Asian Literature and Culture Courses

Asian Humanities

ASIAN LC 290-0

Asian Pop

This course will introduce students to the musical, cultural, and economic structures of various Asian popular music styles, with a primary focus on East Asian pop, especially Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Cantonese music. The music to be discussed centers on major commercial pop genres since the 1970s, but also extends to rock, rap, punk, jazz, film music, and folk music, as well as styles from earlier in the 20th century. Complementing issues of musical style, we will address music technology, the music industry, and fan culture, working toward an understanding of the complex international circulations that have produced the styles and consumer habits that comprise Asian popular music cultures. This is a course for non-music majors, so no musical background is required.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary Asian Performances

Since the mid-20th century, how is Asia changing in the contemporary moment, both as a concept and as a geographic region? We are witnessing increasing migrant movement, exchanged goods, and the circulation of different cultures in the transnational flow characterized by the term globalization. One of the visible affects this brings involves race and ethnicity. While Asia has never been a racially and ethnically homogenous region, contemporary globalization has brought and affected changes to ideas, policies, and cultures about race and ethnicity in various parts of Asia. These changes materialize through various means, but performance is the best form to most powerfully capture the fluid nature of changing ideas about racial and ethnic identities in a highly nuanced manner. Based on this premise, this course centers on the following questions: How can we understand this changing Asia through exploration of various forms of performances? How do performances serve to enact both consolidation of racial stereotypes and disruption of preexisting notions about race and ethnicity in Asia? How do performances allow different cultural exchanges and the circulation of cultures across and beyond Asia? How do contemporary Asian performances provide space to consider the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and nationhood? The first part of this course will survey major concepts, theories, and important historical moments such as Orientalism, Afro-Asian relations, Cold War, and globalization. In relation to the theories explored in the first part, the second part of this course will examine closely aesthetic and cultural performances of contemporary concert dance, K-pop idols, club and social dances such as Dancehall, Swing, and Tango, as well as protests and festivals.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Imagining Asia

Course Description:
Since Edward Said’s seminal work Orientalism, a large body of scholarship has persuasively demonstrated how the “Orient” emerged as an imagined construct of Euro-American texts. But how did the so-called natives of the “Orient” write about this entity? This course explores how 20th century writers across East and South Asia envisioned “Asia” in response to Western imperial discourse and also in relation to their own diverse aesthetic and political aims. We will read essays written by major poets, essayists, and political figures such as Rabindranath Tagore, Sun Yat Sen, Okakura Kakuzō, and Yi T’ae-jun. We will examine themes including multiple visions for constructing an international community, Western and Japanese imperialisms, and the aesthetics of Asian traditions.

Learning Objectives:
Students will gain a nuanced understanding of how thinkers in East and South Asia responded to experiences of colonialism and other forms of cultural encounter. Students will hone critical thinking skills by analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information from diverse historical and literary sources.

Teaching Method:
Discussion with limited lecture on context

Evaluation Method:
Participation, attendance, preparation for class.
Response papers.
Midterm and final analytical papers.

Class Materials (Required):
Required books available through the campus bookstore
PDFs of other readings accessible through Canvas course

ASIAN LC 397-0

Approaches to Asia

This course offers intensive training in research methods in Asian languages, where students will strengthen the skills necessary to develop and complete a ten-week paper, which can then serve as the basis for a longer a project. Each week, we will focus on a specific component of the research process: how to convert an area of interest into a specific topic, how to write an abstract, how to apply for funding, how to compile a bibliography, etc. These exercises will culminate in a fifteen-page research paper that draws on sources in the original language. Students will work closely with an advisor outside of the course to locate resources relevant to their paper topics and in their specified field and language of study. In addition to the research-specific assignments, we will examine throughout the quarter how we can critique or change existing methods for producing knowledge about Asia.

Learning Objectives:
This course will teach students to engage with sources in an Asian language and to learn techniques for researching and writing a substantial scholarly essay. Students will learn to define a research topic; refine that topic into a specific set of research questions; collect sources; complete an annotated bibliography; provide constructive feedback to peers; and present their research in oral and written forms.

Teaching Method:
Discussion of readings and writing workshops

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation
Weekly exercises
Rough draft
Oral presentation
Final paper

Class Materials (Required):
Course reader. Books ordered through the university bookstore.

China

ASIAN LC 290-0

Confronting the Canon—An Introduction to Modern Chinese Literature

When does modern literature become a category in China? What does that category include/exclude and what are its standards of inclusion/exclusion? How do individual works and authors enter “the canon”? Confronting the Canon examines literary prose (novels, short stories, essays) written in Mainland China between the late nineteenth century and the Communist Revolution in 1949. It provides an introduction to many of the best known works and authors of this period—Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Ba Jin, Ding Ling among others—but it does not treat their canonicity as an aesthetic or historical given. Carefully curated and hotly contested, literary canons are not simply the “sacred works” of the nation; they help create the nation and its people. We no longer ascribe such powers to novels and short stories, but in 20th China these were politically explosive forms. This course places canonical literary works in their historical context in order to better understand how and why we continue to read and re-read certain texts today, while also exploring some of the literary paths (including experimental modernism and science fiction) that were foreclosed or discounted for political reasons. All readings will be in English. No previous knowledge of China or Chinese is required.

Learning Objectives:

  • To gain familiarity with some of the major authors and texts of Chinese prose literature written between the late 19th century and the Communist revolution in 1949.
  • To place those texts in their historical and cultural contexts in order to better understand how and why national literary canons are formed.
  • To develop skills in formal description, textual analysis, and interpretation through close reading of primary texts, and to refine skills of analytical writing and scholarly argumentation using literary sources.

Teaching Method:

Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:

  1. Participation, attendance and preparation: 20%
  2. Discussion posts: 15%
  3. 1 short paper (2-3 pages): 15%
  4. 2 longer papers (5-6 pages): 40% (20% each)
  5. Final Exam: 10%

Class Materials (Required):

  • The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun (Penguin Classics) ISBN-10:0140455485
  • Students will also be required to buy a course reader.
ASIAN LC 290-0

Reinventing the Chinese Stage in the 20th Century

Course Description: Model operas, civilized plays, xiqu, avant-garde theater, musicals, spoken drama—the theatrical world of the 20th century in China saw many different incarnations and experimentations over the course of the century. From the star culture surrounding the female impersonators of the Republican era through xiqu reform and the model operas of the Cultural Revolution to the emergence of a director’s theater in the post-Maoist era, the picture of modern Chinese theater is a complex web of evolving forces between audiences, actors, directors, playwrights, and the state. Entangled in this image are different reflections of the role of theater in marking or creating social change, not just with class revolution but in considering and redefining gender categories. In this course, we will explore significant plays of different genres from throughout the 20th century that highlight the key creators and turning points of modern Chinese theater. Among the topics we will consider are the myriad ways theater interacts with political forces, including mass mobilization, censorship, regulations of gender, representations of history, and interactions on the world stage.

Learning Objectives:
Students will become familiar with developments in the modern history of Chinese theater, including both traditional opera (xiqu) and spoken drama, by examining theatrical literature, filmed productions and writings about theater history. The hybrid, synthesized nature of sung theatrical arts require a complex set of analytical skills; students will become capable of articulating critical observations not just about dramatic content, but also productions, including music, choreography, and costume and set design. Part of this entails developing a sensitivity to the theatrical context: the theater venues, stages, audiences and patrons of the theater, as well as the performance conventions for actors. In addition to honing their interpretive critical apparatus, students will also incorporate knowledge gained from writings about theater by contemporaries and by historical figures from China, in order to produce a more nuanced assessment of theatrical practice in China.

Teaching Method: discussion-based seminar

Evaluation Method: Research-based, analytical theater review article 30%
Screening Responses 25%
Performance Review 20%
Presentation 15%
Participation 10%

Class Materials (Required):
1. Joshua Goldstein, Drama Kings: Players and Publics in the Re-creation of Peking Opera 1870-1937. (available online through library)
2. Rudolf Wagner, The Contemporary Chinese Historical Drama: Four Case Studies. (available online through the library)
3. Jin Jiang, Women Playing Men. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009. (available online through the library)

ASIAN LC 290-0

Scriptive Things in Pre-modern China

A scriptive thing, according to Robin Bernstein, “broadly structures a performance while simultaneously allowing for resistance and unleashing original, live variations that may not be individually predictable.” Everyday objects in imperial China had the potential, in the hands of their literati interpreters, to invoke performances that transcended their ordinary uses, and create new principles of appreciation. Objects became scriptive things in the cultures of connoisseurship that characterized the late Ming, but even as early as the Tang, an object as ordinary as a pen was a provocation to literary parody. Drawing from selected readings in performance studies, thing theory, and material culture studies, this course will analyze the representations of things in literature of the pre-modern period, and their role as scriptive things in the lives of their handlers. In this discussion-based seminar, we will read primary texts in translation, including pseudo-biographies, short stories, and drama, as well as secondary literature in the study of the material culture of pre-modern China, covering props, rock collections, clothing, musical instruments, portraits and other ‘things’. Pending availability, this class may spend one session as a field trip, examining objects from the collection in the Art Institute.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain familiarity with a variety of genres of pre-modern literature in translation that feature key objects
  • Be able to analyze and discuss things (as represented in literature) from the perspectives of contemporary performance studies and thing theory
  • Develop a sense of the historical cultures of appreciation that were built up around material objects
  • Learn methods for appreciating the material culture of pre-modern China, including the opportunity to examine material objects firsthand.
  • Gain research skills in the production of a longer research paper

Teaching Method: Discussion/Lecture

Evaluation Method:

  • Weekly short reading responses posted to Canvas
  • One shorter mid-term paper integrating and applying methods from performance studies and thing theory to literary analysis
  • One longer research paper on a subject of the student’s choosing, related to the material culture of pre-modern China. (Part of this grade includes the successful submission of a preliminary bibliography, and an in-class presentation of the research question and initial findings)

Class Materials (Required):

  • The Peach Blossom Fan. K’ung Shang-jen (Author), Chen Shih-hsiang, Harold Acton, Cyril Birch (translators). New York Review Books, 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-59017-876-8 (paperback)

Selected readings, made available through Canvas and library reserves.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Romance, Reproduced, Reinvented: Story of the Western Wing in Late Imperial China

The story of the forbidden romance between a well-to-do young lady and the aspiring scholar who chances upon her in a country monastery has continuously captured the imaginations of readers since its earliest appearance in the 9th century. In the millennium that followed, the Western Wing story was reincarnated as musical performance, Yuan zaju drama, Ming chuanqi theater, and an oft-repeated motif of painting, illustration, and material culture. In this discussion-based seminar, we will look in depth at its most famous version, the Yuan zaju by Wang Shifu, as well as one of its precursors, the zhugongdiao (all-keys-and-modes) by Dong Jieyuan. We will also examine secondary literature on other reproductions of the Western Wing story, including its depictions in art, in order to consider issues such as representations of femininity, feminine desire, and the cult of qing; cultures of reading; intertextual practices; dramatic codes; and visual regimes in drama and in art. Throughout, we will be guided by questions of how the worlds of the Western Wing are constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed for the pleasures of the different ages.

