New and Highlighted Courses (Fall 2023)

Introduction to China: Gettng Rich (ASIAN 2232)

Instructor: Nick Admussen

Course Time: Monday and Wednesday, 3:45pm-4:35pm plus discussion sections.

Cross-listed with CAPS 2232.

3 credits.

People outside China often talk about "China's rise," the changes in world economics and politics that come from the increase of the economic power of the People's Republic. From a domestic perspective, though, China's rise represents a promise to regular people that they will lead richer lives, both literally and figuratively. This course will examine the nature and history of that promise as it is experienced through literature, film, and other cultural texts. Why and how do PRC citizens want to get rich, and what happens when they don't? How does economic class shape identity in contemporary China? Can parts of the population be happy outside of the pursuit of material wealth?

This class is one of several topical courses in the Department of Asian Studies at the 2000-level that offer introductions to Chinese civilization. Students may take more than one of these introductory courses for credit.

(General Education Rubric)

Gender, Family, and Confucianism in East Asia (ASIAN 2281)

Instructor: Suyoung Son

Course Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:40am-12:55pm

Cross-listed with CAPS 2281/FGSS 2281/HIST 2981.

3 credits.

This course offers a broad understanding of the crucial roles East Asian women played in culture, the economy, and society from antiquity to the early twentieth century. By rethinking the pervasive stereotype of the passive and victimized East Asian women under by staunch Confucian patriarchy, it aims to examine women’s struggles, negotiations, and challenges of the normative discourse of femininity, with a focus on patrilineal family, the female body and reproduction, domesticity and women’s economic labor, women’s work, literacy and knowledge, and the modernization of women. We will examine how Confucian notions of gender and family were, far from being fixed, constantly redefined by the historical and temporal needs of East Asian contexts. This examination is undertaken through a combination of reading original texts and secondary scholarship in various disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, literature, and material culture.

(Society & Culture Rubric)

Buddhist Meditation Traditions (ASIAN 3320)

Instructor: Dan Boucher

Course Time: Monday and Wednesday, 1:25pm-2:40pm

3 credits.

Cross-listed with RELST 3320.

This course will examine both the practice of and the ideology surrounding forms of meditation in Buddhist traditions from South, Southeast, and East Asia in premodern and contemporary times. We will explore early canonical accounts of the practice as well as later formulations that emerged as central foci of specific sectarian traditions. We will also discuss some modern scientific explorations of meditation practice and its increasing role as a psychotherapeutic tool.

(Religion Rubric)

Modern and Contemporary Korean Literature (ASIAN 3324)

Instructor: Ivanna Yi

Course Time: Monday and Wednesday, 11:40am-12:55pm

Crosslisted with SHUM 3325.

3 credits.

This course examines major writers, works, and developments in modern Korean literature from the early twentieth century to the present. Beginning with the cultural transition at the end of the Chosŏn dynasty,  we will consider how social issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, migration, and the environment factor into literary constructions of the self, community, and nation. The course integrates creative writing workshops to illuminate the process of literary composition and deepen analytical engagement. We will engage numerous theoretical frameworks to explore and interpret Korean literature in a transnational and global context, including (post)colonial criticism, feminist criticism, and ecocriticism. Readings for the course will be in English or in English translation and no prior knowledge of Korea is required.

 (Literature & Linguistics Rubric)

Nature and Ecology in Ancient Chinese Travel Writing (ASIAN 3370)

Instructor: Ding Xiang Warner

Course Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:10am-11:25pm

Crosslisted with CAPS 3370.

3 credits.

Prerequisite: knowledge of Chinese language, history and culture is helpful but not necessary. This course traces the development of travel writing from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 221) to the Song dynasty (960–1279). Special attention is paid to the ways in which Chinese writers have ceaselessly negotiated humankind’s relationship with the natural world in their accounts of travel—both imagined and actual. Readings include poetry, prose, and philosophical works, all in English translation.

 (Literature & Linguistics Rubric)

Islam in Asia: From Turkey to Japan (ASIAN 4438)

Instructor: Chiara Formichi

Course Time: Tuesday, 2:00pm-4:30pm plus an independent study

Cross-listed with RELST 4438.

4 credits.

Prerequisite: one course at the 3000 level in the Humanities or with permission of the instructor; previous knowledge of Islam and/or Asia might be beneficial, but not assumed. Why do mosques look so different across Asia? How come Malaysia is a global center for the halal industry? Why is “blue and white” the classic patter for Chinese porcelain, and how does it fit in a conversation about “Islam”? In this seminar we will explore the ways in which Islam and Asia have shaped each other's histories, societies and cultures from the seventh century to today. Challenging the assumed dominance of the Middle East in the development of Islam, we will discuss Asia's centrality in the development of global Islam as a religious, social and political reality. We will learn how and why Asia is central to the history of Islam, and vice versa, considering the impact of Asia's Muslims on Islam; and how Islam became an integral part of Asia, and its influence on local conceptions of power, the sciences, arts, and bureaucracy.

(Religion Rubric)

Jin Ping Mei and Sensorium of Text (ASIAN 4440)

Instructor: Suyoung Son

Course Time: Wednesday, 2:00-4:30pm

3 credits

This course investigates the incorporation of sensory perceptions into textual practice as represented in Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase). Jin Ping Mei was a 16th century Chinese novel masterpiece, describing the downfall of the merchant Ximen Qing’s household as he engages in corrupt and lustful actions with a number of wives, concubines, and maids. It is known for its sensational depiction of sex and sensory excess. Why does the novel devote so much pages to detailed descriptions of food, clothing, and music? What kind of visual, auditory, and tactile senses does the text elicit and how do they affect textual meaning? And how do the various sensory renderings of the text influence readers and reading practices? We will explore the ways in which text serves as a site of interconnection among senses and highlight the various forms of human sensuousness by combining a close reading of Jin Ping Mei with a reading of the most recent studies on intermediality, materiality, and the history of senses.

(Literature & Linguistics Rubric)