Fall 2016 Course Descriptions
Chinese Language and Literature Courses
This course is designed for students who are of non-Chinese origin and were not raised in a Chinese-speaking environment; or who are of Chinese origin but do not speak Chinese and whose parents do not speak Chinese. The course develops beginning learners’ functional language ability—the ability to use Mandarin Chinese in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways at the beginning level. It helps students acquire communicative competence in Chinese while sensitizing them to the links between language and culture. Prerequisites: None.
This course is designed specifically for Mandarin heritage students who possess speaking skill but little or no reading and writing skills in Chinese. The course utilizes students’ prior knowledge of listening and speaking skills to advance them to the intermediate Chinese proficiency level in one semester. Close attention is paid to meeting Mandarin heritage students’ literacy needs in meaningful contexts while introducing a functional vocabulary and a systematic review of structures through culturally related topics. The Hanyu Pinyin (a Chinese Romanization system) and traditional/simplified characters are introduced. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
This course is designed for students who have had exposure to a non-Mandarin Chinese dialect but cannot speak Mandarin and possess little or no reading and writing skills in Chinese. The course helps students gain a fundamental knowledge about Mandarin Chinese and explore their Chinese heritage culture through language. Students learn ways and discourse strategies to express themselves and develop their linguistic and cultural awareness in order to function appropriately in Mandarin-speaking environments. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Chinese 7A is the first semester in a year-long sequence introducing students to the literature and culture of China, from the beginnings of Chinese civilization through the Song dynasty (960-1279). Reading all works in English translation, we will pay particular attention to the rich tradition of thought and debate in China about the function and essential nature of language, writing, and poetry; and we will explore the evolving conceptions of representation that helped shape how literary works were produced, circulated, and interpreted. As students become acquainted with major authors and works of this long, formative period of Chinese history, they will have the opportunity to develop the reading, writing, and speaking skills needed to engage critically and imaginatively with questions raised by those works. Prerequisites: None. No previous knowledge of Chinese literature, culture, or history is expected or assumed. All readings are presented in English translation. Students conversant in Classical Chinese are encouraged to read original texts whenever possible.
This course is designed for students who are of non-Chinese origin and were not raised in a Chinese-speaking environment, or who are of Chinese origin but do not speak Chinese and whose parents do not speak Chinese. The course deals with lengthy conversations as well as narrative and descriptive texts in both simplified and traditional characters. It helps students to express themselves in speaking and writing on a range of topics and raises their awareness of the connection between language and culture to foster the development of communicative competence. Prerequisites: Chinese 1 or Chinese 1B; or consent of instructor.
This course takes students to a higher level of competence in Chinese language and culture and develops students’ critical linguistic and cultural awareness. It surveys social issues and values on more abstract topics in a changing China. Through the development of discourse and cultural knowledge in spoken and written Chinese, students learn to interpret subtle textual meanings in texts and contexts as well as reflect on the world and themselves and express themselves using a variety of genres. Prerequisites: Chinese 10 or Chinese 10B; or consent of instructor.
This course advances students’ linguistic and cultural competence through the development of critical literacy skills. It guides students to become more sophisticated language users equipped with linguistic, pragmatic, and textual knowledge in discussions, reading, writing, and translation. Students reflect on the world and themselves through the lens of the target language and culture and become more competent in operating between English and Chinese and between American culture and Chinese culture. Students learn to recognize a second version of Chinese characters. Prerequisites: Chinese 10X; or consent of instructor.
This course helps Chinese heritage language learners with a dialect background to further develop their Chinese language competence. More sophisticated linguistic forms are used with various socio-cultural topics. Close reading knowledge and skills, formal and informal registers, discourses in speaking and writing, and different genres of Chinese reading and writing are introduced and practiced. Students learn to recognize a second version of Chinese characters. Prerequisites: Chinese 10Y; or consent of instructor.