Learning Objectives: Students will
• Gain familiarity with the core narrative of the Western Wing story, and be able to analyze the effects of reproduction in different literary forms (in English)
• Learn techniques and problems in the study of performance art traditions in imperial China, including Yuan theater (zaju) conventions
• Acquire the methodological skills to read and analyze both primary texts in different genres from late imperial China and secondary literature
• Develop research skills in the production of a longer research paper

Teaching Method: Seminar

Evaluation Method:
• Class participation 25%
• Weekly (2 pg max, double-spaced) reading responses 20%
• Class presentation (on final project) 20%
• Final paper (10-12 page research paper) 35%

Class Materials (Required):
• Wang Shifu, Story of the Western Wing (Idema/West translation), Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
• Dong Jieyuan, Master Tung’s Western Chamber Romance (Tung Hsi-hsiang chu-kung-tiao): A Chinese Chantefable (Li-li Chen translation), New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976.
• Other texts made available as pdfs through canvas

ASIAN LC 290-0

Modern Chinese Popular Cultures, Part II, 1949-present day

Modern Chinese Popular Cultures is a two-quarter series on the popular cultures of mainland China—and to a lesser extent, Hong Kong and Taiwan—from the late nineteenth century through the present day. Part I, which takes the completion of World War II as its end point, explores not only the cultural products that found favor with the public—the truly popular—but also a broader selection of works influenced by or produced using the “new media” most closely associated with the popular culture of this period: especially sound recording, film, photography and mass print media. Part II follows the development of those forms and media in a broader sinophone context. We will consider works influenced by and produced using these media in light of a series of related questions: What makes a medium new? What is the relationship between “new” and its implied other, “old”? Between “Western” technology and “Chinese” traditions? Between high and low culture? Between entertainment and ideology? This course is designed to not only introduce the history of cultural production in (and of) Modern China but also help students hone their close reading, listening and viewing skills and to improve their analytical and critical writing abilities.

Learning Objectives: This course is designed to introduce the history and cultural production of modern China and also to help students hone their close reading, listening, viewing and writing skills.

Teaching Method: Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method (provisional):
Participation: 25% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation of all assigned materials and active participation in classroom discussion)
Short Papers: 30% (Students will submit a total of two 3 page essays (at 10% each)
Midterm Exam: 10%
Final Essay: 35%

Class Materials (Required):
A bound course reader will be available for purchase. Supplementary readings, sound recordings and visual resources will be uploaded to the class Canvas website.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Modern Chinese Popular Cultures, 1840-1949

Modern Chinese Popular Cultures is a two-quarter series on the popular cultures of mainland China—and to a lesser extent, Hong Kong and Taiwan—from the late nineteenth century through the present day. Part I, which takes the completion of World War II as its end point, explores not only the cultural products that found favor with the public—the truly popular—but also a broader selection of works influenced by or produced using the “new media” most closely associated with the popular culture of this period: especially sound recording, film, photography and mass print media. We will consider works influenced by and produced using these media in light of a series of related questions: What makes a medium new? What is the relationship between “new” and its implied other, “old”? Between “Western” technology and “Chinese” traditions? Between high and low culture? Between entertainment and ideology? This course is designed to not only introduce the history of cultural production in (and of) Modern China but also help students hone their close reading, listening and viewing skills and to improve their analytical and critical writing abilities.

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce the history and cultural production of modern China and also to help students hone close reading, listening, viewing and writing skills.

Teaching Method:

Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method (provisional):

  • Participation: 20% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation of all assigned materials and active participation in classroom discussion)
  • Short Papers: 40% (Students will submit a total of four 2-3 page essays (at 10% each)
  • Medium Length Papers: 30% (Students will submit a total of two 3-4 page essays (at 15% each)
  • Final Exam: 10%

Class Materials (Required):

A bound course reader will be available for purchase. Supplementary readings, sound recordings and visual resources will be uploaded to the class Canvas website. Films will also be available on reserve at the Multimedia.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Influence of Russian Literature on Chinese Writers

This course focuses on the profound impact of 19th-Century Russian literature on early 20th-Century Chinese writers. It explores the ways Russian literature informed and inspired the social opinions, cultural arguments and artistic practices of major Chinese writers within the social-historical context of early 20th-Century China. Through a comparative study of texts in different genres - short story, novel, drama, etc. - we shall consider such questions as: How did Russian literature become the dominant source of influence and enlightenment for Chinese intelligentsia? What did the Chinese writers, driven by the need to practice a new literature that would serve as a "cure for society", strive to find in their dialogue with the Russian writers? How did Chinese writers incorporate the themes and styles of their Russian predecessors into a different cultural tradition? These questions will allow us to fully understand the history and mechanism of this dialogue across cultures and centuries, and see how literature plays its pivotal role in the life of two nations.

Learning Objectives:

Students will improve their understanding of cross-cultural communication and ability of comparative analysis through reading and discussion of literary texts within different cultural and social-historical contexts. They will also be introduced to the works of major figures in Chinese and Russian literature such as Lu Xun, Ba Jin, Gogol, Turgenev, etc.

Teaching Method:

Lecture and Discussion

Prerequisites:

Students are not expected to have any prior knowledge of Chinese or Russian language, though they will learn the basics of Chinese and Russian proper names to facilitate their reading. All lectures, discussions, readings and written assignments will be in English.

Evaluation Method:

  • Attendance and Participation: 20%
  • Short Close Reading Assignment (1 pg): 10%
  • Comparative Reading Assignment (4-6 pgs): 30%
  • Final Paper (9-10 pgs): 40%

Class Materials (Required):

The following materials will be available in campus bookstore:

  1. Mau-sang Ng. The Russian Hero in Modern Chinese Fiction. Albany: SUNY Press, 1989.
  2. Chin Pa, translated by Olga Lang. Family. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc., 1972.

Other readings will be available on reserve and/or on Canvas.

ASIAN LC 290-0

The Ming Novel

This course is devoted to the study of the novel in late imperial Chinese literature. This quarter we will read the English translation of Shuihu zhuan, aka The Water Margins, or The Outlaws of the Marsh. Due to its length, this novel will be the primary focus of the course, though we will include selections from other contemporary and related sources, when relevant to the overall understanding of the text under study. As we read through this text, in translation, uncovering its richness and complexity, we will in turn address issues such as the place of the novel in traditional Chinese literature; authorship and authority; narrative strategies and plot development; magic and religion; material culture; demons and exorcism; sexuality and adultery; femininity, masculinity and their discontents. In addition to Shuihu zhuan, representative theoretical work in the field of pre-modern Chinese literature will be incorporated as much as possible.

Learning Objectives:

Acquisition of knowledge about the genre of the novel in late imperial China. This will mean exposure to primary sources (in English, and for those students able to, in Chinese) produced by late imperial Chinese authors, as well as to secondary sources related late imperial fiction and narrative.
Development of methodological skills in studying, reading, and analyzing the primary and secondary sources related to the themes of the course.
Growth as independent researchers in the field of Chinese literature and Asian humanities.
Growth as independent academic thinkers and writers.

Teaching Method: Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:

Participation: 20% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation and reading of all assigned materials, and active participation in classroom discussion)
Assignments and responses: 25% (these include responses to readings and films, staged assignments in preparation of final projects, and so on)
Presentations: 20%
Final Project: 35% (the final project can be an analytical essay or a creative project)

Class Materials (Required):

Readings will be available on Canvas.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Vernacular Practice in Modern China

Course Description: Socialist zombies. Underground literature. Queer porn. Dancing grannies. The vernacular is so much more than ‘the common language.’ But what does it do to invoke the vernacular as a mode of practice? If the ‘vernacular’ invokes the everyday, the common and the low, it also is an avenue to the edges of standardization, places that are commonly suppressed, overlooked, or marginalized—places that offer the potential for resistance. But resistance to what exactly? And how does a resistant vernacular practice keep from becoming another voice in cosmopolitan mainstream? What exactly is meant when the vernacular is politicized, moralized, or intellectualized? This course will consider how and to what extent the vernacular offers new perspectives and possibilities to our understanding of everyday systems of power through its modes as language, aesthetic, and literary, cultural and political practice. In addition to the topics above, we will examine vernacular practices throughout the twentieth century to the present day, from the vernacular literature movement in the beginning of the Republican era, to cabaret culture, to street theater, to independent film, to craftivism, to internet literature today.

Learning Objectives:
Engage with the emerging field of studies of the vernacular by considering a variety of practices chosen for their identification with different definitions of the ‘vernacular’
Establish a network of ideas around the vernacular in relation to systems of power
Become familiar with a wide-ranging variety of activities, art forms, and literature throughout the modern to contemporary periods, and how they might be politicized
Develop the research skills necessary to the composition of a longer research paper

Teaching Method: discussion-based seminar

Evaluation Method: Final paper 40%
Midterm Paper 25%
Weekly Responses 10%
Presentation 10%
Participation 15%

Class Materials (Required):
Required Texts
1. Lijia Zhang, “Socialism is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China. New York: Atlas and Co., 2008.
2. Ou Ning, San Yuan Li (2008) – available to stream through amazon.com

Recommended Texts (not required):
1. Bei Tong, Scott Myers (trans.), Beijing Comrades. New York: The Feminist Press, 2016.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Dao of Sex: Sexuality of China

This survey course will focus on sexual culture in China, from pre-Qin times to the present. Using various sources such as ancient medical texts, Daoist manuals, court poetry and Confucian classics, paintings and illustrated books, movies and documentaries, as well as modern and pre-modern fiction written both in the classic and vernacular languages, we will explore notions of sex, sexuality, and desire, and try to reconstruct the genealogy of the discourses centered around sex that developed in China, at all levels of society, throughout 5,000 years.

Teaching Method

The course will combine lecture and discussion, with an increasing emphasis on discussion as we move toward the end of the quarter.

Evaluation Method

The final grade will be based on the following criteria: attendance and participation (involving consistent and enthusiastic presence preparation of readings, and contributions towards classroom discussion), 40%; essays, 35 %; assignments, 25%.

Class Materials (Required)

All required books will be available for purchase through the university bookstore. Please use only these editions, as all page numbers in your syllabus refer to them. Douglas Wiles, Art of the Bedchamber The Chinese Secual Yoga Class (ISBN:0791408868, 1993) Li Yu, Patrick Hanan, The Carnal Prayer Mat (ISBN: 0824817982) Homoeroticism in Imperial China: A Sourcebook (0415551447) People's Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet (1841504939)

Class Materials (Suggested)

Additional Materials: All other readings and movies assigned for the course will be available on e-reserve.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Fashion Matters: East Asia

This course will focus on both the historical and cultural development of fashion, clothing and consumption in East Asia, with a special focus on China and Japan. Using a variety of sources, from fiction to art, from legal codes to advertisements, we will study both actual garments created and worn in society throughout history, as well as the ways in which they inform the social characterization of class, ethnicity, nationality, and gender attributed to fashion. Among the topics we will analyze in this sense will be hairstyle, foot-binding and, in a deeper sense, bodily practices that inform most fashion-related discourses in East Asia. We will also think through the issue of fashion consumption as an often-contested site of modernity, especially in relationship to the issue of globalization and world-market. Thus we will also include a discussion of international fashion designers, along with analysis of phenomena such as sweatshops.

Teaching Method

The course will combine lecture and discussion, with an increasing emphasis on discussion as we move toward the end of the quarter.

Evaluation Method

The final grade will be based on the following criteria: attendance and participation (involving consistent and enthusiastic presence, preparation of readings, and contributions towards classroom discussion), 40%; assignments (including participation in discussion teams, keeping a clothing journal and screening responses) and final project, 60%.

Class Materials (Suggested)

All required books will be available for purchase through the university bookstore. Please use only these editions, as all page numbers in your syllabus refer to them. The Fashion Reader, Second edition (ISBN: 9781847885890, 2011) Buying Beauty: Cosmetic Surgery in China by Wen Wen (Mar 26, 2013 ISBN: 9888139827) The Chinese Fashion Industry: An Ethnographic Approach (Dress, Body, Culture) [Paperback] (ISBN: 1847889352) Laura Miller, Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetic (Jul 15, 2006, ISBN: 0520245091) Additional Materials: All other readings and movies assigned for the course will be available on e-reserve.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Landscapes of Desolation in the Age of the Chinese Economic Miracle

In the eyes of many, China's post-Mao economic ‘miracle’ has transformed the nation from communist hinterland into a menacing capitalist juggernaut that aspires to global political and economic hegemony. Increasingly, however, the power of this narrative lies as much in visions of scorched earth and fetid waterways as it does in nightmares of a new world order. This course explores how artists, filmmakers and writers, from China and elsewhere, have responded to actual and imagined environmental degradation in China and how they have come to produce a new mode of  ‘Chinese landscape,’ the landscape of desolation. 

Learning Objectives:

  • To introduce students to humanistic approaches to understanding and representing environmental problems.
  • To develop advanced skills in formal description, textual and visual analysis, and interpretation through close reading of primary sources, and to refine skills of analytical writing and scholarly argumentation.

Teaching Method:

Discussion-based seminar with some lecturing.

Evaluation Method:

  1. Participation, attendance and preparation: 20%
  2. Short Essays: 20% (2 2-3 page essays at 10% each)
  3. Online discussion posts: 20%
  4. Presentations: 10%
  5. Final Project: 30%

Class Materials (Required):

  • Wu Ming-yi, The Man with the Compound Eyes (Vintage, 2015) ISBN-10 0345802888
  • Students will also be required to buy a course reader.
  • Assigned films will be available online streaming through Canvas and will be on reserve in the Multimedia Center, when available.

ASIAN LC 390-0

East Asian Masculinities

The relatively recent growth of research on men and masculinities is impressive. The majority of the academic works published in the English-speaking world, however, comes from within the Western world and from Western perspectives. At the same time, East Asian men are becoming increasingly visible in mediated forms around the world, in films, print, and online media. This course tries to bridge the lack of academic explorations of East Asian masculinities with the wealth of material available. Together we will explore the construction of masculinities in East Asian cultures, past and present. We will study men and masculinities in pre-modern and contemporary China, Japan, and Korea, respectively, and also in the dynamic interactions between East Asian cultures. We will read and discuss sources that depict fragile scholars, Shaolin monks, ninjas, boys love, and K-pop stars. Our aim will be to enhance our understandings of East Asian identities and cultures as well as Western conceptions of gender and sexuality. 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Acquisition of knowledge about the study of masculinity in the field of gender studies in general and that of East Asian studies in particular. This will mean exposure to primary sources (in English, and for those students able to, in the original) produced by East Asian authors, as well as to related secondary.
Development of methodological skills in studying, reading, and analyzing the primary and secondary sources related to masculinities.
Acquisition of an appreciation of the variance of masculinity/male gender expressions in East Asia, at the national, regional, and global levels.
Understanding the effects of cultural, political, social, and economic forces on local, national, and transnational systems of male sex and masculine gender.
Growth as independent researchers and writers in the field of Chinese studies, gender studies, sexuality, and Asian humanities.
Growth as independent academic thinkers and writers.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:

Participation: 20% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation and reading of all assigned materials, and active participation in classroom discussion)
Assignments and responses: 25% (these include responses to readings and films, staged assignments in preparation of final projects, and so on)
Presentations: 20%
Final Project: 35% (the final project can be an analytical essay or a creative project)

Reading List:

R. W. Connell, Masculinities, University of California Press, August 2005, ISBN: 9780520246980. PLEASE USE ONLY THIS EDITION
Additional readings and visual material, including movies, will be available on Canvas.

ASIAN LC 492-0

Sexuality in Ming and Qing China

Sexing China. Gender and Sexuality in Chinese Literature. The focus of this seminar will be gender and sexuality in late imperial Chinese literature. We will deal with a wide range of material, from poetry to drama, from novels and short stories to nüshu (the script invented by peasant women in a remote area of Hunan province), from literary autobiographies to visual culture. We will address the issue of masculinity and femininity as men and women portrayed themselves in terms of gender, social class, power, family, and material culture. Focusing on issues such as authorship, foot-binding, motherhood and fatherhood, rape, love, we will try to detect the presence and absence of female and male voices in the literature of this period, and to understand how those literary works relate to male-authored literary works. In addition to primary sources, we will integrate theoretical work in the field of pre-modern Chinese literature and culture.

Registration Requirements

NO prerequisite and reading knowledge of Chinese is necessary for this seminar; in fact, students from other disciplines and fields are encouraged to enroll. Previous exposure to gender studies and/or pre-modern Chinese/Asian studies (from history to literature) may be helpful.

Learning Objectives

  • Acquisition of knowledge about central primary sources related to gender and sexuality in late imperial China through exposure to primary sources (in English, and for those students able to, in Chinese) produced by late imperial Chinese male and female authors in a variety of genres, from poetry to fiction to private essays and visual culture.
  • Acquisition of knowledge about some of the most influential English-language scholarship published in the China field over the past thirty years. We will focus in particular on topics that have transformed the field over the past fifteen years.
  • Development of methodological skills in studying, reading, and analyzing the primary and secondary sources related to the themes of the seminar.
  • Growth as independent researchers in both the field of Asian humanities as well as in the field of gender, sexuality, and women's studies in late Imperial China.
  • Growth as independent academic thinkers and writers. These goals will be achieved through the writing of a term paper on the most important secondary sources relating to that topic

Teaching Method

Discussion

Evaluation Method

  • Attendance at and participation in each seminar discussion (25% of grade).
  • As part of the participation grade, each student will give a very brief presentation (no longer than five minutes) at the beginning of at least one of our seminar meetings. This presentation will not be a summary of the material. It will be designed to promote discussion. Presentations might include some questions that the reading material raises and/or some commentary on the identity of the author of the day's reading material.
  • One short (800 word) book review written in accordance with the "Book Review Guidelines" of the Journal of Asian Studies. (25% of grade). This review will be due the day we discuss the book.
  • One research essay (approx. 15pp.) on a topic of the student's choice. (50% of grade)

Class Materials (Required)

Francesca Bray, Technology, Gender and History in Imperial China. Great Transformations Reconsidered, Routledge 2013, ISBN 9780415639590 Ron Egan, The Burden of Female Talent. The Poet Li Qingzhao and Her History in China, Harvard University Press, 2013, ISBN 9780674726697 Escape from Blood Pond Hell, translated by Wilt Idema and Beata Grant, NU electronic resource Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads, translated by Wilt Idema, NU electronic resource Of Woman by Woman: Two Erotic Novellas from Ming China, Translated with an Introduction by R.W.L. Guisso and Lenny Hu, 2011, ISBN 978-1433110733 Li Yu, The Carnal Prayer Mat, Translated by Patrick Hanan, NU electronic resource Liu Xiang, Exemplary Women of Early China, Translated by Anne Behnke Kinney, Columbia University Press, 2014 ISBN 9780231163095 Pan Chao, Foremost Woman Scholar of China, Translated by Nancy Lee Swann, NU electronic resource

First-Year Seminars

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Dreamlands: The Universe of Dreams in Chinese Culture

The course will explore the world of dreams in pre-modern, modern, and, if time allows it, contemporary Chinese literature and culture. Beginning with Daoist and Buddhist sources, and proceeding in a chronological fashion, we will navigate the dreamscapes mapped by traditional oneiromancy, philosophy, poetry, drama, fiction, all the way to contemporary theatrical and cinematic discourse.
What do dreams mean? How does their language intersect with the language of faith, desire, gender, politics, power and fear? How similar and how different are our dreaming brains today from those of Chinese philosophers that lived three thousand years ago? Do cultural differences make us dream different dreams? These are just some of the questions that we will try to answer together during the course of the quarter.
In order to do so, we will look at the semantic, religious and aesthetic function of dreams in the changing world of Chinese culture, connecting our findings to recent discoveries in the fields of contemporary psychology, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. Where possible, we will also engage in comparison with dream-related practices and traditions in other Asian contexts, such as those of India and Tibet.

Learning Objectives:
-Acquisition of knowledge about the study of dreams and dream culture in the field of Chinese studies in particular and that of Asian studies and dream science in general. This will mean exposure to primary sources (in English, and for those students able to, in the original) produced by Chinese and other Asian authors, as well as to related secondary sources.
-Development of university level methodological skills in studying, reading, and analyzing the primary and secondary sources related to the course subject matter.
-Acquisition of an appreciation of the variance of expressions of dream culture and literature past and present, in China and beyond, at the national, regional, and global levels.
-Understanding the effects of cultural, political, social, and economic forces on dream culture, its representation and evolution in any given culture, past and present.

-Growth as independent researchers and writers in the field of Chinese studies, Asian humanities, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship.
-Growth as independent academic thinkers and writers.

Teaching Method: Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Participation: 20% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation and reading of all assigned materials, and active participation in classroom discussion)
Assignments and responses: 25% (these include responses to readings and films, staged assignments in preparation of final projects, and so on)
Presentations: 20%
Final Project: 35% (the final project can be an analytical essay or a creative project)

Class Materials (Required):

REQUIRED BOOKS:
Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, revised, SNOW LION 978-1559391610
Hobson Dreaming. A Very Short Introduction OXFORD 978-0192802156
Lockley and Foster, Sleep. A Very Short introduction OXFORD 978-0199587858
Strassberg Wandering Spirits : Chen Shiyuan's Encyclopedia of Dreams UCAL 978-0520252943
Tang Xianzu The Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting, Second Edition 978-0253215277
Tung Tower of Myriad Mirrors : A Supplement to Journey to the West PERSEUS 978-0892641420

Additional readings and movies will be available through Canvas

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Kings, Courtesans and Khan Artists: Picturizing Islam and Muslims in Bombay Cinema (a.k.a. Bollywood)

India is home to the second largest population of Muslims on earth. It’s also host to the world’s largest film industry, best known as Bollywood. Little wonder, then, that Bollywood films regularly feature Muslim characters, social spaces, and cultural references that are readily marked or coded as “Islamic.” But in spite of a large coterie of Muslims working within the industry – as actors, song writers, or producers – the representation of Muslims in Indian films has consistently raised complex issues around ideas of identity and belonging in a nation where they constitute a clear minority. This class will introduce students to the various strands of Muslim representation in Indian cinema, including Muslims as kings, as courtesans, as criminals, and as terrorists, among other typologies. We will read these films against the historical backdrop of the search for national identity in post-colonial India, as well as in the context of the so-called “war on terror.”  Students will be given the opportunity not only to learn about Indian (particularly Bombay) cinema, but also to explore how cinematic representations intersect with issues of identity and belonging in the modern nation-state.  

