Spring 2006 Course Descriptions

Buddhism Literature Courses

This course is a broad introduction to the history, doctrine, and culture of the Buddhism of Tibet. We will begin with the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century, and move on to the evolution of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhist literature, ritual and monastic practice, the place of Buddhism in Tibetan political history, and the contemporary situation of Tibetan Buddhism both inside and outside of Tibet. Prerequisites: None.

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. Prerequisites: None.

This course is an intensive introduction to the history, doctrine, and monastic culture of Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen Buddhism in the light of modern scholarship. We will focus on the interrelationships between Chan and Zen philosophy, ritual, literature, institutional structure, and meditative practice. Our approach will be multidisciplinary, drawing from anthropology, history, philosophy, and literary hermeneutics, and we will use a wide range of primary and secondary readings as well as visual resources. Prerequisites: None.

This seminar offers an advanced introduction to Tibetan Buddhist history by exploring in detail the development of the culture and religions of Tibet from the ancient empire to relations with China. Emphasis will be on significant facets of Tibet's cultural heritage, including religion, literature, history, and politics. The course will also examine the varied academic approaches that scholars have taken in their attempts to understand and interpret Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. With this particular goal in mind we will focus thoroughly and critically on three important recent scholarly works in the field of Tibetan Studies. Throughout the course each of these works will be supplemented with additional readings that should help to illuminate and/or nuance the relevant issues and topics addressed. The course will run on a seminar format with active and in-depth discussion of readings and intensive individual writing projects. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor required.

Chinese Language and Literature Courses

A continuation of Chinese 1A, Chinese 1B provides elementary training in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Modern Standard Chinese. It is designed to help you learn enough Chinese to enable you to handle your needs adequately in Chinese-speaking places or communities. Building upon Chinese 1A, Chinese 1B will further introduce a core vocabulary and fundamental structures. You will be able to describe person/thing/event/place/time/feeling, describe and comment on food, provide and obtain information about borrowing/renting and returning, ask for and give directions, accept and reject invitations, describe health problems and give advice, and compare different places, sports, and prices. You will learn how to understand Chinese well enough to carry out routine tasks and engage in simple conversations. In addition to further mastering the Pinyin Romanization system, you will learn how to read and write 320 new Chinese characters and compounds derived from combining these characters, as well as read and write short messages, postcards, simple notes, and short descriptions. You will also learn about some aspects of Chinese culture. Prerequisites: Chinese 1A; or consent of instructor.

Please note: Chinese 1B is not open to native speakers of any Chinese dialect

Second semester of Elementary Chinese for heritage students. The course teaches both pinyin and traditional characters, introduces functional vocabulary, and provides a systematic review of grammar. The class meets three times a week, one hour a day. If you have not taken Chinese 1AX, to enroll in this class you must first take the online Chinese Language Placement Test. Find the online test at ealc.berkeley.edu. Students are responsible for enrolling in the appropriate level. They must also accurately inform instructors about their language proficiency level. Any student who enrolls in a class below his/her level will be dropped from the class. Prerequisites: Chinese 1AX; or consent of instructor.

Chinese 1BY, an elementary Mandarin Chinese course for non-Mandarin speaking Chinese dialect heritage learners, is a continuation of Chinese 1AY. The course provides further training in language skills. Linguistic forms and ways of using them are taught to meet learners' language needs. The course prepares Chinese dialect heritage learners to merge with Mandarin heritage learners at an intermediate level for continuous learning. Prerequisites: Chinese 1AY; or consent of instructor.

Chinese 7B is the second semester in a year long sequence introducing students to the literatures and cultures of China. We will read many of the major authors, works, and literary genres from the Yuan Dynasty to modern times, and place these writings in their historical, cultural, and material contexts. This course does not assume or require any previous exposure to or coursework in Chinese literature, history, or language.

This semester we will pay particular attention to the emergence of vibrant new urban and vernacular cultures in the late imperial period and their relation with classical traditions and literati culture, as well the revolutionary cultural transformations of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The course will both survey the literary and cultural topography that every serious student of China ought to know, while at the same time developing the critical reading and writing skills necessary to traverse and imaginatively engage with that historical terrain. All readings are in English translation. Students who are conversant in Chinese are encouraged to read original texts whenever possible. Prerequisites: None. Recommended: Chinese 7A.

Five one-hour meetings in class, two one-hour periods in the language or computer lab per week. The course, a continuation of Chinese 10A, is designed to develop the student's reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities in Chinese, and teaches both simplified and traditional characters. Prerequisites: Chinese 10A; or consent of instructor.