This course is designed to further develop students’ advanced-mid level language proficiency and intercultural competence. It uses authentic readings on Chinese social, political, and journalistic issues, supplemented by newspaper articles. To develop students’ self-learning abilities and help them to link the target language to their real world experience, students’ agency in learning is promoted through critical reading and rewriting and through comparing linguistic and cultural differences. Prerequisites: Chinese 100B or Chinese 100XB; or consent of instructor.
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.
This fast-paced course improves students’ abilities to use advanced language forms to read and discuss a wide range of abstract subjects and issues. This includes literature, philosophy, law, economics, history, cross-Strait relations, geography, and movie criticism. The course also develops students’ ability to read articles that contain both formal and informal and modern and classic Chinese usages. Students learn to identify and explain the classical Chinese allusions used in the articles and compare them to their modern counterparts. Students use the Chinese language in their fields of study and are directed to write a professional paper in their academic field. Prerequisites: Chinese 101 or Chinese 102; or consent of instructor.
This course will introduce students to the development of Daoism, China's indigenous philosophical and religious tradition. We will look at texts that are central to the doctrines, concepts, and practices of the Daoist tradition, and will also read poetry, fiction, and historical writing from all periods of Chinese history to understand the impact of Daoism on Chinese culture as a whole. The course will conclude with a discussion of the reception of Daoism in contemporary American society. Because the course will emphasize cultural and historical context, we will also frequently refer to other traditions in Chinese history such as Buddhism and Confucianism, as well as to political and social history. Prerequisites: None.
This course discusses Taiwan’s social and cultural transformation throughout its history of colonization, economic development, and democratization. Students are expected to gain a better understanding of Taiwanese history, literature, and culture, new skills in the reading and analysis of textual and cultural artifacts, and the ability to rethink colonialism, nationalism, and resistance in the era of globalization. Prerequisites: Chinese 100A/100XA (may be taken concurrently); or consent of instructor.
Modern Chinese literature was, from the very start, a revolutionary project. In reinventing the Chinese language, 20th century writers such as Lu Xun attempted to fundamentally rewrite Chinese social and political realities. It was also a pedagogical project: instructing readers not only about how to be "Chinese" in a time of imperial incursion and political turmoil, but how to be "modern" in all aspects of their lives, from growing up, to falling in love, to changing the world, to dying. To a shocking degree, the project succeeded. In this course, we will explore the historical world out of which modern Chinese literature emerged; and how this linguistic revolution helped to produce modern China, focusing in particular on the problems of gender, youth, and social marginality. We will read short stories and essays in Chinese by many of the greatest writers and public intellectuals of the twentieth century, including Lu Xun, Shen Congwen, Ding Ling, and Eileen Chang. We will also watch and analyze a select group of cinematic masterworks from the same period. We will conclude the semester with a set of stories and films produced in the aftermath of war and the communist revolution of 1949 that reveal the continuing resonance, as well as showing the tragic limits of this project's utopian aspirations, and perhaps even questioning the coherence of "China" and "Chineseness" as its organizing principle. Prerequisites: Much of the reading in the course will be in the original Chinese texts. Good reading knowledge of modern Chinese, or at the very least, concurrent enrollment in Chinese 100B is thus a requirement for admission to the course. Prior college level work in literature is also helpful.
Chinese 172: Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema: "The 'New Wave' and Contemporary Chinese Film Auteurs"
This course introduces Chinese film auteurs since the late 1970s across the geopolitical divides between Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will focus on individual film auteurs (Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wong Kar Wai, etc.) situated in distinct “new wave” movements in these three different regions, each in conversation with the global “new wave” cinema while engaging their respective political and cultural history. The class will combine inquiries of film style with pressing political and social issues facing contemporary Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Introducing major scholarship on contemporary Chinese language cinema, this class will investigate the assumptions and validity of the notion of “film auteur” as well as notions of New Wave cinema based on a European, particularly French model. We will end with a turn to popular cinema, by looking at how issues of genre and auteur suggest new possibilities of negotiations with the force of Hollywood and globalization. Prerequisites: None.