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Globalization and Korean Pop Culture

This course explores contemporary South Korean popular culture as a case study for how globalization takes place in the cultural realm. Instead of assuming globalization as a foregone conclusion or as a uniform process, we will examine the debates between the various proponents and critics of cultural globalization, as well as consider the transnational circulation and consumption of Korean pop culture within their particular geopolitical and historical contexts.

Learning Objectives:
Students will improve critical reading skills and analytical writing skills.
Students will hone oral presentation and discussion skills through guided practice.

Teaching Method: Discussion with some lecture

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and in-class participation
Short writing assignments
Final paper assignment

Class Materials (Required):
Required books will be available through the campus bookstore. All other materials will be available via Canvas.

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: To and From--Writing about Travel in Asian Global Encounters

This course looks at Asia as destination, point of departure and zone of contact in accounts of travel from a variety of national traditions over a broad historical range. Early texts might include the many westward journeys of Chinese mythology, religious lore and fiction, the Japanese Monk Ennin’s pilgrimage to Tang China and Marco Polo’s famous eastern travels. Complementary modern sources might include John Hersey’s A Single Pebble, which describes an American engineer’s journey up the Yangzi in 1920s China and Julia Kristeva’s philosophical reportage in About Chinese Women. Throughout the course we will explore how travel writing functions as a site of cultural and linguistic negotiation (often violent) through which ideas about the self and the other are established, consolidated and undermined.

Teaching Method: Discussion seminar

Class Materials (Required): TBD

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Among the Crowd: Masses, Mobs and Multitudes

"The age we are about to enter will in truth be an era of crowds." As Gustav LeBon presciently stated in 1895, crowds have come to shape the experience of modern life. In modernity, masses and multitudes have evoked new anxieties in individuals and governments, while providing the foundation for theories and practices of collective politics. This course considers the aesthetic, social, and political implications of crowds, masses, and multitudes as represented in literature, political theory, film, and other media from the 19th century to the present moment. We explore the representation of crowds within specific cultural contexts, while attending to the motifs that recur throughout history and across national borders. This course asks: how is the crowd a source of modern fears? How have psychologists, political theorists, and authors attempted to understand, create, and harness mass psychology? What are the stakes in unifying disparate individuals? How do collectives limit and enable personal autonomy? What political forms, like fascism and democracy, do the masses sustain or threaten? How do mediating technologies - from poetry to digital media - not only reflect but actively produce multitudes and masses?

Teaching Method: Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method:

  • Attendance and Participation: 20% (an engaged presence, preparation of materials, presentations and contributions to discussions)
  • Short Writing Assignments: 30%
  • Midterm Essay, 4-5 pages: 20%
  • Final Essay/Project, 6-9 pages: 30%

Class Materials (Required):

A course reader will be available for purchase. Books will be available through the campus bookstore. Films will be available to stream through CANVAS and will be on reserve in the Multimedia Center.

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Growing Up in Japan

Stories of growing up are common to all literary traditions in all time periods, and the process of maturation is both universal and culturally specific. Growth and change may be physical and chronological, or it may be emotional and psychological. This course will trace a number of Japanese narratives from a variety of historical periods, from the 8th century to the present, presenting each figure¹s exploration in his or her cultural context. The stories will be represented in a number of literary forms, including novels and stories, a diary and several traditional plays, and they come from times of peace and times of war. From the epic hero Yamato Takeru, to the romantic aristocrat Lady Sarashina, to the modern man Mitsu seeking the truth in his hidden family history, these stories explore the process and consequences of discovering a sense of self.

Teaching Method

Discussion with some lecture on cultural context.

Evaluation Method

No examinations will be given but students will generate one-page weekly "talking point" sets based on the readings for that week, which they will present in class to guide discussion. Evaluation will be based on performance in class discussion (including "talking point" sets), 3 short papers and a longer final paper.

Class Materials (Required)

Lady Sarashina. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams. Futabatei Shimei. Ukigumo (Floating Clouds). Natsume Soseki. Sanshiro. Oe Kenzaburo. The Silent Cry. Photoduplicated course reader including selections from Kojiki, The Tale of Genji, The Life of an Amorous Man, etc..

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Resistance Writing

This course asks students to consider the connections between creative literature and struggles for social justice in the context of several different social and political struggles of our modern age. We will read and discuss literature written in, and in response to, the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement, the struggle for indigenous rights in Latin America, and the creative cultures of Dalit ("untouchable caste") and tribal literature in India. Questions we will be asking include: What is the connection between literature and social resistance? What is it that makes creative forms of expression as or more powerful than straightforward political rhetoric? Who has the authority to write resistance literature? Can you belong to the oppressor community and wage a social critique without co-opting the voices of the oppressed? What are the similarities and differences of resistance writing across national borders, racial lines, and linguistic communities? What does it mean to translate lived experience of suffering and revolt into the medium of the written word? Who is the primary audience for this kind of writing? Are alternative theoretical frameworks required to assess resistance literature's literary merit? In search of answers to these questions we will focus primarily on the forms of the novel, short story, and poem in this course, but will make a few forays as well into theatre, documentary film, and journalism.

Teaching Method

Discussion with some lecture on cultural context.

Evaluation Method

Students will write 3 formal papers. Students will be required to produce regular "reading responses" to be shared with their classmates in the interest of generating group discussion. Students will also orally present their final paper/research project to their classmates.

Class Materials (Required)

Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Norton critical edition) Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself Charles Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr. (ed.), The Slave's Narrative (Oxford University Press) Barbara Harlow, Resistance Literature (Routledge) Dwight McBride, Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolition, and Slave Testimony (NYU Press) James Baldwin, "Everybody's Protest Novel" Alex La Guma, A Walk in the Night and Other Stories (Northwestern University Press) Rian Malan, My Traitor's Heart (Grove Press) Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull (Broadway Books) Rigoberta Menchu, I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (Verso) Mary K DeShazer, A Poetics of Resistance: Women Writing in El Salvador, South Africa, and the United States (University of Michigan Press) John Beverley, Testimonio: On the Politics of Truth (U of Minnesota Press) Bama, Harum Scarum Saar and Other Stories (Women Unlimited) Namdeo Dhasal, Poet of the Underworld, Poems 1972-2006 (Navayana) Multiple Authors, The Exercise of Freedom: An Introduction to Dalit Writing (Navayana) Gayatri Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" (in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, University of Illinois Press)

ASIAN LC 110-6

First-Year Seminar: Asian Mothers: Myths, Memoirs

In contemporary American culture, the "Asian mother" is the subject of a series of modern-day myths: on the one hand, the Asian mother is a disciplinarian tigress obsessed with the education of her children, and on the other, Asian women are imagined to be submissive or compliant bearers of "traditional values" that make them "good motherhood material." This course treats these recent myths of the Asian mother as a very narrow slice of a much broader story. We will begin by examining the ancient Greek myth of "Asia" herself (mother of the titans Atlas and Prometheus), and continues by reading maternal creation myths and folktales whose variety disrupts the idea that there could ever be such as a thing as a singular "Asia" or "Asian" mother. In addition to considering pre-modern myths and folktales, we will consider their modern counterparts in memoirs, short stories, and films, where narratives about mothers often serve as expressions of the traumas and failures of national development or Westernization.

Learning Objectives

Students will develop their critical reading skills by working through texts in multiple genres from different linguistic traditions. Students will practice their analytical writing skills by drafting and revising several short papers and one longer, final paper. Students will improve their oral presentation and discussion skills through frequent class participation and guided discussion exercises.

Teaching Method

Discussion

Evaluation Method

Class Participation - including reading and viewing all required class materials and active participation in class discussion - 40% Writing - including three 2-3 page papers with revisions, and a longer, 5-6 page final paper - 60%

Class Materials (Required)

(subject to change) 1. Course Reader (available at Quartet Digital Printing) - including texts by Herodotus, Xu Zhonglin, Ueda Akinari, Eileen Chang, Kyoko Mori, Shin Kyung-sook, and others. 2. Films (available on Course Reserve) Mother India (dir. Mehboob KHAN, 1957) Ballad of Narayama (dir. KINOSHITA Keisuke, 1958) The Joy Luck Club (dir. Wayne WANG, 1993) Mother (dir. BONG Joon-ho, 2009)

Japan

ASIAN LC 271-1

Japanese Literature in Translation: Classical Japanese Literature in Translation

Between 300 and 1000 A.D. Japan developed from a pre-literate tribal society into one of the world's high aristocratic cultures. This course explores some of the monuments of the classical literary tradition, in which women as well as men emerged as literary masters. The course's major focus is on the rich record of writing of the 10th through early 14th centuries. Of special note are the 11th c. Tale of Genji (which has been called the world's first novel) and The Tale of the Heike, a tragic war chronicle recording an actual conflict between two great clans in the 12th century as over four hundred years of peace broke down irrevocably. The unifying topic of the course is human desire.

Teaching Method

Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method

3 short papers (3-4 pp.), 1 long paper (8-10 pp.), talking point sets on readings, discussion participation

Class Materials (Required)

Reading List: Tale of Genji (abridged); Kagero Diary; Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon; Ten Foot Square Hut & Tales of the Heike; Essays in Idleness; course packet

ASIAN LC 271-2

Medieval & Early Modern Japanese Literature

The first stage of modernity came to Japan in the 1600s, with the rise of an urban middle class. Much of the cultural production of the 17th to mid-19th century reflects the interests of this new social class. A wide variety of literary genres show the vibrant intellectual, emotional, economic and social life of people testing and expanding the boundaries of the Shogun’s political order. The three distinctive traditional forms of Japanese theater developed in the preceding medieval and new early modern periods: the mystical masked Noh theater; Bunraku, the masterly puppet theater; and the larger-than-life Kabuki. The prose fiction of the 17th century writer Saikaku included both stories of love and the world’s first business stories. New forms of fiction came with 18th century ghost stories and satire of Ueda Akinari; and Jippensha Ikku’s lively and humorous 19th century accounts of travel along the great Tokaido highway celebrated rising social energy. Haiku poetry developed under the perceptive guidance of Basho and his successors. Through these writings, the course traces changes in the consciousness of townsmen during this exciting time period.

Class Materials (Required):
Ihara, Saikaku, Life of an Amorous Woman;
Photocopy packet (Quartet Copies)

ASIAN LC 271-3

Japanese Literature in Translation: Modern Japanese Literature in Translation

The tumultuous cultural and political history of modern Japan (post-1868) has entailed enormous social, political, economic and aesthetic change. The paradigm shift has been described variously: feudal to modern; East-centered to West-influenced; class-determined to individualistic. This course explores some of the masterly short stories and novels manifesting the cultural, psychological and spiritual responses to the challenges of Japan's struggle to emerge from insularity into a cosmopolitan world culture. The writings reflect society from the end of the 19th century to the present.