Continuation of Chinese 10AX, an intermediate-level course for Mandarin speakers. The course teaches both pinyin and traditional characters, develops a functional vocabulary, and provides a systematic review of grammar. Three one-hour meetings in class and two one-hour periods in the language or computer lab per week. Prerequisites: Chinese 10AX; or consent of instructor.

The goal of the course is to introduce modern Chinese culture while developing competence in reading, speaking and writing standard modern Chinese. The readings include stories, essays, and plays, mostly by leading writers of recent decades. Students prepare in advance, then read and discuss in Chinese in class. Literary aspects are discussed in addition to problems of vocabulary and syntax. Prerequisites: Chinese 100A; or consent of instructor.

Continuation of Chinese 100AX, an advanced-level course for Mandarin speakers with intermediate-level knowledge of reading and writing in Chinese. The goal of the course is to introduce modern Chinese society through reading materials and discussion. The reading materials include stories, essays, and plays, mostly by leading writers of recent decades. Three one-hour meetings in class and two one-hour periods in the language or computer lab per week. Prerequisites: Chinese 100AX; or consent of instructor.

The emphasis of this course is on Chinese social, political, and journalistic readings. The readings are further supplemented by newspaper articles. Students are required to turn in essays written in journalistic style in Chinese. Prerequisites: Chinese 100B; or consent of instructor.

The second half of a one-year introductory course in literary Chinese, continuing the study of grammatical structures and classical usage from the first semester, and introducing the use of basic reference sources. Readings for this semester will be drawn from a range of literary, philosophical, and historiographical texts through the Song Dynasty. Prerequisites: Chinese 110A; or consent of instructor. Prerequisites: Chinese 110A; or consent of instructor.

This course is intended to give students familiarity with the range of styles, forms, and rhetorical modes of the classical shi poem. We will devote significant effort to learning to read, understand, and appreciate poems in the original; at the same time, we will work on cultivating our expertise as literary critics and essayists through broad reading of poetry in translation and secondary works on the historical and literary contexts of the poetry, as well as interpretive and critical approaches. We will also draw significantly on traditional Chinese critical and instructional works on poetry, and develop skills in understanding and using those sources. Prerequisites: Chinese 110A; or consent of instructor.

This course will introduce students to selected works of Chinese literature written in the second half of the twentieth century, with particular emphasis on recent trends in fiction. We will read short stories, novels, and essays by several major (and some newly emergent) contemporary authors, including A Cheng, Yu Hua, Wang Xiaobo, Zhu Wen, Yin Lichuan, Ke Yufen, Luo Yijun, and Xi Xi . The course is not a survey; rather, we will read an idiosyncratic selection of texts produced from out of the dizzying historical transformations of the post-Mao and post-Cold War sinophone world. In particular, we will ask why - in an age of globalization and economic effervescence - Chinese fiction remains haunted by questions of (historical and political) violence, death, and (ecological and personal) impermanence? All reading will be in Chinese, supplemented by occasional critical and biographical articles in English. Prerequisites: Chinese 100; or consent of instructor.

The seminar will focus on the life and works of Yuan Mei (1716-1798). Particular attention will be paid to Yuan’s life in Yangzhou, his association with Luo Pin (1733-1799) and other artists, and the reasons behind the criticisms leveled at Yuan by Zhang Xuecheng (1738-1801). While in his literary life, Yuan is perhaps best remembered as a talented, innovative, and prolific poet, we will in our seminar meetings concentrate on Yuan’s prose writings, most notably his collection of “ghost stories,” entitled Zibuyu, and his cookbook, the earliest work to define the cooking methods, tastes, and ingredients of the Yangzhou area. A significant part of the seminar will be devoted to reading, interpreting, and evaluating the ghost stories and working through parts of Yuan’s cookbook. The seminar will also offer opportunities, however, to study Yuan’s poetry and other prose compositions; to compare Yuan Mei’s writings with those of other famous authors of ghost stories, for example, Pu Songling (1640-1715); to assess the nature of elite existence and culture in the Yangzhou area in the light of Yuan Mei’s life and career; and to evaluate the influence of Yuan’s poetry and prose on the history of Chinese literature. Prerequisites: Graduate standing