This course examines the development of Confucianism in pre-modern China using a dialogical model that emphasizes its interactions with competing viewpoints. Particular attention will be paid to issues of ritual, human nature and morality, stressing the way that varieties of Confucianism were rooted in more general theories of value. Prerequisites: None.
This course examines gui 鬼 from early accounts like the Mozi 墨子 and Shanghai Museum bamboo slip texts “Guishen zhi ming” 鬼神之明 and “Fan wu liu xing” 凡物流形, through Han period ritual works, protective talismans and gui-quelling texts, and Wang Chong’s 王充 famous critique of the idea that gui have consciousness. What is the relationship between gui and other denizens of the spirit world? When do gui play the role of divine punishers of bad actions, when do they provide assurance of postmortem continuity, and are there other religious, cultural or psychological functions they fulfilled in Early China? As we read these texts we will also pay attention to contemporaneous accounts of demons in Europe, and also draw comparisons to later portrayals of gui in East Asia. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and reading knowledge of Chinese.
Du Fu 杜甫 (712–770) was virtually unknown as a poet during his own lifetime, only gradually gaining reputation during the final century of so of the Tang dynasty. From the consolidation of his reputation during the eleventh onward, however, he gained the status of an emblem of the entire project of poetic writing: implicitly or explicitly, his iconic status in regard to the tradition of classical poetry was likened to the status of Confucius in relation to the legacy of the classics themselves. From our perspective, this makes Du Fu a very productive focal point for exploring the world of poetic writing and poetic criticism from the late Tang through Qing dynasties. The commentarial and critical tradition, as well as the tradition of composition of imitations and response texts, is of unparalleled richness, encompassing both some of the most sophisticated reflections on the historicity of expression and understanding as well as a vast array of middle- and low-brow “how-to” texts. The readings will be arranged in broadly chronological fashion, though the aim of the course is less to document the twists and turns of a history of reception than it is to gain conversancy with the multifarious kinds of reading and writing that formed around this iconic literary collection. Along the way we may also expect to enrich our own conceptual and technical resources for reading and responding to Du Fu’s work.
Chinese 280: Modern Chinese Cultural Studies: "Close Reading, Critical Listening, Thinking Far Away"
This seminar will take the form of a workshop in the close reading of literary, musical, and cinematic texts. In particular, we will track specific formal qualities and their aesthetic effects across divergent media (print, recorded sound, and cinema) with an eye toward examining what makes for medium specificity, and what does or does not translate across divergent artistic practices and platforms. The qualities we will consider may include color, tone, and timbre; meter and rhythm; composition (plot, melody, motif); duration and brevity; volume and intensity; texture; and space. Through matched methodological and theoretical readings, we will work to develop, deepen, and refine our critical vocabulary. How can we approach these texts more closely, describe them accurately and vividly, and write about them with style, subtlety, and insight? Primary texts, driven in large part by student interests, will include a wide variety of fiction, poetry, films, and sound recordings from modern and contemporary China and Taiwan. While the seminar will not focus on any one particular period, thematic question, or theoretical tendency, we will explore the extent to which an insistent, proximate, and supple attention to form might open up new methodological possibilities, enable productive dialogue between literary, sound, and cinema studies, and enlarge our sense of the complexity of historical moment out of which the texts emerged. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or the approval of the instructor.
East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses
This is an introduction to the history, philosophy, ritual, visual culture, and social institutions of Buddhism across Asia. Rather than being a survey, the course is designed around key themes such as the cultural background from which Buddhism emerged, early Buddhist doctrine, monasticism, ritual and image veneration, meditation and mysticism, and death. The course will begin in South Asia and move east to Southeast Asia, China, Tibet, and Japan, at the same time as we move (in a meandering fashion) from ancient times down to the present day. Readings cover a wide variety of primary and secondary materials, including contemporary novels, and we will make use of documentary films and videos. Prerequisites: None.