Teaching Method

Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method

Method: 3 short papers (3-4 pp.), 1 long paper (8-10 pp.), talking point sets on readings, discussion participation

Class Materials (Required)

Reading List: Natsume, Kokoro; Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles; Dazai, The Setting Sun; Oe, A Personal Matter; course packet

ASIAN LC 271-4

Modern Japanese Women Writers in Translation

Few women writers are included in standard lists of the major canonical writers of the modern Japanese literary tradition.  But especially since the 1960s, women make up a significant proportion of the most interesting contemporary writers.  This course, in a sense a parallel to AMES/CLS 271-3 (Modern Japanese Literature), introduces a number of these newer creative voices, many of whom have won the major literary prizes in the past several decades.  These more recent writers, and other writers from the late 19th and through the 20th centuries, show women meeting--sometimes triumphantly, often with great difficulty--the challenges of a changing social order with its changes in personal relationships between men and women.

Teaching Method

Lecture and class discussion format will be used.

Evaluation Method

Participation in class discussion; two short papers (4 pp.); one long final paper (10-12 pp.)

Class Materials (Required)

Birnbaum, Rabbits, Crabs, Etc.
Lippit and Selden, Contemporary Japanese Women

Writers

Enchi, Masks
Tsushima, Child of Fortune
Yoshimoto, Kitchen
Course packet (Quartet Copies)

ASIAN LC 290-0

New Waves in Japanese Cinema

The term “new wave” is a ubiquitous but notoriously imprecise term that has been applied to various trends in cinema that emerged around the globe from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s.  It often refers to movements that abandoned conventional narrative techniques in favor of experimentation with the cinematic medium, as they confronted the social and political conflicts that erupted throughout this period.  But the focus on the experimental form and social consciousness of this cinema has not always captured the specific economic, social, and industrial conditions—within and across national contexts—that shaped these so-called “new waves.” 

This course examines the cinema in Japan that developed within the global context of new wave cinemas at this time.  It begins with a consideration of the very term “new wave” and how it came to refer to cinema in Japan in this era.  We then explore the many trends in the Japanese studio system, documentary practices, experimental filmmaking, and erotic “pink” cinema that have come to fall under the umbrella category of Japanese new wave cinema.  We will link these trends in cinema to the specific political and social conflicts of this era, for the films that we study were explicit interventions into the issues of their time. The films we will watch were intended to disturb audiences through their startling use of violence, sex, and politics.  Students should be warned that these film can still be unsettling and, for some, extremely disturbing.  In addition to the films themselves, we will study the critical writings on cinema to understand the intellectual milieu, as well as the material conditions, that produced this cinema.  The goal of this course is to understand how new waves in Japanese cinema related to the various transformations in cinema and society in both Japan and the world during this moment of global simultaneity.   

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

- develop an understanding of how Japanese filmmakers sought to create something “new” in cinema in the long 1960s

- learn approaches for theorizing social movements described as “new waves”

- learn to connect cinema to its socio-historical context

- learn to critically analyze the techniques used in experiments with cinematic form

- learn to make informed arguments about cinema as a symptom and agent of social change  

Teaching Method:

Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method:

Attendance and Participation (20%)

Quizzes (10%)

2 Essays (15% and 35%)

Final Examination (20%)

Class Materials (Required):

Course Reader
ASIAN LC 290-0

Love and Gender in Classical Japanese Literature

What do we talk about when we talk about love? What kinds of desires—emotional, sexual, social, political—are set into play by narratives of love and courtship, and how are these marked and shaped by gender? And what roles can literature play in mediating and articulating those desires?
With these questions in mind, this course offers a topical survey of the major works, genres, and authors of premodern Japanese literature, from the earliest times through the medieval period: classical poetry, poetic diaries and poem tales, narrative tales of the Heian court (including the classic Tale of Genji), Buddhist folklore, the nō theater, and more. Topics addressed include: court politics and the politics of courtship; tensions between public obligation and private feeling; gendered gazes and the optics of desire; the social functions of poetic exchange in courtship practices; the role of nature imagery in lyrical expression; the gendering of genre and language, and the performative use of both to invert those constructions; Buddhist conceptions of desire, gender, and love as both damnation and salvation; social status, class, mobility, and the erotics of inter-class romance. All readings are in English; no knowledge of Japanese is required or expected.

Learning Objectives:
• To introduce the major works and authors of the Japanese literary canon from the earliest writings through the medieval period, including poetic, narrative, and dramatic genres.
• To develop skills of textual analysis, interpretation, and comparison through close reading of primary texts, and to refine skills of analytical writing and scholarly argumentation using literary sources.
• To learn how to approach cultural categories such as gender and love in historical and comparative perspectives, and to both construct and question narratives of cultural history in relation to such themes.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation 25%
Weekly response essays 25%
Midterm papers 25%
Final exam 25%

Class Materials (Required):
Haruo Shirane, ed., Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600 (Columbia University Press, 2007). Below: TJL.
Ivan Morris, trans., The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).
Sonja Arntzen, trans., The Kagerō Diary: A Woman’s Autobiographical Text from Tenth-Century Japan (Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 1997).

ASIAN LC 290-0

The City in Early Modern Japan

Course Description:
When Japan first “opened” to the West in the mid-19th century, it was already one of the most highly urbanized societies in the world, and was home to one of the world’s greatest metropolises: Edo, which would become modern-day Tokyo. In this course, we examine this indigenous urban tradition by exploring the literature, thought, and visual culture of early modern or Edo-period (1600-1868) Japan. Students will be introduced to the major paradigms of the city emerging in the 17th century—the traditional court capital (Kyoto), the center of commerce (Osaka), the administrative capital (Edo), and regional castle-towns—and their social, governmental, economic, and spatial structures. We also will survey the major historical stages of urban cultural production and their social triggers, from the blossoming of urban commoner culture in Kyoto and Osaka in the late 17th century to the “eastward shift” of cultural production to Edo in the mid-18th century, the flowering of amateur literati salons in the pleasure quarters of 18th-century Edo, and the broadening of urban audiences in the early 19th century. Reading representations of urban space in a variety of literary, philosophical, dramatic, and visual genres, we ask not only how the social and spatial structures of the city are reflected in them as documents, but also what they say about how the people of early modern Japan thought about and experienced city-ness; we seek to understand cultural texts not merely as documentary artifacts but as symbolic efforts at understanding and navigating spaces that were inhabited, walked, felt, and lived. All readings are in English; no knowledge of Japanese is required or expected.

Learning Objectives:
To develop a holistic, interdisciplinary understanding of processes of urbanization in the social and cultural history of early modern Japan; to learn to analyze urban phenomena in comparative and historicist terms.
To develop analytical and interpretive skills in reading early modern written and visual media, in order to meaningfully construe the social functions and symbolic significance of individual works—what cultural meanings they communicate, why, how, and to whom.
To develop the creative and critical capacity for historical comparison by using historical textual study alongside analysis of contemporary lived (or mediated) experience of urban space in ways that shed critical light on one another.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation25%
Weekly response essays25%
Creative writing assignments25%
Final paper25%

Class Materials (Required):
Haruo Shirane, ed., Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900 (Columbia University Press, 2002).
DO NOT PURCHASE ABRIDGED EDITION.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Cinema Japan

This course surveys Japanese cinema from its earliest days to the contemporary moment. We will consider how film and other moving image technologies have reflected historical periods and shaped cultural discourses in modern Japan. Focusing on films that raise disciplinary questions related to the cinematic medium and Japan, we will examine, among other topics, the relationship between nationhood and the formation of a “national” cinema; genre theory and melodrama; J-horror and digital media. We will also study the place of important individual directors – Ozu, Mizoguchi, and Kurosawa – within the broader economic and institutional contexts of Japanese cinema and its global circulation.

Learning Objectives:
Students will learn how to critically analyze various films from multiple theoretical perspectives while gaining an understanding of the major figures and movements in the history of Japanese cinema.

Teaching Method: Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and Participation: 20%
Screening Notebook: 20%
Film Review (3-4pgs): 10%
Critical Essay (4-5pgs): 20%
Final Paper (6-7pgs): 30%

Class Materials (Required):
Alastair Phillips and Julian Stringer. Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts. New York: Routledge, 2007.
Timothy Corrigan. A Short Guide to Writing About Film, 8th Edition. Pearson, 2012.
Course Reader (Available at Quartet Digital Printing, 825 Clark St.)
Films (Streamed through Canvas)

ASIAN LC 390-0

Writing the Self in Modern Japanese Literature

Confession, semi-autobiography, and other forms of first-person narration seem to dominate Japanese literature in the 20th Century.  Often about acts of infidelity, sexual desire, and deviant behavior that challenge social norms, these works of literature display a heightened awareness of the difficulties of defining the self at various transformational moments in modern Japanese history.  This course considers how modern Japanese authors used narratives of the self in their literature to examine and question dominant institutions and discourses—of the nation, family, and gender—that defined the individual and society at different moments in 20th Century Japan.  As we study the various modes and genres of writing about the self in modern Japanese literature, we also consider how writers used narrative form to critique the very notion of a self.  We examine how Japanese authors experimented with local and Western literary forms about personal development, juxtaposed descriptions of psychological interiority and physical sensation, and mobilized the language of emotions in pursuing and often undermining the assumptions that ground conceptions of the self as a private individual and social actor.   

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

  1. become familiar with major authors and literary forms within the canon of modern Japanese literature
  2. learn to critically analyze and write about literary form, and how it reflects and intervenes if specific historical issues.
  3. understand how author’s responded to Japan’s modernization through literature

Teaching Method:

Lecture, Discussion, In-Class Presentations

Evaluation Method:

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Weekly Discussion Questions: 10%

Presentations: 20%

Midterm Essay, 5-6 pages: 20%

Final Essay/Project, 9-10 pages: 30%

Class Materials (Required):

Reader

Natsume Soseki, Kokoro, trans. Meredith McKinney (Penguin Classics, 2010)

978-0143106036

Hamao Shiro, The Devil’s Disciple trans. Keith Vincent (Hesperus Worldwide, 2011)

 978-1843918578

Mishima Yukio, Confessions of a Mask, Trans. Meredith Weatherby (New Directions, 1958)

978-0811201186

Enchi Fumiko, Masks (Vintage, 1983)

978-0394722184

Oe Kenzaburo, A Personal Matter. Trans. John Nathan (Grove Press, 1994)

978-0802150615

Abe Kobo, The Box Man (Vintage, 2001)

978-0375726514

Yoshimoto Banana, Kitchen (Grove Press, 2006)

978-0802142443

ASIAN LC 390-0

Cowboys & Samurai

Course Description: The American cowboy and the Japanese samurai are often held up as mythic embodiments of the frontier or warrior spirits that define their respective nations. Yet despite their status as icons of national exceptionalism, the cowboy and samurai are surprisingly interchangeable. In the world of film, the Seven Samurai soon become The Magnificent Seven.

