Fall 2017 Course Descriptions

Chinese Language and Literature Courses

This course is the first semester in a year-long sequence that introduces the basic grammatical structures and core vocabulary of literary Chinese, also commonly known as "classical Chinese". During this semester, students will focus on reading excerpts from prose works of the Warring States period (fifth to third centuries BCE). The primary goal of the course is to develop reading skills in classical Chinese texts; at the same time, however, students will develop familiarity with some of the historical and cultural contexts in which these texts took shape. Prerequisites: Chinese 10B is recommended.

Chinese cities are the sites of complicated global/local interconnections as the nation is increasingly incorporated into the world system. Understanding Chinese cities is the key to analyzing the dramatic transformation of Chinese society and culture. This course is designed to teach students to think about Chinese cities in more textured ways. How are urban forms and urban spaces produced through processes of social, political, and ideological conflict? How are cities represented in literary, cinematic, and various popular cultures? How has our imagination of the city been shaped and how are these spatial discourses influencing the making of the cities of tomorrow?  Prerequisites: Chinese 100A, Chinese 100XA, Chinese 100YA (may be taken concurrently); or consent of instructor.

This course introduces the history of traditional Chinese drama from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, covering important works from a wide range of genres (farcical, religious, detective, martial arts, historical, and romantic). We study Chinese theater in the context of pleasure precincts, ad hoc markets, ritual parades, and printed matter. The underlying questions we ask are: how did different kinds of spatial structure historically define performance? And how did these varied spatial configurations orient the relationship of the audience to the performance differently? And what general implications did the theatrical space have for the constitution of the self and for social formation in medieval and early modern China? Prerequisites: None.

This course is an introduction to media culture in 20th-century China, with an emphasis on photography, cinema, and popular music. The course places these productions in historical and cultural context, examining the complex intertwinement of culture, technology, and politics in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from the turn of the last century to the beginning of the 21st. Students will also be introduced to a number of approaches to thinking about and analyzing popular cultural phenomena. Prerequisites: None.

In this course, we examine Chinese paintings within the collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and read selected texts of the fiction and drama of the late-imperial period  to think about the potential structures of relation between interiority and the object. We will engage in private viewing of the paintings of Wen Zhengming, Shen Shi, Chen Guan, Sheng Maoye, Zhang Zheng and others.   Our questions might include:  How is a sense of interiority created or reinforced?  Where is interiority located? What, in fact, are we speaking about when we invoke either “interiority” or the “object”? How might the museum itself be a liminal space that could influence our understanding of such questions?  We will examine the “nonhuman turn” of recent posthumanist inquiry as well as the concern in the literature of the Ming and Qing regarding the confines and limitations of the notion of the “I.” With the instructors, students will curate an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum to be mounted from February through April 2018.  The text of the wall labels and the program guide will be drawn from students'  journal entries and papers, and students will make decisions regarding the underlying logic of the exhibition.

East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses

Introduction to the Study of Buddhism. 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 (including two novels), and we will make use of films and videos. Prerequiaites: None.

This course will discuss the historical development of the Pure Land school of East Asian Buddhism, the largest form of Buddhism practiced today in China and Japan. The curriculum is divided into India, China, and Japan sections, with the second half of the course focusing exclusively on Japan where this form of religious culture blossomed most dramatically, covering the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The curriculum will begin with a reading of the core scriptures that form the basis of the belief system and then move into areas of cultural expression. The course will follow two basic trajectories over the centuries: doctrine/philosophy and culture/society. Prerequisites: None.

