Symposium: Literature Humanities Reading Salon

Columbia Global Centers | Beijing

Symposium is a non-profit project initiated by a group of Columbia undergraduate students to introduce a part of Columbia's Core Curriculum courses — Literature Humanities — to Chinese high school and college students. It is supported by Columbia Global Centers | East Asia, along with literature professors at Columbia and in China. It is an experiment on adapting the methodology of Literature Humanities — the combination of interactive seminar discussions and the reading of original Western literature — for local Chinese students. Each summer, the program includes ten reading classes and group discussions during five weeks led by Columbia students on a selection of five western classics. It aims to enhance the participants' skills in critical thinking, oral expression, and basic text-based analysis.

In the summer of 2013, Symposium has held two programs in both Beijing and Shanghai, and it expands to Hong Kong in 2014. A public seminar on the topic of "Core Curriculum and Its Globalization" featuring Columbia Professor Richard Billows and scholars from universities in China will be held at the end of July 2014 at Columbia Global Centers | East Asia.

2014 Syllabus

  • The Bible, Book of Job, Ecclesiastes
  • Goethe, Faust
  • Plato, Symposium
  • Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals 
  • Excerpts from Mencius

2013 Syllabus

  • Homer, The Iliad
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Plato, Symposium
  • “Genesis,” Bible
  • “On Experience,” Montaigne, Essays 

To learn more about Symposium: