East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses

Through the analysis of "love"-related aspects of selected East Asian narratives (premodern literary texts and modern cinema), students sharpen their understanding of traditional East Asian values and, in the process, consider the status of such values in contemporary East Asia. On the one hand, students develop interpretive skills while exploring the traditional role of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism in "love" narratives, and, on the other, share diverse opinions on definitions of love in contemporary China, Korea and Japan. This class uses an “Active Learning Classroom” approach. Most course content is delivered outside the classroom via reading assignments and online lectures. In-class time is often exercises. Attendance is critical. No prerequisites. Open to all.

This course explores the discourse on bioethics that has taken place in Asia, where traditional values concerning life, death, religion, and the relationship of the individual to family and society has often developed along lines quite different from what is normative in the West. The advances in recent biomedical research have raised difficult ethical questions in all societies, and these will be examined both as universal questions about the human condition as well as issues that demand clarification of the relevance of past approaches to defining what a human being is and what behavior taken to or on behalf of a human being is ethically acceptable. The core of the course focuses on debates within India, China, and Japan, but Korea and Southeast Asia may also be considered. We will look at bioethical writings within traditional religion and law on the subjects such as suicide, euthanasia, population control, abortion, sex-selection, genetic manipulation, brain-death, organ transplants, etc. Prerequisites: None.

The 1960s were a time of radical upheaval and transformation, not only in the US, but globally. Many of us are at least superficially familiar with some of the iconic moments and movements of the era, from the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam war protest, to the emergence of rock music and the 'counterculture.' Berkeley and the Bay Area, of course, played no small part in this story. In this course, we will look at the 1960s through the lens of a very different locale: East Asia. Located at the frontline of the geopolitical divides of the Cold War, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan underwent convulsive urbanization and rapid economic growth under US-backed developmental regimes. In China, the utopian energies of Maoism fueled a political movement that dwarfed those of the West in intensity and destructive fury. While the radical hopes and violent disenchantments of those years often make the decade seem like a disavowed historical other, the 1960s remains crucial to any informed understanding of the East Asian present. In this course, we will explore the art, literature, music, and media culture of the East Asian 1960s on both sides of the Cold War divide. In what ways did East Asia participate in larger struggles for decolonization? How did the emergence of new global circuits for the distribution and consumption of ideas and images transform literary and artistic styles in the 1960s? How did the rhetoric of the era — with its emphasis on youth, immediacy, experiential intensity, sensation —  relate to technological and institutional changes in media culture?  Can we read the most distinctive artistic products of this period — from Maoist music and fashion to Taiwanese modernist fiction and musicals, and from Japanese avant-garde cinema to Hong Kong martial arts films and Korean melodramas  — not only in terms of local, but also global developments?  By the same token, is it possible to revise existing (US and Eurocentric) stories of the decade in light of the arts of the East Asian 1960s? Finally, what can the artifacts of that era (and the ways in which they are remembered now) tell us about the horizons of our own historical imagination? Prerequisites: None.

What does it mean to “know” a person in writing, and how does one make oneself—or someone else— “known” through writing? Beginning with both ancient and modern philosophical and literary treatments of the topic, this seminar guides students in reading and writing about people, skills they will need long after this course has ended. Prerequisites: None.