Fall 2023 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.
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 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
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. Prerequisite: None.
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 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 ritual, conceptions of human nature, ethics, and to the way that varieties of Confucianism were rooted in more general theories of value.
Fall 2023: How have some of the central texts of premodern Chinese literature and thought engaged with the non-human entities—organic and inorganic, animalistic and technological, natural and factitious--that surround us as humans? To what extent do these writings depict, sometimes thoughtfully and sometimes inadvertently, such entities as possessing vitality—and even agency—and what exactly is implied, revealed, or effected by these depictions? What considerations, at various points in history and in genre-specific texts, seem to constitute the terms of distinction and contiguity between beings that are manifestly “human” and those that are not? While taking middle-period China as our core focus, we will also read selected primary texts drawn from early philosophy, anomaly tales, poetry and drama, from pre-Qin times up through the Ming-Qing transition. The course will also engage critically with the early and emerging scholarship on these and related questions. Prerequisites: Advanced reading knowledge in classical Chinese; and graduate standing or permission of the instructor.
Fall 2023: Course description coming soon
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.
We concentrate on three interconnected issues: women’s status, homoeroticism, and the human body. Our discussion will be informed by cross-cultural comparisons with ancient Greece, Renaissance England, and Contemporary America. In contrast to our modern regime of sexuality, which collapses all the three aforementioned issues into the issues of desire and identity intrinsicto the body, we will see how the early Chinese regime of sexual act evolved into the early modern regime of emotion that concerned less inherent identities than a media culture of life-style performance.
Higher Learning begins with the study of heaven. As the source of orientation in space and time, heaven provides humanity the foundation for its knowledge and political order. To understand what knowledge is or how politics function, we need a basic understanding of the ways of heaven. This course examines the function heaven serves in the founding of order against the void in nature through the formation of conventional systems of time and space and the role heaven has played in the promulgation of governments. From a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspective that covers the course of Eurasian history and using primary sources in translation, we will see heaven unfold through the developments that leave us with the world we know today.
Fall 2023: The course explores how horror cinema unsettles the integrity of the human body by rearticulating the relations between viewers and the screen; the spectacle and the networked; the spectral and the virtual. We will raise questions about the body’s subjection to forms of gendered, racist, and class-based violence: how do different forms of horror encode histories of violence and oppression within bodies? How do we interpret and contextualize this “body language” within its representative history, in cinema and other media forms? We will think through these questions by reading and viewing recent works in the horror genre as well as a rich tradition of film criticism as it intersects with developments in affect studies, performance studies, and queer theory. Film screenings will include works by established auteurs and emerging directors from world cinema.
“It may be easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism,” goes the well-known phrase attributed to Fredric Jameson, and with irreversible climate change, we are racing blindly toward the end of the world as we know it. Tracing the origins and onset of the industrial era in the late 19th century, this seminar couples scholarly/theoretical insights on the many aspects of what has come to be called the “Anthropocene” (climate change, fossil capital, natural/social disaster, ecological racism, waste colonialism, viral pandemics, vegetarianism, animal liberation, blue humanities, degrowth communism, cyborgian and/or posthuman subjectivity) with creative works of fiction exploring the ecological metabolism between humans and their natural or built environments across China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Oceania, and Asian America. All readings will be available in English translation, though participants are encouraged to read primary sources in the original languages corresponding to their area(s) of expertise. Requirements: in-class presentation; final seminar paper.
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 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 10B.
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.
The course will cover nearly one thousand years of Japanese travel poetry and poetic prose, from the verses of envoys to Silla in 736 to the late seventeenth century haibun of Bashô. It will also introduce travel poetry in the major waka imperial anthologies, michiyukibun, and travel poetry and prose in Tosa nikki. All works will be read in classical Japanese. The course requires J120 Introduction to Classical Japanese or consent of the instructor. It is meant to be a literature class, but one predicated on the close reading of texts, which in turn requires continued attention to aspects of language and grammar, by definition. We will read the texts with equal attention to what they say and how they say.
This course is an introduction to Japanese modernism through the reading and discussion of representative short stories, poetry, and criticism of the Taisho and early Showa periods. We will examine the aesthetic bases of modernist writing and confront the challenge posed by their use of poetic language. The question of literary form and the relationship between poetry and prose in the works will receive special attention. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A (may be taken concurrently).
This course deals with issues of the usage of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It concentrates on pragmatics, modality/evidentiality, deixis, speech varieties (politeness, gender, written vs. spoken), conversation management, and rhetorical structure. Students are required to have intermediate knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: Japan 10, Japan 10B, or Japan 10X; or consent of instructor.
Readings and critical evaluation of selected texts in prewar (1868-1940) Japanese fiction, drama, or poetry. Prerequisites: Graduate standing; or consent of instructor.
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. Prerequisites: None.
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.
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 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.
Mongolian Language and Literature Courses
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.
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.