Fall 2020 Course Descriptions

Chinese Language and Literature Courses

The 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.

The 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 continues to focus on training students in the four language skills--speaking, listening, reading, and writing with a gradually increasing emphasis on basic cultural readings and developing intercultural competence. Prerequisites: Chinese 1A.  

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 inmeaningful 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.

The 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.

Elementary Cantonese 3A is designed for non-Chinese heritage learners with no prior knowledge of Cantonese, a regional variety of Chinese, introducing students to its use through oral, written and visual texts related to daily life. Topics include meeting people, shopping, leisure activities, telling the time, discussing daily routines, describing people and family members, and transportation, and students will compose texts in Cantonese that show the relationship between language and culture. Finally, the course develops students’ awareness of socio-culturally situated language use and their ability to compare and negotiate similarities and differences between the target culture and their own culture.

This course is designed for native and heritage Mandarin speakers. These students share the knowledge of standard Chinese writing system with Cantonese speakers. They have an interest in speaking Cantonese and learning a Chinese subculture shared among Cantonese speakers. This course will introduce students to its use through oral, written and visual texts related to daily life. Topics include meeting people, shopping, leisure activities, telling the time, discussing daily routines, describing people and family members, transportation, and students will compose texts in Cantonese. Students will focus on vocabulary, linguistic knowledge, culture through expression analysis, and practical use of language. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.

The first in a two-semester sequence, introducing students to Chinese literature in translation. In addition to literary sources, a wide range of philosophical and historical texts will be covered, as well as aspects of visual and material culture. 7A covers early China through late medieval China, up to and including the Yuan Dynasty (14th century); the course will also focus on the development of sound writing.

The 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.

The course further develops students’ linguistic and cultural competence. In dealing with texts, students are guided to interpret, narrate, describe, and discuss topics ranging from real-life experience and personal memoir to historic events. Intercultural competence is promoted through linguistic and cultural awareness and language use in culturally appropriate contexts. Prerequisites: Chinese 10A; or consent of instructor.

The course continues to develop students’ literacy and communicative competence through vocabulary and structure expansion dealing with topics related to Chinese heritage students’ personal experiences. Students are guided to express themselves on complex issues and to connect their language knowledge with real world experiences. Prerequisites: Chinese 1X; or consent of instructor.

This course examines the complex worldviews of China’s Han period, the centuries that follow its unification and the establishment of its empire. The momentous changes of this period shaped traditional and contemporary views of history and society, philosophy, and religion, and as a result are still relevant today. This course will look at Han “thought,” a word chosen for its range, including religion, state ritual, social conventions, moral philosophy, and thinking about the natural world. It covers both elite and popular culture, and pays particular attention to two works of the second century B.C.E.: the Shiji (i.e., Records of the Historian) or the Huainanzi.

The 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. 

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.

The 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.

The first half of a one-year introductory course in literary Chinese, introducing key features of grammar, syntax, and usage, along with the intensive study of a set of readings in the language. Readings are drawn from a variety of pre-Han and Han-Dynasty sources. Prerequisites: Chinese 10, 10B, 10X, or 10Y is recommended but not required.

Chinese 111 is a fast-paced reading course.  It improves students’ abilities with advanced Chinese forms to read, discuss, and write in a wide range of subjects. Students learn to identify and explain the classical Chinese expressions used in the texts and compare them to their modern counterparts. The texts cover multiple areas of Chinese culture, including history, society, economics, politics, rite of etiquette, philosophy, law and traditional orders, literature and language, and so on. Students are given plenty of room to relate issues learned from the texts to current real situations in China. Prerequisites: Chinese 101 or Chinese 102; and consent of instructor.

This course is an introduction to the study of medieval Buddhist literature written in classical Chinese. We will read samples from a variety of genres, including early Chinese translations of Sanskrit and Central Asian Buddhist scriptures, indigenous Chinese commentaries, philosophical treatises, and sectarian works, including Chan (Zen koans). The course will also serve as an introduction to resource materials used in the study of Chinese Buddhist texts, and students will be expected to make use of a variety of reference tools in preparation for class. Readings in Chinese will be supplemented by a range of secondary readings in English on Mahayana doctrine and Chinese Buddhist history. 