This course explores two complementary genres: Westerns and jidaigeki (period drama). In addition to probing the concept of “genre” itself, we will also examine problems of translation and adaptation. How are elements present in one national, cinematic, or literary context transposed or re-coded to fit within another? What can the various cross-adaptations of samurai and cowboy films tell us about the shifting relations between Japan and the United States? How can generic conventions be bent or “queered” through practices of allusion, adaptation, and re-interpretation?

Teaching Methods: Discussion.

Evaluation Method: Participation, Canvas Posts, and Ungraded Writing Assignments (50%), Midterm Writing Portfolio (~6-7 pages) (20%), Final Writing Portfolio (~12-15 pages, including revisions of midterm writing) (30%).

Texts includeHumanity and Paper Balloons (1937, dir. Sadao Yamanaka, 86min); Stagecoach (1939, dir. John Ford, 96 min); Vendetta of a Samurai (1952, dir. Kazuo Hori, 80min); High Noon (1952, dir. Fred Zinnemann, 85min); Rashomon (1950, dir. Akira Kurosawa, 88min); The Outrage (1964, dir. Martin Ritt, 97min); Yojimbo (1961, dir. Akira Kurosawa, 110min); A Fistful of Dollars (1964, dir. Sergio Leone, 99min); Duel in the Sun (1946, dir. King Vidor, 145min) ; Lady Snowblood (1973, dir. Toshiya Fujita, 97min); Red River (1948, dir. Hanks, 133 min); The Tale of Zatoichi (1962, dir. Kenji Misumi, 95 min); Taboo (Gohatto) (1999, dir. Nagisa Oshima, 100min); Brokeback Mountain (2005, dir. Ang Lee, 134min) ; The Twilight Samurai (2002, dir. Yōji Yamada, 129min);The Last Samurai (2003, dir. Edward Zwick, 131min); Sukiyaki Western Django (2007, dir. Takashi Miike, 121min).

Texts will be available at: An extensive course reader available at Quartet Digital Printing

ASIAN LC 390-0

The Novel in 19th-Century Japan

When Japan opened to the West in the mid-19th century, Japanese writers and readers were introduced to a new and exotic literary form: the novel. Amid a frenzy of Westernization, Japanese intellectuals came to perceive the novel as a privileged, advanced literary form—a sign of the superior civilizational progress of the West and thus a cultural technology that needed to be imported, adapted, and naturalized, or retrospectively discovered in Japan’s indigenous literary traditions. The novel inaugurated one of the most dramatic and rapid evolutions of literary form in the history of Japanese literature, as existing genres were modified, transformed, or abandoned, new and experimental forms of language were created to represent new social realities, and writers, critics, and intellectuals vigorously debated the nature of literature itself. What is literature? What is it supposed to do—for its readers, for society, for the modern nation-state—and what forms best serve these functions? What is a novel, and how is it related to or distinct from other literary forms?
This course traces the evolution of narrative fiction in Japan through this transitional period, from the humorous and fanciful “frivolous compositions” (gesaku) of the early 19th century to the literary and linguistic reform movements of the 1880s and the Naturalist experiments of the early 1900s. Special attention is given to genre and the relationship of the modern novel to earlier literary forms, and to the relationship between literature and its social and political contexts. All readings are in English; no knowledge of Japanese is required or expected.

Learning Objectives:
• To grasp the major texts of narrative Japanese fiction from the late 18th to early 20th century in literary-historical and sociocultural contexts.
• To develop a holistic understanding of the novel as a literary form in the Japanese cultural context, through juxtaposition of major theoretical approaches to the novel, examination of primary texts, and discussion of cultural contexts.
• To build skills in formal description, textual analysis, and interpretation through close reading of primary texts, and to refine skills of analytical writing and scholarly argumentation using literary sources.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation 20%
Weekly response essays 30%
Midterm paper 20%
Final paper 30%

Class Materials (Required):
Natsume Sōseki, Sanshirō, trans. Jay Rubin (Penguin Classics, 2010)

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: The Modern Japanese City

The Japanese city is the main site of Japanese modernity and of its contradictions. As in many other places with leaders determined to modernize quickly, the prewar Japanese government systematically stripped the countryside of resources in order to build and display the central institutions of a modern nation, most of which were in the cities. These developments recast Tokyo as the epitome of Japan’s modern success in economic and political terms and as the site of its cultural and social disintegration. Tokyo and nearly all Japanese cities then were virtually leveled during World War II. After the war, the newly reconstructed cities became the central arenas for Japanese efforts to create democracy.

This co-taught course examines the cultural representations of the modern Japanese city from its construction to its destruction and then regeneration. We will study the ways Japanese transformed Tokyo into an imperial capital and then recast it as a space for new forms of political and social relationships after the war. Throughout its history, Tokyo has been Japan’s central site for defining and redefining class and gender identities as well as participating in mass consumption. We will consider how authors and filmmakers represented individual and collective experiences of urban life and the ways that urban space shaped the very form and possibilities of life in modern Japan.

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

- learn to identify and apply the analytical techniques and central questions of cultural history, literary studies, and film studies. 

- understand how writers, filmmakers, and other artists responded to the modernization of urban space in Japan

- how to analyze the relationship between aesthetic representation and urban space


Teaching Method:

Lectures and Discussion.

A special feature will be an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute and a film program at the Block Museum.


Evaluation Method:

Attendance and Informed Participation in Discussion (lecture and section): 15%

Short Paper A (visualization of urban space):  20%                   

Short Paper B (representation of Tokyo in literature):  20%

Short Paper C (photography exhibit or experimental films):  20%

Final Paper:  25%


Class Materials (Required):

E. Taylor Atkins, Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan Paperback –·  Duke University Press Books; 2001)  ISBN-13: 978-0822327219

 Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan  University of California Press (1998)  ISBN-13: 978-0520213715  paperback

Sanshiro by Natsume Soseki (Author), Jay Rubin (Translator),   Penguin Classics  2010)  ISBN-13: 978-0140455625

Shanghai: A Novel by Yokomitsu Riichi Dennis Washburn (Translator)   Series: Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies (Book 33) Paperback: 248 pages  Publisher: U of M Center For Japanese Studies (June 18, 2001) ISBN-13: 978-1929280018

Out by Kirino Natsuo  (Author) Stephen Snyder (Translator), Vintage; Reprint Edition (2005) ISBN-13: 978-1400078370

 Additional Required Readings on Canvas

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures - Reading and Writing Desire: Love, Courtship, and Gender in Premodern Japanese Literature

Early Japanese literature is often associated with the themes of love and amorous longing, but what do we talk about when we talk about love? What kinds of desires—emotional, sexual, social, political—are set into play by narratives of courtship, and how are these marked by gender? And what roles can literature play in mediating and articulating those desires? With these questions in mind, this course offers a topical survey of the major works, genres, and authors of premodern Japanese literature, from the earliest times through the medieval period: early mythohistory, classical poetry, poetic diaries and poem tales, narrative tales of the Heian court (including the classic Tale of Genji), Buddhist folklore, the nō theater, and more. Topics addressed include: court politics and the politics of courtship; tensions between public obligation and private feeling; gendered gazes and the optics of desire; the social functions of poetic exchange in courtship practices; the role of nature imagery in lyrical expression; the gendering of genre and language, and the performative use of both to invert those constructions; Buddhist conceptions of desire, gender, and love as both damnation and salvation; social status, class, mobility, and the erotics of inter-class romance. All readings are in English; no knowledge of Japanese is required or expected.

Learning Objectives:
• To introduce the major works and authors of the Japanese literary canon from the earliest writings through the medieval period, including poetic, narrative, and dramatic genres.
• To develop skills of textual analysis, interpretation, and comparison through close reading of primary texts, and to refine skills of analytical writing and scholarly argumentation using literary sources.
• To learn how to approach cultural categories such as gender and love in historical and comparative perspectives, and to both construct and question narratives of cultural history in relation to such themes.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation: 20%
Weekly response essays (250-300 words): 20%
Longer writing assignments: 30%
Final paper (8-10 pages): 30%

Class Materials (Required):
Haruo Shirane, ed., Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600 (Columbia University Press, 2007)
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, translated by Royall Tyler (Penguin Classics, 2002)
Edward Seidensticker, trans., The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan (Tuttle Classics, 1989).
Other materials will be made available by PDF or course reader.

Class Materials (recommended): if applicable
H. Paul Varley, Japanese Culture, 4th Edition (University of Hawai’i Press, 2000).

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: CyberJapan

This course explores the interaction between cybernetic technologies and cultural production in modern Japan.  We focus on how visual and literary media have been used to represent such technologies (robotics, cybernetics, and the Internet) as well as how these technologies have shaped forms of cultural production in late 20th and early 21st century Japan.  The notion of the “cyber” – its origins in cybernetics and ensuing proliferation of meanings – forms the conceptual core of the course.  After considering early definitions of this term, we turn to how Japanese manga, animation, film, and cultural theory explore the ways in which cybernetic technologies, like cyborgs and cyberspace, have expanded our understanding of human subjectivity and agency, transformed social relations, and blurred boundaries between the human and the animal, the biological and the artificial, and the physical and non-physical.           

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce students to humanistic approaches to analyzing visual media and the representation of digital technologies in modern Japan.  The primary objectives of this course are:
1. To learn to interpret the multiple possible meanings of manga and animation through formal analysis
2. To develop a firm and sophisticated grasp of the concepts - such as “cybernetics,” “post-human,” and “subjectivity” - at core of the course
3. To gain an understanding of how manga and animation reflect these concepts and how these concepts can inform an analysis of these media
4. To learn to write clearly and incisively about these media and concepts.       

Teaching Method:

Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:

Attendance and Participation: 20% (an engaged presence, preparation of materials and contributions to discussions)
Short Writing Assignments: 30%
Midterm Exam (Short and Long Essays): 20%
Final Exam(Short and Long Essays): 30%

Class Materials (Required):

A course reader will be available before the course begins.  Books will be available for purchase through the campus bookstore. Films will be available to stream through CANVAS and will be on reserve in the Multimedia Center. 

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Contemporary Japanese Literature

This course provides a survey of Japanese literature from the 1980s to the present moment. We will explore the ways in which writers used literary form in responding to globalization, commodification, economic crises, and the traumas of terrorism and natural disasters. Topics include Japan's perceived uncertain position in the world, responses to disaster, the use of literature to "heal," postmodernism and metafiction, and changing notions of the body. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course.