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. All readings will be in English. Prerequisites: None.
Archaeology of East Asia. The goal of this course is to provide a general picture of prehistoric and protohistoric archaeology in China, Japan and Korea. The course will emphasize the differences and similarities in archaeological studies between East Asia and North America. It will also consider the role of archaeology in East Asian societies today, and discuss how archaeological interpretations have been affected by the social and political contexts in these countries. Topics to be emphasized include changes in subsistence-settlement systems, origins and dispersal of food production, the development of social complexity, and the formation of state. Prerequisites: None.
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.
The instructors will be joined by Visiting Scholar Jan Nattier, and there will be an intensive weekend workshop with Jan at some point in the semester. The course may be taken for 2 or 4 credits.
Japanese Language and Literature Courses
Japanese 1A is designed to develop basic Japanese language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will learn the Japanese writing system: hiragana, katakana and approximately 150 kanji. At the end of the course, students should be able to greet, invite, compare, and describe persons and things, activities, intensions, ability, experience, purposes, reasons, and wishes. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework and class participation. Prerequisites: None.
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.
The goal of this course is for the students to understand the language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; geography, speech style, technology, sports, food, and religion. Through the final project, students will learn how to discuss social issues and their potential solutions. In order to achieve these goals, students will learn how to integrate the basic linguistics knowledge they acquired in J1, as well as study new structures and vocabulary. An increasing amount of reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. prerequisites: Japanese 1 or 1B; or consent of instructor.
This course is designed specifically for heritage learners who possess high fluency in casual spoken Japanese but little reading and writing abilities. It introduces formal speech styles, reinforces grammatical accuracy, and improves reading and writing competencies through materials derived from various textual genres. Students will acquire the amounts of vocabulary, grammar, and kanji equivalent to those of Japan 10A and Japan 10B. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
This course will develop further context-specific skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It concentrates on students using acquired grammar and vocabulary with more confidence in order to express functional meanings, while increasing overall linguistic competence. Students will learn approximately 200 new Kanji. There will be a group or individual project. Course materials include the textbook supplemented by newspapers, magazine articles, short stories, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japanese 10 or 10B; or consent of instructor.
This course provides students an opportunity to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, thereby enabling them to express their points of view and to engage in argumentative discourse. In addition to Japanese literature, readings include academic essays and other texts, which provide a variety of writing styles and serve as sources for classroom discussion. Also, Japanese films are used for various activities in order to broaden students’ cultural awareness and knowledge of Japanese society. Prerequisites: Japan 100, 100B, or 100X; or consent of instructor.
Japanese 120 is an introduction to classical Japanese, defined as the native literary language of the ninth to the fourteenth centuries. Four texts are read in whole or in part: 1) Hôjôki 2) Heike monogatari 3) Tsurezuregusa, and 4) Taketori monogatari. The emphasis is on grammatical explication and translation of the texts into English. Most class meetings are devoted to the reading of the assigned texts. Students read the text aloud, answer questions regarding grammar, and translate into English. Prerequisites: Japanese 10B or equivalent; or consent of instructor.
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. In particular, Ōe's son is disabled in a way that limits his verbal communicative skills. Ōe explores this through narratives that question the possibility of developing a truthful or accurate understanding of the private thoughts of those one loves. 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.
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, etc.), most quite short, from the 11th century up to the present. The course's topic enables discussion on 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 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 sophisticated understanding of the structure of urami as it is represented via literary narrative. Prerequisites: None.
The course considers the different literary, social and ethical formations that arise or are destroyed in disaster. It explores how Japanese literature and media, before and after 3:11, attempt to translate the un-representable, and in so doing, to create a new type of literacy about 1) trauma and the temporality of disaster, 2) precarity, community and the public sphere and 3) sustainability and ecological scale. The course will pay particular attention to a range of works that explicitly or obliquely reframe iconic or popular representations of disasters in cinema, literature and other media, taking into account of the readiness with which certain cultural forms lend themselves to vistas of disaster. Prerequisites: None.