Fall 2020: In addition to classical Buddhist genres, we will also read samples from a variety of literary genres, including poetry, prose, transformation text, precious scroll, fiction, and drama, from the medieval to late imperial periods. We will also discuss texts that debate the relationship among the “three teachings” (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism) in China. Prerequisites: One semester of Classical Chinese or equivalent.

This course explores popular, realist, and avant-garde literature from mainland China and Taiwan since 1949. We will consider how writers have engaged with the cultural dislocations of modernity by exploring questions such as the presentation of cultural and gender identities and the politics of memory and place. Central to our discussion will be the problem of how literature not only reflects but also critically engages with historical and cultural experience through a variety of genres. A crucial aspect of this course will be the development of skills in close, critical, and historically contextualized reading. Prerequisites: Chinese 100A or Chinese 100XA (may be taken concurrently).

In this seminar, we will examine how prose writing--particularly regarding travel, place and space--emerged as an effective vehicle for lyric expression for some of the most accomplished poets of this period. What accounted for this development? Why was the theme of travel particularly hospitable to the lyricization of prose writing, and, conversely, why would a poet choose prose over poetry as the mode of self-expression in this context? Among the issues to be considered are the shifting views of exile and travel, the complex interaction between representations of topography and history, the play of the senses and literary history in self expression, and the mechanisms driving genre-bending during this period. Prerequisites: graduate standing (or permission of the instructor), and a good command of literary Chinese.

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 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? 

This course aims to provide pedagogical training for teaching East Asian languages as second/foreign language. It involves critical reading and discussion of major pedagogical principles and issues in teaching Asian languages as second languages, with emphasis on the following topics: Topics include lesson planning, classroom observation, peer teaching, classroom activities, self- and peer evaluations, and best practices in teaching. The focus of this course is on teaching theory, methodology, curriculum and lesson plan design, focusing on the teaching of Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

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.

This course is an overview of Japanese literature and culture, 7th- through 18th-centuries. 7A begins with Japan's early myth-history and its first poetry anthology, which show the transition from a preliterate, communal society to a courtly culture. Noblewomen's diaries, poetry anthologies, and selections from the Tale of Genji offer a window into that culture. We examine how oral culture and high literary art mix in Kamakura period tales and explore representations of heroism in military chronicles and medieval Noh drama. After considering the linked verse of late medieval times, we read vernacular literature from the urban culture of the Edo period. No previous course work in Japanese literature, history, or language is expected.

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 willlearn 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: Japan 1 or Japan 1B.

This course is intended to train students who wish to acquire reading fluency in the Japanese language in a short time period and therefore dispenses with all components not germane to that goal. Prior knowledge of fundamental first-year grammar and vocabulary is required as this course will start at the second-year level and run parallel with our full-language second-year courses, covering the same reading materials as used in J10A-B. The course will be conducted in English and students’ comprehension will be examined and analyzed in terms of Japanese-to-English translation. By completion of J10RB, students will be functional readers of Japanese for general purposes. Prerequisites: Japanese 1B or equivalent.

The goal of this course is for the students to understand the more advanced language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; pop-culture, traditional arts, education, convenient stores, haiku, and history. Through the final project, students will learn how to introduce their own cultures and their influences. In order to achieve these goals, students will learn how to integrate the basic structures and vocabulary they acquired in the previous semesters, as well as study new linguistic expressions. An increasing amount of more advanced reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. Prerequisites: Japan 10A; or 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: Japan 10 or Japan 10B.

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. 

An introduction to classical Japanese (bungo), the premodern vernacular, which was used as Japan's literary language until well into the 20th century and remains essential for a thorough grounding in Japanese literature and culture. Prerequisites: Japanese 10 or Japanese 10B.

