East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses

This course will provide students with a basic understanding of the history, teachings, and practices of the Buddhist tradition. We will begin with a look at the Indian religious culture from which Buddhism emerged, and then move on to consider the life of the Buddha, the early teachings, the founding of the monastic order, and the development of Buddhist doctrinal systems. We will then turn to the rise of Mahāyāna Buddhism, and the transformation of Buddhism as it moved from India to China, Japan, Tibet and the countries of Southeast Asia. We will end with a brief look at contemporary controversies over, (1) the tulku (reincarnate lama) system in Tibet; (2) the ordination of Buddhist nuns in Southeast Asia; and (3) the rise and popularity of mindfulness meditation in America. Readings will cover a variety of primary and secondary materials, as well as two short novels, and we will make use of films and videos. There are no prerequisites for this course—everyone is welcome. But the course does demand a great deal of time and effort on the part of  students. There is a lot of reading as well as a short written assignment or quiz each week,  and attendance at all lectures and discussion sections is mandatory. Students should only enroll if they can commit the required time and energy to the course.

The course will introduce students to narratives about illness, disease and healing written by patients, physicians, caretakers, and others.  These narratives report an experience.  They reveal the interactions between the unfolding life of the patient and the shifting social meanings attached to illness. We will study the relationships between illness and society through readings of fiction, memoir, films, essays and graphic novels in order to understand how these varied forms of storytelling organize and give meaning to crucial questions about embodiment, disability and forms of sociality enabled by our bodily vulnerabilities. Prerequisites: None.

This course will provide an outline of prehistoric archaeology in Japan, China and Korea, with a focus on long­-term changes in human environmental interaction. Particular emphasis will be on the causal relationships between food diversity, scale of society, climate change, technological developments, mobility of people, goods and information, and the cumulative damage on the local and global environment. Roles of archaeological studies for our understanding of long­-term sustainability of human cultures and societies will be discussed.Results of biological and chemical analyses of archaeological data, such as stable isotope analyses, DNA analyses, residue analyses of pottery, starch grains analysis, and macro faunal and floral remains analyses, will frequently be cited. 

This course is a capstone experience that centers on the philosophies and religions of East Asia examined from multiple theoretical perspectives. It comprises several thematic units within which a short set of readings about theory are followed by chronologically arranged readings about East Asia. Themes will alternate from year to year but may include: ritual and performance studies; religion and evolution; definitions of religion and theories of its origins; and the role of sacrifice. Prerequisites: Preference will be given to majors, especially those with junior or senior standing.

This course introduces incoming graduate students to literary and cultural theory and criticism. The goal is not to provide a comprehensive overview, but to develop the tools needed to understand and responsibly assume our specific and evolving positions regarding our chosen materials, be they ancient or modern, Chinese or Japanese.  The intensive reading and discussion of critical texts will be grounded in the students’ work as scholars of East Asian languages and cultures, and will try to address some of the following questions: How do these diverse interpretive modes intersect with East Asian cultural, literary, and visual studies? What sorts of new questions and ways of seeing do they enable or elide? Are there particular problems or practices to which we, as students of East Asian languages and cultures in the US academic context, need to attend? What are our archives, and what should we “do” with them? How do our encounters with primary texts ‘translate’ into academic work? Prerequisites: This course is required of first-year graduate students in EALC. The seminar is also open to interested graduate students in Asian Studies, as well as those in History, Comparative Literature, History of Art, Linguistics, Anthropology, Rhetoric, and related fields, who plan to focus on East Asian materials.