Japanese Language and Literature Courses

We read and analyze selections from premodern Japanese literature (poetry, prose and drama), especially via a consideration of cultural concepts (such as purity) and aesthetic terms (such as sabi). While this class focuses on literature, we often find time to consider the visual arts, music, and the formation of the tea ceremony. Students will be expected to master a range of factual and conceptual information as well as produce interesting and credible analysis on course topics via written assignments. Teaching methods: While there are some lectures, most of the factual information and interpretive content is delivered outside the classroom via online lectures and assigned readings. For some, this approach increases the amount of non-class time needed to do well in the course. Learning outcomes: Students develop sophistication in reading premodern literary works, become versed in a range of cultural concepts that are important to the cultural history of the country and/or relevant to contemporary Japanese culture, obtain a good overview of some of the major historical events relevant to premodern Japanese culture, and hone their analytic writing skills. Prerequisites: None.
Introduction to the Religions of Japan. An introductory look at the culture, values, and history of religious traditions in Japan, covering the Japanese sense of the world physically and culturally, its native religious culture called Shinto, the imported continental traditions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, the arrival and impact of Christianity in the 16th century and the New Religions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Focus will be on how the internal structure of Buddhist and Confucian values were negotiated with long-established views of mankind and society in Japan, how Japan has been changed by these foreign notions of the individual’s place in the world, particularly Buddhism, and why many see contemporary Japan as a post-religious society. Prerequisites: None
This class provides an opportunity to read and discuss the central ideas that Nobel laureate Ōe Kenzaburō 大江健三郎 (1935–   ) has been developing across his writing career. Although we also read his essays, the focus is on his short stories and novels, beginning with early days of his writing in 1957. We will pay close attention to how his concepts have developed over time. Ōe's works are often structured around other philosophers, poets, or novelists. One basic principle of this course is to follow him in his exploration and interpretation of such individuals and so this class includes readings about and by writers who had the greatest impact on him. While there are many, they include Rabelais, Faulkner, Blake, O'Connor and Sendak. Teaching methods: This class is built around close readings of Ōe works (both in English translation and in the original Japanese), sharing our thoughts on them via online resources, and discussing them carefully in class. It is, essentially, a seminar-style class founded on substantial reading. Learning outcomes: Students will become expert in the primary works that comprise Ōe's oeuvre and the themes therein. Students will have been introduced to, or have had the opportunity to revisit, important thinkers and artists of Europe, America and Korea. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in J100A or its equivalent; or permission by the instructor.

This course deals with issues of the structure of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It focuses on phonetics/phonology, morphology, writing systems, dialects, lexicon, and syntax/semantics. Students are required to have advanced knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: 10B or equivalent.

An overview of the concepts of theoretical and contrastive linguistics which form the basis for translation between Japanese and English. By means of translating selected texts, students will acquire abilities to recognize common problems, apply methods for finding solutions, and evaluate accuracy and communicative effectiveness of translation. . Prerequisites: 100B or equivalent.

“Urami" (rancor, resentment) has an enduring presence in Japanese literature. Figures overburdened with urami become demons, vengeful ghosts or other transformed, dangerous, scheming characters. They appear in many different genre and eras. We read in translation a wide variety of lively Japanese literary texts (legends, Noh plays, ghost stories, Kabuki plays, etc.)—most quite short—from the 11th century up to the present. The course's topic enables discussion of concepts important for understanding Japanese literary works such as hyper-attentiveness to shifting social status, the role of groupness in targeting victims, the imperatives of shame, secrets, the circumscribed agency of women, and the reach of Buddhist teachings into behavioral norms. For those interested in comparative literature, the course offers an opportunity to take a measure of what Japanese narratives offer as legitimate causes of rancor, resentment and revenge. Teaching methods: While there are some lectures, most of the factual information and interpretive content is delivered outside the classroom via online lectures and assigned readings. Further, short assignments become the basis for in-class discussions. For many, this approach increases the amount of non-class time needed to do well in the course. Learning outcomes: Students will acquire knowledge of the basic theories of folklorist Hayao Kawai and psychoanalyst Takeo Doi. They will have encountered a wide range of literary prose genre from premodern Japan.  And, as the core knowledge, they will have developed a sophisticated understanding of the structure of urami as it is represented via literary narrative. Prerequisites: None.

This will be a reading course in Chinese language texts written in China and Japan, with a focus tathāgatagarbha thought as expressed in the doctrine of buddha-nature as explained in the Nirvana Sutra (5th century), its impact on the teachings and practices of the Tiantai school in China, and the way in which this evolved into Tendai Pure Land thought and practice in Japan. For the Japanese side we will focus on the Ōjōyōshū (985) of Genshin, one of the few medieval Japanese works also studied in China. 

Korean Language and Literature Courses

This course is designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of the Korean language. Students will learn the Korean alphabet and basic grammar. Prerequisites: None.