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce students to the history and production of literature in Japan from the 1980s to the present. Students will learn to hone their reading, critical thinking, viewing, and writing skills

Teaching Method: Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method:

  • Attendance and Participation: 20% (an engaged presence, preparation of materials, presentations and contributions to discussions)
  • Short Writing Assignments: 30%
  • Midterm Essay, 4-5 pages: 20%
  • Final Essay/Project, 6-9 pages: 30%

Class Materials (Required):

A course reader will be available for purchase. Books will be available through the campus bookstore. Films will be available to stream through CANVAS and will be on reserve in the Multimedia Center.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: The Wages of War: Self and Other in Extremity

Through a combination of European, Japanese and American novels and films made from them, this course will look at some experiences of war from the late 19th and 20th centuries. World War II and the Vietnam War novels are the major focus; films will provide an additional dimension of critical engagement with much of the material. War encounters must of necessity "other" participants--reduce common humanity to "us" and "them." The course intentions are: to defamiliarize seemingly well-known topics, many of them in world news, so that we can argue important human and political issues more cogently; to recognize the limits of our knowledge and still have positions of value in intellectual discussion; by exploring some major war confrontations (including colonial) and experiencing them in the eyes of participants, to develop arguments of compassion that recognize that “othering” is a process as old as human culture and as recent as yesterday’s news.

Registration Requirements

May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

Teaching Method

Seminar with some lecture; discussion and short individual reports. The course films (plus some others) will be presented in the Spring Quarter Asian Film Series sponsored by Asian Studies. Students will keep a "reading/viewing" journal with ongoing individual critiques of the materials.

Evaluation Method

Participation in class discussion; "reading/viewing" journals; 10-12 pp. final paper

Class Materials (Required)

Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness Coetzee, J. M. Waiting for the Barbarians Ooka, Shohei Fires on the Plain Takeyama, Michio Harp of Burma Ibuse, Masuji Black Rain Course packet (Quartet Copies)

ASIAN LC 390-0

Asia as Method: A Research Workshop

If you wish to pursue some combination of gainful employment, political activism, or academic research, you will need three fundamental abilities: 1) the ability to understand how knowledge has been produced in the past, 2) the ability to develop methods for producing knowledge on your own and with others, and 3) the ability to communicate that knowledge to future audiences. This course offers an intensive training program in these three abilities, a program geared towards students in Asian and comparative literary studies who wish to pursue independent research projects (and thereby demonstrate the higher-level research skills prized by employers, granting agencies, and graduate admissions committees).

At the most basic level, this is a classic research methods course, where you will strengthen the skills necessary to complete a full, ten-week research project. Through short weekly exercises, we will break down and workshop each component of the research process—e.g., how to convert an area of interest into a specific topic, how to apply for research funding, how to write an abstract, how to compile a bibliography, etc. These exercises will culminate in a twelve-page research paper (or its equivalent in other formats). Our work in research methods will provide a springboard for readings and discussion about how we can critique or change existing methods for producing knowledge. Such questions include: How do problems of orientation provide the basis for making the Orient an object of knowledge and power? How do different media exert and distribute “soft” and “hard” power? What kinds of knowledge production have supported colonialism and imperialism? And what alternatives exist for decolonizing or democratizing knowledge?

Note: As a class of this kind has not been offered in DALC before, students interested in reading evaluations of a similar course in English may wish to consult the instructor’s CTECs for English 397.

Learning Objectives:

The student will be able to define a research topic; refine a research topic into a specific set of research questions; collect manuscript, print, and digital sources; compile an annotated bibliography; provide effective feedback to peers; and present research in oral and written form.

Teaching Method:
Discussion of readings and workshopping of student assignments.

Evaluation Method:
Class participation; for-credit weekly research exercises; graded rough draft, oral presentation, and final draft of a research paper (~15 pages).

Class Materials (Required):
1) A course reader of short weekly readings (in English) from such writers as B.R. Ambedkar, Christopher Bush, Eileen Chang, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Kandace Chuh, Rey Chow, Mahatma Gandhi, Eric Hayot, François Jullien, Elaine Kim, Susan Koshy, Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Lydia Liu, Lisa Lowe, Lu Xun, Chandra Mohanty, Natsume Sōseki, Edward Said, Haun Saussy, and Yi Sang.

2) Booth, Wayne, et. al. The Craft of Research (Third Edition). (Chicago: U. Chicago, 2008).

3) Hayot, Eric. The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities. (New York: Columbia, 2014).

Korea

ASIAN LC 290-0

Korean Film and Society

Course Description:
This interdisciplinary course explores 20th and 21st century Korean films as sites for historical inquiry and social analysis. We will examine how legacies of colonialism, national division, and the Cold War in East Asia are articulated through the medium of cinema in South and North Koreas. We will also look at how Korean national identities are produced in relation to the global circulation of films and transnational market forces. Through this course, students will gain an understanding of some of the major issues in modern Korean history and society, as well as learn to think critically about the language of cinema.

Learning Objectives:
Students will be introduced to major themes in modern Korean culture, society, and history. Students will develop skills in analyzing films as cultural texts. 
Students will sharpen critical reading and writing skills.


Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
Participation, attendance, preparation for class.
Response papers.
Midterm and final analytical papers.

Class Materials (Required):
Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film (available at the campus bookstore for purchase)
Readings and streaming films accessible via Canvas Course site

ASIAN LC 290-0

Modern Korean Literature

This course examines prose fiction by Korean writers from the first decades of the 20th century to the 1970s. We will explore the changing and often contested socio-political role that literature has played in Korea. We will read novels and short stories spanning from the decades of Japanese colonialism to the aftermaths of the Korean War to the establishment of separate North and South Korean regimes during the Cold War. Through these texts, we will examine how literature played a major role in creating Korean national consciousness, representing oppositional politics against colonial rule, reacting to experiences of new urban modernity, and exploring the possibilities and limitations of the postcolonial divided nation. We will also inquire how experiments in literary form related to various purported functions of literature. Novels and short stories will be supplemented with secondary sources in literary criticism and/or historical analysis. All readings will be in English. No previous knowledge of Korea or Korean language is required.

Learning Objectives:
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the major works of modern Korean literature and their historical contexts. Students will sharpen their skills in close reading and analytical writing.

Teaching Method:
Discussion with some lecture

Evaluation Method:
Attendance and participation
Weekly responses
Midterm and final papers

Class Materials (Required):
Books ordered through university bookstore. Other materials available through course Canvas website.

South Asia

ASIAN LC 290-0

Kings, Courtesans and Khan Artists: Picturizing Islam and Muslims in Bombay Cinema (a.k.a. Bollywood)

India is home to the second largest population of Muslims on earth. It’s also host to the world’s largest film industry, best known as Bollywood. Little wonder, then, that Bollywood films regularly feature Muslim characters, social spaces, and cultural references that are readily marked or coded as “Islamic.” But in spite of a large coterie of Muslims working within the industry – as actors, song writers, or producers – the representation of Muslims in Indian films has consistently raised complex issues around ideas of identity and belonging in a nation where they constitute a clear minority. We will read these films against the historical backdrop of the search for national identity in post-colonial India, as well as in the context of the so-called “war on terror.”  Students will be given the opportunity not only to learn about Indian (particularly Bombay) cinema, but also to explore how cinematic representations intersect with issues of identity and belonging in the modern nation-state.

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop a familiarity with cinema traditions in India
  • To develop skills in critically analyzing cultural texts (films)
  • To examine the relationship between art, culture and nationalism
  • To refine analytical and writing skills

Teaching Method:

  • Lecture + discussion

Evaluation Method:

  • Papers

Class Materials (Required):  none

ASIAN LC 290-0

Feminist Theory and Media in South Asia

This course will introduce students to the ways in which South Asian (dominantly Indian, but also Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and diasporic) feminist intellectuals, artists, and activists help to shape the global discourse of feminism. After an introduction to the major contours of South Asian feminist discourse and artistic and activist practice, we will pay special attention to modern and contemporary media forms (film, web serials, blogs, journalism etc.) in South Asia that bring a feminist perspective to myriad social issues (gender identity, sexuality, caste, classed labor etc.). Students will also collaborate on critical multimedia media projects of their own.

Learning Objectives:
Students will encounter the key figures and features of South Asian feminist theory.
Students will read and engage in their own feminist critical practice of South Asian mass media forms.
Students will create multimedia projects (with the necessary technological training and tools) on individually researched topics within feminist theory and media in South Asia.

Teaching Method:
Lecture, Discussion, Workshop

Evaluation Method:
Written Assignments, presentation and discussion-leading, multimedia project

Class Materials (Required):
Materials available online, on Canvas, e-reserve, and in a course reader upon request.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Burning Embers and Burka Avengers: Society, the Arts and Popular Culture in Pakistan

This class will an offer an introduction to the literature, arts and popular culture of Pakistan with a focus on the productive – if often fraught– relationship between artistic creation, social reform and political change. Looking beyond the confines of the modern nation-state, our examination will stretch from the leftist modernism of the 1930s to contemporary trends, including the recent appearance of hip-hop, “Sufi rock,” and animated programs such as Burka Avenger. The course will examine major movements and figures, reading them with reference to the historical context in which they were produced. While our primary focus will be on the written word – novels, short stories, and poetry – we will also devote significant attention to the place of music, television and film. By the end of the course, students will have a strong knowledge of Pakistan’s political, cultural and artistic history, as well as its contemporary relevance. They will also gain a critical understanding of the relationship between the arts, politics and social reform.

Learning Objectives:

  • Critical engagement with the socio-political history of Pakistan
  • A familiarity with major movements and trends in the arts in Pakistan
  • A theoretical understanding of the relationship between art, criticism, censorship and the state

Teaching Method: Lecture/discussion

Evaluation Method: Paper submissions, short response

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: India On-Screen: A Bollywood History

This course explores the history, music, and narrative conventions of popular Hindi cinema in India, commonly referred to as “Bollywood.” Bollywood movies, readily identified by their song-and-dance sequences and “masala”-style mixing of filmic genres, are among the most avidly watched films in the world. Focusing on films that engage major historical and cultural moments in more than sixty years of modern Indian nationhood, we will explore why Bollywood-style storytelling is so effective as well as examine how these filmic narratives both reflect and shape the culture and society in which they are created.

Learning Objectives:

You will become familiar with some of the most significant (for both critics and popular audiences) films of the post-independence era. You will also use these films as windows into postcolonial Indian culture and society, and through a chronological viewing, get a Bollywood-eye view of modern Indian history. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, you will learn to “read” and interpret these films as cultural and aesthetic texts and think about the ways in which they make meaning through storytelling, music, and spectacle.

Teaching Method:
Lecture and discussion

Evaluation Method:
2 Take-home exams
Quizzes
Participation

Class Materials (Required):
Coursepack

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Indo-Islamic Culture

This course focuses on the profound range of the Indo-Islamic literary tradition in India and Pakistan from the early Mughal period (16th century) to the present day. The course will emphasize the rhetorical and performative history of poetic forms in the subcontinent (including the longstanding and still popular forms of ghazal and marsiya, among others) and will consider how classical poetic tropes continue to inform contemporary mass culture in India and Pakistan, as for example, through the influence of mainstream cinema (Bollywood) song lyrics. The course will also consider more contemporary prose genres of Urdu-language writing in English translation, including the literature of the Indo-Pakistani Partition in 1947 and the works of contemporary authors such as Naiyer Masud and Intezar Husain. Through a comparative study of texts in different genres and at different moments in history, student will consider questions such as: What aspects of contemporary literary culture in India and Pakistan can be traced to early establishment of Islamicate culture in the region? How have the poetic conventions of Indo-Islamic poetry (such as the oft-cited attraction of the moth to the flame) continued to resonate? How did the interaction of Hindu and Muslim literary, musical, visual, and religious cultures in the Mughal era help to generate the rich profusion of literature and music and cultural tolerance in this period?

