Reading and Composition on Topics in East Asian Humanities: "The islandic, archipelagic and oceanic" R1B.1

What comes to your mind when thinking about an island? Is it a geographical object, an anthropological site, a tourist destination, a military base, or a data storage center? This course looks at the ideas and imaginations about the islands and archipelagos in modern East Asia. We will discuss how these ideas and imaginations have been shaped by different social and natural forces: migration, imperial expansion, technological development, and environmental impact. To rethink the significance of island cultures within the global networks of cultural, commodity, and information exchanges, we will go through the following topics: (1) the indigenous cultures and worldviews, (2) the tropical and the oceanic trade network, (3) the forefront of the Cold War geopolitics, (4) the migration and cultural hybridity, and (5) the environmental challenge and an islandic futurity. Around these topics, we will discuss short stories, photographs, and films from Taiwan, Japan, and China (in English translation and with English subtitles), along with related analytical articles. Students will be expected to think analytically about literature, images, music or films, and to develop skills of close reading, making arguments, constructing theses, library research, self-editing, peer reviews, and presentations.