East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses
This class will aim to move our understanding of the modern gothic beyond horror, while also situating it within its social context as a genre deeply enmeshed in the issues and anxieties of its moment within contemporary Japanese society.
This course examines varying portrayals and interpretations of “Confucius” (Kongzi 孔子) and Confucian traditions from the late nineteenth century through to the present. Materials considered will include philosophical and religious writings as well as films, self-help books, and accounts of popular practices. No prior knowledge of Confucian traditions or of Chinese is required. As an R1B course, this class also emphasizes building reading and writing skills.
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This course will discuss the social, economic, and cultural aspects of Buddhism as it moved along the ancient Eurasian trading network referred to as the “Silk Road”. Instead of relying solely on textual sources, the course will focus on material culture as it offers evidence concerning the spread of Buddhism. Through an examination of the Buddhist archaeological remains of the Silk Road, the course will address specific topics, such as the symbiotic relationship between Buddhism and commerce; doctrinal divergence; ideological shifts in the iconography of the Buddha; patronage (royal, religious and lay); Buddhism and political power; and art and conversion.
A study of the Buddhist tradition as it is found today in Asia. The course will focus on specific living traditions of East, South, and/or Southeast Asia. Themes to be addressed may include contemporary Buddhist ritual practices; funerary and mortuary customs; the relationship between Buddhism and other local religious traditions; the relationship between Buddhist institutions and the state; Buddhist monasticism and its relationship to the laity; Buddhist ethics; Buddhist "modernism," and so on.
This course studies the purview of astral science under Buddhist dominion. Here it is at once promoted for promulgating Buddhist world order and repudiated for begetting the suffering-inducing physical universe, a warped vessel of ceaselessly turning stars that the Buddhist dharma must transcend. The course begins with the part astral science plays in genesis, the creation of Buddhist world order. It then covers the science’s central aspects, celestial systems, spatial orientation, time reckoning, the making of a calendar, and publication of an almanac. Thereafter, it treats the science’s outgrowth into interrelated forms of Buddhist propaganda manifest as divination, magic, medicine, ritual, scripture, and iconography.
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.