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed to introduce the Indo-Islamic culture in South Asia by close readings of Urdu literature in English translations and watching bollywood films.

Teaching Method:

Lecture and discussion.

Evaluation Method:

  • Participation: 30% [Attendance and talking in the class 10%, Group activity 20%]
  • 2 Assignments (5% each): 10%
  • First paper: 25%
  • Final paper: 35%

Class Materials (Required):

All the readings will be available on Canvas. Films will also be available on reserve at the Multimedia.

ASIAN LC 290-0

Special Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Living Indian Epics

This course will introduce students to two fundamental mythological pillars of Indian society - the great Hindu epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Each thought to be composed almost three thousand years ago (give or take a few centuries), these two epic narratives have continued to be re-told and re-imagined in changing social and cultural contexts ever since. This course is dedicated to understanding the nature of these ancient epics as modern, "living" texts in contemporary Indian society. After developing a basic understanding of the major events and characters of each epic, we will explore them in the modern contexts of literature, comic books, film, television, and political rhetoric. We will ask whether the resonance of these epics varies in each of these modern contexts, or if their "meanings" are as immortal as the tales themselves.

Registration Requirements

May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

Learning Objectives

This course will provide students with an introduction not only to two hugely important and fascinating stories of the ancient Hindu epic literature, but also to major issues of religion, gender, popular culture, and social politics in contemporary India.

Teaching Method

Lecture and Discussion.

Evaluation Method

Oral Quizzes 20% (2 at 10% each) Written Quizzes 20% (4 at 5% each) Midterm 20% Final Exam 30% Participation 10%

Class Materials (Required)

RK Narayan, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Penguin Classics, 1998) RK Narayan, The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (University of Chicago Press, 2000) All other required materials will be made available on Canvas.

ASIAN LC 390-0

Language, Politics, and Society in Modern South Asia

Speak English! No, Speak Hindi!

Why do we often feel such a strong attachment for a given language that we are willing to sacrifice, and even die, for it? Why is it that language can bring us together, but also drive us apart? In this class, we will explore the history of language as a political and social category in South Asia. Topics raised in class will range from a study of multi-lingualism in pre-modern India, to the emergence of language-based identity politics in the colonial period; from the so-called “Hindi-Urdu split,” to the dominance of English and its complex relationship with other languages in contemporary South Asia. We will approach the subject from a range of disciplinary angles, particularly history and literature, but also examine sociological and anthropological perspectives. In tackling these question, we will gain insight on the dynamics of cultural contestation and change in South Asia and beyond.  For disputes over language are never just about language.

Learning Objectives:

  • Become familiar with the history of language and identity politics in South Asia
  • Learn dominant academic approaches to the study of language in society
  • Apply lessons from the case in South Asia to language politics globally, particularly in the US

Teaching Method:

  • Lecture + discussion

Evaluation Method:

  • Papers 
 
ASIAN LC 390-0

‘This is not that dawn…’: The Partition of India and Pakistan, 1947-2017

Course Description:
In August 1947, as the sun set on Britain’s Indian empire, the subcontinent was partitioned into two newly-created, independent nations: India and Pakistan. The division into two territories –one Hindu-majority, the other Muslim-majority – was accompanied by perhaps the largest migration in human history. Millions moved from one territory to the other, often against their will, as hundreds of thousands were killed in the ensuing chaos. The unprecedented violence of Partition - physical, emotional, social – profoundly shaped the national identities of India and Pakistan, permanently restructured the texture of everyday life and altered the global political order. From border disputes in Kashmir to ongoing cross-border migration to unresolved conflicts over identity and belonging, the conflicts engendered by Partition continue to shape the region today.

Unsurprisingly, then, Partition and its legacy have been the subject of extensive engagement in literature, film, popular culture and even TV advertisements. This class will examine how Partition has been engaged in literature and popular culture, moving from contemporary depictions from the late 1940s to its continued invocation in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh today. We will read these texts alongside the extensive body of scholarship on Partition from History, Anthropology and Gender Studies with particular attention to the historiography of Partition and South Asian nationalisms. Throughout, we will engage with the idea of Partition as an “event” and ask how Partition continues to inflect life in South Asia and beyond today. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Critically engage with scholarship on Partition and nationalism in South Asia
  • Gain a familiarity of artistic and literary approaches to Partition from across national, linguistic and religious traditions
  • Integrate and analyze approaches to a single ‘event’ from a range of disciplinary perspectives

Teaching Method: Lecture/discussion

Evaluation Method: Paper submissions, short response

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Literary Cultures of Mughal India

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The Mughal Empire (1526-1857) is widely remembered as one of the most powerful, opulent empires of the early modern world, renowned both for the atmosphere of cultural pluralism that it promoted as well as the magnificent monuments (such as the famed Taj Mahal) that it produced. Less well known, however, are the remarkably rich -- and remarkably diverse -- literary cultures that the Mughal court promoted, and which saturated the cultural, political, and religious life of early modern India more generally. This course will introduce students to some of the basic features of these intersecting Indo-Persian, Sanskrit, and Hindi-Urdu literary worlds (in translation, of course), as well as to their lasting -- and sometimes controversial -- legacies in modern South Asian culture and politics, from British India to Bollywood.

Prerequisite: None -- but "History of Early Modern India" (HIS 385-1) and/or "History of Modern South Asia" (HIS 385-2) are recommended.

Teaching Method: Seminar

Evaluation Method: Final paper (~15pp)

Class Materials (Required)
Assorted readings uploaded to Canvas

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Caste in Indian Society and Literature

This course focuses on the phenomenon of caste and social hierarchy in India from classical Hindu religious and legal literature to contemporary politics and anti-caste “Dalit” (formerly, Untouchable) literature (poetry, fiction, autobiography). We will pay special attention to the complex phenomenon of caste as ideology and experience in both historical and contemporary periods, and will also focus on the diverse ways in which modern and contemporary literature and cinema have become significant sites for the negotiation of caste identities and politics.

Learning Objectives:

This course will introduce students to scholarship on the history and ideology of caste as a constitutive social and political category in India from classical to modern times. The course will also allow students to engage closely with modern and contemporary creative literature and cinema that navigates and critiques the fissures caste creates in Indian society, and that envisions a caste-free future.

Teaching Method:

Lecture and Discussion

Evaluation Method:

  • Participation: 10% (This includes attendance, thorough preparation of all assigned materials and active participation in classroom discussion)
  • Short Papers: 60% (students must submit a total of three 3-4 page papers, each of which will be designed to improve specific writing and analytical skills)
  • Final Essay: 30% (students must submit one six-eight page final research paper)

Class Materials (Required):

The Annihilation of Caste, B.R. Ambedkar with an introduction by Arundhati Roy
Untouchable, Mulk Raj Anand
Samskara, U.R. Ananthamurthy
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Joothan, Omprakash Valmiki
Unclaimed Terrain, Ajay Navaria
The Case of the Love Commandos, Tarquin Hall
All other materials will be available via Canvas

ASIAN LC 390-0

Advanced Topics in Asian Languages and Cultures: Indo-Pakistani Women Writers

In this course we will engage with the works (poetry, autobiographies, novels, short stories etc.) of women writers from India and Pakistan.  We will explore how women writers – from the 16th century devotional poet Mirabai to modern and contemporary feminist authors writing in English, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Telugu, and Bengali – continue to articulate and re-imagine the female experience in South Asian societies, offering fierce challenges to the foundations of patriarchy.

Registration Requirements

May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

Learning Objectives

Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of significant works of literature by women writers in India and Pakistan in the modern period.
Students will learn how to apply analytical frameworks to literary texts that are informed by gender theory and cultural and historical context.
Students will learn to think and write critically and to articulate their ideas clearly in discussion with their peers. 

Teaching Method

Discussion

Evaluation Method

Leading and participating in discussion, reading response papers, research paper.

Class Materials (Required)

Rokeya Sakhawat Hussein, Sultana’s Dream and Selections From The Secluded Ones
Attia Hossein, Sunlight on a Broken Column
Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India
Gogu Shyamala, Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket But…
Kamala Das, My Story
Sara Suleri, Meatless Days

ASIAN LC 390-0

Travel Writing

How do we know what we know about India? How do residents of India themselves know what they know about the vast land they inhabit, with its various sub-cultures and ethnic groups? As a perennially popular literary genre, travel writing has played a prominent role in the production of this knowledge. In this course, we will read travel writing on and from South Asia to ask how it produces representations of India and offers it to readers for consumption. Course materials will include both historical travel writing from authors like Mark Twain, Rabindranath Tagore and Queen Sikandar Begum, as well as more contemporary works like Eat, Pray, Love and City of Djinns. By the end of the course, students should have a clear understanding of the place of travel writing in modern literature on India, and how this genre has helped structure the way we know this region today.

Learning Objectives:
• To become familiar with travel writing traditions in and on South Asia.
• To develop skills in critically analyzing literary and cultural texts.
• To refine analytical and writing skills.
Teaching Method: Lecture and discussion.

Evaluation Method:
Participation; assignments; final paper.

Class Materials (Required):
Materials will be available on Canvas.

ASIAN LC 492-0

Novel Cinema: Translating Indian Literature Onscreen

This course considers the interplay of literary and cinematic cultures in India by considering the movement of stories from page to screen. Many of India’s most constitutive narratives enjoy a continued vibrancy by continual re-tellings, often in multiple cinematic adaptations. Other Indian filmmakers have creatively localized non-Indian literature to comment incisively on Indian politics and society. Discussions each week will focus on at least one novel or short story (in translation from Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Tamil, among other Indian languages) and its cinematic adaptation, or else films that immerse non-Indian classics in a distinctively Indian milieu (for example Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare Trilogy). Readings will include works by Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand, Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, Chetan Bhagat and others. Films will include works by Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali, Bimal Roy, and Anurag Kashyap among others. All readings will be in English translation, and films will be subtitled.

Learning Objectives:

Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of many of the most significant cultural narratives of modern India.
Students will engage with theories of intermediality and translation to understand, in a nuanced way, the movement of narrative from page to screen, and the social and aesthetic consequences of such a transformation.

Teaching Method:

Seminar - discussion

Evaluation Method:

Discussion, reading responses, research paper

Class Materials (Required):

All films will be available via Canvas, or in scheduled screenings.

Books:
Mirza Adi Rusva, Umrao Jaan Ada (Urdu, 1899)
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Devdas (Bengali, 1917)
Munshi Premchand, “Sadgati” and “Shatranj Ke Khiladi” (Hindi-Urdu, 1920s)
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Pather Panchali (Bengali, 1929) and Aparijito (Bengali, 1932)
RK Narayan, The Guide (English, 1958)
Sharadindu Bandhopadhyay, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi stories, selected (Bengali, 1931-1970)
Arundhati Roy, In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (English, 1989)
Chetan Bhagat Five Point Someone (English, 2004)