guoyu or putonghua). The course begins with simple words and phrases, the pronunciation and cadences of Mandarin, romanization, Chinese characters, and simple vocabulary items, all taught in the context of practical communication. Sentence patterns and other fundamentals of speaking, reading, and writing will be taught, including both traditional characters (used everywhere before the 1950s and still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong) and simplified characters (used in China). Students should have achieved active command of more than 600 Chinese characters and more than 800 compounds by the end of the sequence CHNS 0101, CHNS 0102, and CHNS 0103. 5 hrs. lect., 2 hrs. drill LNG

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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CHNS0102 - Continued Beginning Chinese      

Beginning Chinese
An intensive continuation of CHNS 0101, this course is required of those wishing to take CHNS 0103 in the spring. Students may anticipate learning a significant amount of new vocabulary, sentence patterns and idiomatic expressions. Skits, oral presentations, writing assignments, and cultural activities are also part of this course. (CHNS 0101) LNG WTR

Winter 2017

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CHNS0103 - Beginning Chinese      

Beginning Chinese
This course is a continuation of the fall and winter terms with accelerated introduction of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence patterns designed to facilitate speaking and reading. Toward the end of this semester students will read Huarshang de meiren (Lady in the Painting), a short book written entirely in Chinese. (CHNS 0102 or equivalent) 5 hrs. lect., 2 hrs. drill LNG

Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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CHNS0220 - Modern Chinese Literature      

Modern China through Literature (in translation)
This course, taught in English, is a discussion-based seminar on some of the most significant works of short fiction, novellas, and novels that tell the story of China and the Chinese from the end of the Qing dynasty to the present. Students will gain a better understanding of the history of modern China by studying the works of literature that inspired readers and provoked debate during one hundred years of social reform, revolution, war, civil war, reconstruction, cultural revolution, cultural revival, and economic growth. Our reading will include work by authors such as Lu Xun (Diary of a Madman, 1918), Zhang Ailing (Love in a Fallen City, 1944), Ah Cheng (The Chess King, 1984), Yu Hua (To Live, 1993), and, from Taiwan, Zhu Tianwen (Notes of a Desolate Man, 1999). We will consider the mainstream (socially engaged realism), the avant-garde (varieties of modernism), and popular genres (romance and martial arts), and we will look for answers to the following questions: what has been the place of fiction in China in the modern era and what vision of modern China do we find in its fiction? (No prerequisites) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL LIT NOA

Spring 2014

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CHNS0250 / FMMC0250 - Chinese Cinema      

Chinese Cinema
This course, taught in English, surveys the history of movies in China since the 1930s and also offers an in-depth look at the work of: China's fifth-generation directors of the 1980s and their successors up to the present; Taiwan's new wave; and Hong Kong popular cinema, including martial arts film. Our focus is the screening and discussion of films such as The Goddess (a 1934 silent classic), Stage Sisters (1965; directed by the influential Xie Jin), the controversial Yellow Earth (1984), In the Heat of the Sun (a 1994 break with the conventional representation of the Cultural Revolution), Yang Dechang's masterpiece A One and a Two (2000), and Still Life (Jia Zhangke's 2006 meditation on displacement near the Three Gorges Dam). The course is designed to help students understand the place of cinema in Chinese culture and develop the analytical tools necessary for the informed viewing and study of Chinese film. We will look at everything from art film, to underground film, to recent box office hits. (No prerequisites) One evening film screening per week. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL ART NOA

Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016

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CHNS0340 - Contemp Chns Lit/Cult      

Literature and Culture in the People's Republic of China (in translation)
The final focus of this course is what is happening in Chinese culture right now, but to understand now we must understand then, and so we will begin in the 1950s. In China from 1949 through the 1980s cultural activity was regarded as exerting, in Mao's words, an "enormous influence" on politics and was therefore placed under prescriptive guidelines. Writers and artists agreed that their work was important but chafed at restrictions. Since the 1990s constraints on cultural life have eased, but because Chinese literature and culture now answer to the market rather than ideology some ask if it still matters. We will try to answer this question as we trace fifty years of developments in Chinese culture in their surprising complexity. We will look at developments in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, feature and documentary film, stage drama, television, popular music, visual art, and internet fiction. Students will undertake research projects, and we will discuss research methodology. (One Chinese course in literature or culture, or by waiver) 3 hrs. sem. AAL LIT NOA

Spring 2013, Fall 2014

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CHNS0350 - Documentary Film in Cont China      

Documentary Film in Contemporary China
In China since the 1980s, new political and socio-economic realities, along with new technologies, created conditions for the emergence of the New Documentary Movement, the collective achievement of a group of artists with new ideas about what the form and function of nonfiction film should be. We will screen and discuss select contemporary Chinese documentary films, place these films in the context of global documentary film history, and learn methods for the analysis of nonfiction film. We will “read” each film closely, and also study secondary sources to learn about the Chinese realities that each film documents. 3 hrs. lect./screening AAL ART NOA

Fall 2015, Spring 2017

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CHNS0400 - Adv Chns Read/Wrtng/Convrstn      

Advanced Readings, Conversation, and Writing (Modern Chinese) (in Chinese)
This course is designed to improve students' competency in highly pragmatic Chinese, spoken and written. Readings and discussion will cover a wide variety of contemporary materials with an emphasis on linguistic preparation for study in China. (CHNS 0302 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect. LNG

Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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CHNS0500 - Independent Project      

Senior Essay
(Approval Required)

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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CHNS0700 - Senior Essay      

Senior Thesis
(Approval required)

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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CHNS0701 - Senior Thesis Research      

Senior Thesis Proposal
(Approval Required)

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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CHNS0702 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval required). WTR

Winter 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017

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CMLT0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Approval required.

Fall 2016

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FYSE1472 - Fate, Filial Piety, & Passion      

Fate, Filial Piety, and Passion in Chinese Civilization
In this seminar we will study the history of the ideas of ming (fate), xiao (filial piety), and qing (passion) in Chinese civilization. The meanings of these terms have evolved over two thousand years, but the notions of ming (one’s allotment in life), xiao (one’s duty to one’s parents), and qing (one’s sentiments or passions) have retained their central importance in China. We will discuss works of history, philosophy, literature, and film, as we consider ways in which people in the Chinese-speaking world have used these terms to express their ideas about the meaning of life and what it means to be human. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT

Spring 2016

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IGST0500 - EAS Independent Research      

East Asian Studies Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Spring 2013

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IGST0704 - EAS Senior Thesis      

East Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017

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Expertise and Research Interests

Modern Chinese fiction

Chinese nature and landscape literature

Chinese cinema

Department of Chinese

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Middlebury College
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