This course is designed for students who already have elementary comprehension and speaking skills in Korean and have minimum exposure to reading and/or writing in Korean. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.

This course provides an overview of pre-modern Korean literature and cultural history, from the beginning to the late nineteenth century. Readings include the works of major poets, fiction, narratives from the oral tradition, memoirs, historical documents, and some modern scholarship on pre-modern Korean social history and culture. We will also examine the visual and material culture, performance tradition, as well as modern media representation of premodern culture and tradition. This course does not assume any previous exposure to Korean language, literature, or history. All readings are in English.  Prerequisite: None.

With equal attention given to speaking, listening, reading, writing, and cultural aspects of the language, students will further develop their language skills for handling various everyday situations. Prerequisites: Korean 1B; or consent of instructor.

This is an intermediate course for students whose Korean proficiency level is higher in speaking than in reading or writing due to Korean-heritage background. Students will elaborate their language skills for handling various everyday situations. Prerequisites: Korean 1BX; or consent of instructor.

This is a third-year course in modern Korean with emphasis on acquisition of advanced vocabulary and grammatical structure. Equal attention will be given to all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Prerequisites: Korean 10B; or consent of instructor.

This is a third-year course in modern Korean with emphasis on acquisition of advanced vocabulary and grammatical structure. Prerequisites: Korean 10BX; or consent of instructor.

This is an advanced course of reading and textual literary analysis in Korean. Advanced reading and writing skills and practice in the use of standard reference tools will also be introduced. Prerequisites: Korean 100B or Korean 100BX; or consent of instructor.

This course is designed to increase the students' proficiency to advanced-high (or superior for some students) level in all aspects of Korean. Texts and materials are drawn from authentic sources in various genres. Some will be selected according to student interests. Students will write research papers based on specialized topics of their choice and present them orally in class. Prerequisites: Korean 101 or Korean 102; or consent of instructor.

This course explores the formation and development of Korean Fiction during the colonial period (1910-1945) through key canonical texts and their thematic and stylistics features.  Its post-colonial approach is designed to facilitate critical understanding of the relationship between the literary representation and the problems and contradictions of the Japanese colonial rule. Course will be conducted in Korean. Prerequisites: Korean 100A or equivalent (may be taken concurrently).

This course examines the development and transformation of Korean literature since the 1945 liberation to the present. In particular, it explores how Korean literature engaged, represented and thematized the tumultuous historical events and changes, such as literation, nation’s partition, Korean War, industrialization, democratizationetc. The course will be conducted in Korean. Prerequisites: Korean100A or equivalent (may be taken concurrently).

Mongolian Language and Literature Courses

This course is the first installment in a two-year curriculum in Mongolian language, that is, specifically, the Khalkha Mongolian dialect spoken as the standard language of Mongolia. As typical of any language class, the course regularly exercises the four language functions, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Its express purpose is to provide fundamental elements necessary to build fluency. To this end, this course covers basic grammar, phonology, the Cyrillic alphabet, core vocabulary, and basic syntax. As given by its peculiar difficulty special emphasis is placed on correct spelling. Prerequisites: None.

This course introduces students to Literary Mongolian, its phonetics, grammar, vertical writing system and its relation to living spoken language. The course is dedicated to reading texts in the Mongol vertical script. As foundation, students learn the Mongol vertical script writing system and a standard system of transcription and receive a basic introduction to Mongolian phonology and grammar. After a brief period of introduction students immerse in reading texts. Class time is devoted to reading comprehension, translation, and analysis. Although texts may be drawn to suit student interest, the standard course repertoire consists of works of Mongolian Buddhist literature and history. Prerequisites: None.

This course examines the modern history of Mongolia. Beginning with the Mongols' heritage as imperial nomads who uphold a dual custom, the Buddhist religion and the Manchu Qing dynastic state, it discusses how this order came to be threatened by, and ultimately dissolve under, political pressures imposed by governments espousing "modern" thought. The course focuses on how, navigating the political turmoil that ensued from the falls of the Russian Empire and Qing Dynasty, the Mongols were able to found a sovereign government of their own. Readings for the course are of primary sources in translation. Prerequisites: None.