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 1 or 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 10 or 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 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 and 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).
This course examines the formation and transformation of Cold War system and culture in South Korea in the 20th century. It pays close attention to representations of the Korean War, its aftermaths and the division system in literature and cinema of South Korea. It explores the complex socio-cultural issues related to the Cold War system which structures and conditions the cultural production and practices. The course helps students to develop critical understanding towards the cultural repercussions of the bipolar global order in both Koreas. All readings are in English. Prerequisites: None.
Mongolian Language and Literature Courses
This course is the first in a two-year curriculum in Khalkha Mongolian, the standard language of Mongolia. As is common to language study at any level, it exercises the four basic language functions, speaking, listening, reading, and writing. As a course for beginners, it introduces students to the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet, Mongolian phonology, and grammar. As given by the inherent difficulties to the Mongolian system, special emphasis is paid to 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 emphasizes reading texts in the Mongol vertical script. As foundation, students receive a basic introduction to Mongolian phonology and grammar as well as learn the Mongol vertical script writing system and a standard system of transcription. 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 will consist of works of Mongolian Buddhist literature and history. Prerequisites: None.
Tibetan Language and Literature Courses
A beginning Tibetan class developing basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern Tibetan (Lhasa dialect). The course also helps students begin to acquire competence in relevant Tibetan cultural issues. Prerequisites: None.
This course is an intensive introduction to reading literary Tibetan literature. Following an introduction to basic grammar, the course moves quickly into selected readings from Buddhist texts in Tibetan. It typically builds on basic skills acquired in 1A-1B (elementary Tibetan), though with consent it may be taken independently.
In this class we will explore 1) traditional Tibetan Buddhism in a village setting; 2) classical formulations of Buddhist philosophy and contemplation; and 3) educational practices in the Tibetan equivalent to elite universities; and 4) the Dalai Lama's efforts to forge a Buddhist-inspired modern Tibetan society and current events in Tibet. This class has a strong anthropological emphasis and explores the doctrines and rituals as they are found "on the ground" in actual Tibetan Buddhist communities. Guiding questions of the class are: How does the doctrine of karma influence social organization and personal behavior in Tibet? In what ways do villagers and monastics resist Buddhist dictates on their behavior? What is the role of the lama in Tibetan society? What are the ideals and practices of Buddhist education in Tibetan monasteries? What are some contemporary leaders of Tibetan Buddhism doing to adapt the religion to the "modern age?" Furthermore, the class will also look closely at the current wave religious nationalism in Tibet, including the wave of self-immolations that began in 2011 and continues to this day. Prerequisites: None.
For over a hundred years, the political status of Tibet has commanded a level of attention on the international stage – and within China – seemingly disproportionate to the size of its population and economy, and in spite of its reputation as a remote periphery. This course will examine the historical, cultural, and economic assumptions underlying contemporary discourses of Tibetan politics, and relate them to discourses of global power and peripheries more generally. Grounding discussion in primary sources and critical works from across regions and disciplines, we will examine the roots of current conflict and the ways in which contending Buddhist, nationalist and internationalist projects have contributed to the making of modern Tibet.
This seminar will explore what the Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang can tell us about tantric Buddhism in India around the eighth century C.E. For this reason, our focus will be on those manuscripts containing texts that are likely based on translations from Indic sādhanas. Readings will focus on the original manuscripts, beginning with the Yoga-tantra system of the Saravatathāgata-tattvasaṃgraha, then move on to the Mahāyoga systems of the Guhyagarbha- and Guhyasamāja- tantras. These primary sources will be supplemented by secondary readings of western scholarship on these same ritual systems. Attention will also be paid to how Tibetans assimilated these systems in the ninth and tenth centuries. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of instructor.