This seminar examines the relations between photography, writing, and their purported relations to the real in 20th-century China. Particularly during the 1920s-1930s, thinking about the newly pervasive medium of photography both drew upon and transformed pre-existing understandings of the material and visual qualities of images and the spaces they create, occupy, and depict. Popular and elite writings about photographic images considered them to be at once a foreign and a persuasively “realistic” way of seeing, as both opaque material traces and transparent pictures of perspectival spaces. Photographic discourse – such as the idea of photography’s accurate transcription of reality, or its ability to reveal the unseen in social and other realities – also informed the emerging discourse of literary realism. But throughout the entire 20th century in both popular and scholarly arenas, ideas of writing as a kind of photography – and of photography as a kind of writing – have been intertwined with reconceptions of the nature of space and scene, evidence and the document, art and composition, likeness and description, representation of self and other, and the picturing of history, memory, and the present. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of modern Chinese. Open to graduate students, as well as to upper-division undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences with instructor’s permission.

East Asian Languages and Cultures Courses

This course will explore how the Chinese and English-language literary traditions (broadly defined) delineate the realm of the ineffable, and how cultural notions of the inexpressible shape the writing and reading of poems, songs, and a selection of prose pieces, from the uses of figurative language and prosody to genre and canon formation. In addition, in order to deepen our understanding of how writing achieves its aims, some attention will be given to non-verbal modes of expression, including calligraphy and painting—and attempts to render them in writing. Over this course of study, students will not only refine their sensitivity to the power of artistic modes of indirection, but will also hone their skills in close reading, analytical writing, and oral expression. All readings will be in English. Prerequisites: None.

An introductory course on Chinese poetry, both ancient and modern, in English translation. The course will explore poetic translation, across languages, across cultures, and across historical ages, not merely from the perspective of the "accuracy" with which a classic text is represented in the translation, but as a window into the nature of poetic tradition and poetic writing itself. Works to be covered in the course will be primarily drawn from the Chinese tradition, but in the interest of allowing a comparative discussion of the course's central themes, a significant amount of reading, also in translation, from ancient and modern Greek poetry will be included as well. The goal of the class is not simply to gain familiarity with Chinese poetry and poets, but more fundamentally to gain skill and sophistication in reading, responding to, and thinking about poetry. All readings will be in English translation. Prerequisites: None.

Japanese Language and Literature Courses

Continuation of Elementary Japanese 1A using the same general format (written and oral/aural quizzes every Friday) and textbook. Emphasis is on spoken, reading, and written Japanese. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework, in-class final examination, and class participation. Prerequisites: Japanese 1A; or consent of instructor.

A course designed to be taken concurrently with 1B to help students improve overall kanji performance. The course will make the kanji learning process easier by providing exercises and background information about the relationships between characters and how they function.

An introduction to Japanese literature in translation. This course provides a survey of important works of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese fiction, film, visual culture, and cultural criticism. The course will explore the manner in which writers and other creators of culture worked within their aesthetic forms as they responded to the challenges of industrialization, internationalization, and war. Topics include the changing nature of Japanese aesthetic form, shifting notions of tradition and modernity, the impact of Westernization on the constructions of the self and gender, writers and the wartime state, literature of the atomic bomb, and postmodern fantasies and aesthetics. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course. Prerequisites: None. 

In this course, students will learn how to integrate the basic structures and vocabulary which they learned in Japanese 1A/B and Japanese 10A in order to express a wider range of ideas, and will study the new structures and vocabulary necessary to express such ideas in a manner appropriate for many social situations. Students are expected to participate fully in classroom activities and discussions. Prerequisites: Japanese 10A; or consent of instructor.

This supplementary course is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in 10B to enable their acquisition of a better understanding of Japanese grammar in general and clause linkage in particular.

For students who are concurrently enrolled in 10B to acquire a better understanding of kanji writing system and to improve overall kanji performance.

Continuation of J100A. This course aims to develop further communicative skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing in a manner appropriate to the context. It concentrates on enabling students to use acquired grammar and vocabulary with more confidence in order to express functional meanings, while increasing linguistic competence. Course materials include the textbook, supplemented by newspaper and magazine articles and short stories to provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Active student participation is not only encouraged but required. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A; or consent of instructor.

This course is designed for students who have studied Japanese for three years or more at college level to improve their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. It aims to develop further the vocabulary and knowledge of kanji and Japanese grammar needed to read books written for Japanese college students and the general public on various topics and to engage in discussions on what has been read. Although much class time will be spent on reading-related activities, students will also listen to mini-lections given by guest speakers and are expected to participate in discussions. Prerequisites: Japanese 100B; or consent of instructor.