This course examines the historical production and reception of key Japanese literary and film texts; how issues of gender, ethnicity, social roles, and national identity specific to each text address changing economic and social conditions in postwar Japan. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A (may be taken concurrently).

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, historical changes, and genetic origins. Students are required to have intermediate knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: Japan 10, Japan 10B or Japan 10X.

An overview of the concepts of theoretical, contrastive, and practical linguistics which form the basis for work in translation between Japanese and English through hands-on experience. Topics include translatability, various kinds of meaning, analysis of the text, process of translating, translation techniques, and theoretical background. Prerequisites: Japanese 100, Japanese 100B, or Japanese 100X; or equivalent.

No prerequisites. No knowledge of Japan required. Japan 173 explores aspects of Japanese short narratives told through a variety of media: traditional short stories, lyrics, animation, and manga. The narratives to be read, listened to, or viewed for the the course are selected by the students. After an initial class segment of aspects narratives aspects, the remaining ten weeks of the term are spent presenting and discussing ten short narratives.

This year's seminar will examine the formation of the major Buddhist traditions in Japan from the seventh through twentieth centuries. There will be reviews of the premodern and modern source material, both in their original linguistic form (Japanese and Chinese) and in terms of Western-language scholarship, but the required readings for the course will be entirely in English. Class discussions will focus on how the authority of traditions were established, legitimated, and defined in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern/postmodern periods. The nature of Buddhist Studies scholarship in modern Japan and its relationship to these traditional forms of faith, study, practice, and sectarianism will also be included. The readings will proceed chronologically, and each student will be expected to pick, in consultation with the instructor, a week (or two, depending on enrollment) in which s/he will present on that week’s readings.

Korean Language and Literature Courses

This course is designed for non-heritage students who have absolutely no prior knowledge of the Korean language. Students will learn written and spoken Korean on self-related and day-to-day topics, and present information both in oral and written forms using formulaic and memorized expressions. They will also engage in simple conversational exchanges on a variety of daily topics.

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.

A survey of pre-modern Korean literature and culture from the seventh century to the 19th century, focusing on the relation between literary texts and various aspects of performance tradition. Topics include literati culture, gender relations, humor, and material culture. Texts to be examined include ritual songs, sijo, kasa, p'ansori, prose narratives, art, and contemporary media representation of performance traditions. All readings are in English.

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.

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 for students wanting to acquire high-advanced and superior level Korean proficiency in Korean business settings through the nuances of job-related communication and cultural expectations. Students master appropriate workplace terminology, expressions, and professional style spoken and written form. They complete job a search, plan a new product, present and negotiate the product status, and finally present the product externally. In addition, this course will cover Korean job culture topics such as work ethics and relationships. Upon completion, students can expect to be able to more confidently navigate a job search, application process, interview, job acceptance, and common situations in a professional Korean setting. 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 introduces various critical approaches to modern Korean literature through a set of texts in English translation. Readings will include an assortment of works of fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and visual media. Emphasis is on close reading of texts and literary approaches to them.

Mongolian Language and Literature Courses

Tibetan Language and Literature Courses

Tibetan Buddhists view the moment of death as a rare opportunity for transformation. This course examines how Tibetans have used death and dying in the path to enlightenment. Readings will address how Tibetan funerary rituals work to assist the dying toward this end, and how Buddhist practitioners prepare for this crucial moment through tantric meditation, imaginative rehearsals, and explorations of the dream state.


This seminar provides an introduction to a broad range of Tibetan Buddhist texts, including chronicles and histories, biographical literature, doctrinal treatises, canonical texts, ritual manuals, pilgrimage guides, and liturgical texts. It is intended for graduate students interested in premodern Tibet from any perspective. Students are required to do all of the readings in the original classical Tibetan. It will also serve as a tools and methods for the study of Tibetan Buddhist literature, including standard lexical and bibliographic references, digital resources, and secondary literature in modern languages. The content of the course will vary from semester to semester to account for the needs and interests of particular students.