This course provides focused, high-level language training for those students who possess advanced ability in the modern Japanese language. Students will improve their skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in their areas of specialty and in fields of particular interest to them. The course has a dual-track approach, requiring the completion of both class-wide and individually designed projects. The balance of the course focuses on perfecting reading and writing skills. With the instructor’s assistance, students pursue their own projects based on extensive reading of materials in their areas of specialization. These projects will be presented orally to the class. Further, when possible, visiting scholars from Japan are invited to the classroom to speak, their topics discussed afterwards. This provides a valuable opportunity for students to practice listening and speaking high-level, educated Japanese. Committed study at home is expected, and essential for success in this course. Prerequisites: Japanese 111 or equivalent; or consent of instructor.

This course focuses on a single formative text in the history of Japanese literature, the Heike Monogatari. Its principal subject is the political intrigue and civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans that brought the Heian period to a close. The course in primarily designed to further skills in reading classical Japanese. We will do close readings in Japanese of selected sections from this long, episodic work, sections chosen to demonstrate the variety of subject matter encompassed in Heike Monogatari. There will also be a few supplementary readings in English. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A and Japanese 120; or consent of instructor.

In this course we will read one of the most famous of Japanese literary texts, the haiku travel journal by the master poet Matsuo Bashô (1644–94). Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no hosomichi, late 17th c.) is known for its charm, depth of humanity, and literary eloquence. In the first few sessions of class, we will read Oku no hosomichi in its entirety, in English. The bulk of the semester will be spent reading passages in its original bungo (premodern literary Japanese). There will be a balanced emphasis on literary appreciation and understanding the grammatical patterns of its bungo. The final three weeks of the term will be devoted to other Bashô haiku and the poems of two other haiku masters—Yosano Buson (1716–1783) and Kobayashi Issa (1763–1827). Buson is often contrasted with Bashô as having a more sensual or personal content to his poems. Issa is known for his love of the small and charming, and his sense of humor. Prerequisites: J120 or a solid foundation in the grammar of classical Japanese.

This course will explore the variety of representations of imperial Tokyo (1890s – 1945), covering its ties to Edo and the rupture of those ties; its “ground level” contours as fictionally represented (such as in Higuchi Ichiyo and Natsume Soseki); its role as the hub of both mass culture and high modernism as radiated outward to Japan’s internal peripheries and empire; and finally as the cynosure of defeat. We will work primarily through written texts (both in Japanese and in translation) and related critical studies, but also make strategic use of newspaper clippings, films and photography collections. And, though the course is not intended to be a history of the city, we will incorporate selected historical treatments by Edward Seidensticker, Jinnai Hidenobu, and others. Prerequisites: J100; or consent of instructor.

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, speech varieties (politeness, gender, written vs. spoken), topic management, historical changes, and genetic origins. Students are required to have advanced knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: 100B or equivalent, may be taken concurrently.

This course is an introduction to Japanese cinema beginning in the silent era to the present, including the major directors, genres and movements of the twentieth century. The screenings are arranged more or less chronologically, to facilitate discussion of the historical and technological development of Japanese cinema. More importantly, however, we will be discussing some thematic topics that recur across time. Some questions that will motivate class discussion include the following: What is the relationship between modern films and traditional culture? What is the role of film in representing or creating a rebellious youth culture? Is there a coherent Japanese national cinema, and how has it been defined and stereotyped by both Japanese and Western observers? In addition to learning to view films critically, we will also be reading critical essays in English in order to gain familiarity with current scholarship on Japanese cinema. Prerequisites: None.

This is a course in bibliographical methods and materials for the humanistic study of Japan. The course is meant to provide experience in handling the basic resources in not only literature but also bibliographical citation, lexicography, history, religion, fine arts, geography, personal names, biographies, genealogies, and calendrical calculation. Internet access is required. Prerequisites: Graduate standing; or consent of instructor

This seminar examines several types of pre-modern Japanese narrative and dramatic texts in order to explore the limits of the significance of genre distinctions. Toward this end the class will study a single basic plot, Atsumori no saigo (The Death of Atsumori), from the medieval narrative Heike monogatari (Tales of the Heike), and its later manifestations in nô drama, otogi zôshi (late medieval stories), kôwaka (ballad-drama) , ko-jôruri (early puppet narrative), sekkyô-bushi (sermon-ballads) and jôruri (puppet theatre). In the process, we will explore the ways in which a single familiar narrative grows and shifts focus through time as it is re-framed according to the conventions of different performance traditions. Prerequisites: Two semesters of classical Japanese. Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.

In the seminar, we will examine literary representations of Tokyo from the 1900s to the 1930s, focusing on how images of urban space allowed novelists and critics to convey both the troubling legacies and hopeful futures that marked the developing city. We will consider the ways in which the anxieties and ideals associated with city life are shared and mediated by aesthetic means. How does the thematic desire to represent the modern city as a place full of possibilities come together with a formal impulse of the modernist novel to register the sensations of shock and vertiginous sense of disequilibrium? How do the competing forms of the novel, the prose poem or the sociological essay participate in the interpretation of urban space and everyday life? Prerequisites: Graduate standing; or consent of instructor.


Korean Language and Literature Courses

The class meets five days a week, one hour per day. Building on the basic grammar of the Korean language learned from Korean 1A, Korean 1B will introduce more vocabulary and expressions that are useful for everyday conversation. Students will also learn about the Korean culture.. Prerequisites: Korean 1A; or consent of instructor.

Please note: Korean 1B is not open to heritage students who have some background knowledge in Korean

Continuation of Elementary Korean 1AX. The class meets three days a week, one hour per day. Building on the basic grammar of the Korean language learned from Korean 1AX, Korean 1BX will introduce more vocabulary and expressions that are useful for everyday conversation as well as for improving reading and writing skills of students. Students who wish to enroll in K1BX without prior taking K1AX will need to have an oral interview and take a short written proficiency test on the first day of the class. Prerequisites: Korean 1AX; or consent of instructor.

This course explores various aspects of modern Korean literature and culture in the twentieth century. We will examine a range of literary works as well as art and film, in the contexts of colonialism and nationalism, the Korean War and national division, and the various issues that emerged in the process of modernization. No previous course work in Korean or Korean studies required. All readings are in English translation.

Through critical analysis of the works of fiction, poetry, and visual media, we will consider the following set of matters: 1) how the issues of national identity, gender, and socio-economic class are articulated in a diverse array of texts; 2) the complex relations between colonialism and a rise of modernist thinking about the national culture, and between cultural production and formation of identity; 3) modern views on urban and rural space; and 4) how the major events in modern Korean history (colonial occupation, war, urban unrest, political violence, dislocation and relocation) have been represented and remembered in literary texts and in popular culture. Prerequisites: None.

Korean 10B is a continuation of Korean 10A and will continue to use the materials and methods used in 10A. The aim of the course is to help the students develop the language skills necessary to pursue the study of Korean at a more advanced level. The course will introduce vocabulary and idioms beyond basic level, complex grammatical patterns, and varieties of speech styles. Prerequisites: Korean 10A; or consent of instructor.

A second-year course in modern Korean for students whose Korean proficiency level is higher in speaking than in reading or writing due to Korean-heritage background. Prerequisites: Korean 10AX; or consent of instructor.

Continuation of Advanced Korean 100A using similar methods and format to 100A. Readings in modern Korean selected as appropriate for the advanced Korean course, i.e., presupposing two and one-half years of college-level Korean. A variety of texts from textbooks, essays, journals, and newspapers will be introduced. About 100 Sino-Korean characters will be systematically introduced. Prerequisites: Korean 100A; or consent of instructor.

An advanced course in the reading and analysis of texts in modern Korean drawn from history, sociology, economics, etc. Advanced conversation, writing skills, and practice in the use of standard reference tools will also be emphasized, with the goal of preparing students to do independent research in Korean. Prerequisites: Korean 100B; or consent of instructor.

This course is a critical exploration of the broad range of prose literature before the 20th century, including vernacular fiction, memoirs, travel accounts, and essays. Particular attention will be given to narrative styles, issues of personal identity, and a link between literary text and material culture in the development of prose literature before the 20th century. The course is intended as a close reading of key prose narrative works, while functioning simultaneously as an introduction to basic reading knowledge of premodern Korean texts. 

Tibetan Language and Literature Courses

This course is an intensive introduction to both standard spoken Tibetan (Lhasa dialect) and written literary Tibetan. As such, it will serve the needs of students who intend to continue the study of modern Tibetan so as to function in a Tibetan-speaking environment, as well as the needs of students who will concentrate on classical Tibetan and its rich literature. Prerequisites: Tibetan 1A; or consent of instructor.


This course, a continuation of 10A, is designed to develop the student's reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities in standard Tibetan (Lhasa dialect). The course focuses on both modern vernacular Tibetan as well as literary Tibetan, with a particular emphasis on reading classical Buddhist materials. Prerequisites: Tibetan 10A; or consent of instructor.