New and Highlighted Courses (Fall 2024)

Introduction to China: Beyond China (ASIAN 2233)

Instructor: Shaoling Ma

Course Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:10am-11:00am plus discussion sections.

Cross-listed with CAPS 2233.

3 credits.

“China” and “Chinese” are no longer adequate terms for the study of Sinitic-language communities and cultures that evince politically tenuous and linguistically polyphonic relations with the People’s Republic of China. This course introduces students to transnational literatures, film, and popular culture from formerly marginalized Chinese voices, and to the field of Sinophone Studies as a critical, interdisciplinary alternative. Students will study fiction and films from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States, and the PRC, along with critical works explaining the ways that diaspora, colonialism, comparative empires, and ethnic or minority studies have informed the rise of global Chinese studies beyond “China” as a homogenous, static entity.

This class is one of several topical courses in the Department of Asian Studies that serve as introductory courses to important aspects or themes of Chinese civilization (ASIAN 2230, ASIAN 2231, ASIAN 2232, ASIAN 2233). The course assumes little or no background in the study of China. Students may take more than one of these different courses for credit.

(General Education Rubric)

Korea and East Asia (ASIAN 2296)

Instructors: Hyun-ho Joo

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

3 credits.

This course reexamines Korea’s place in East Asia by studying transnational cultural and intellectual interactions that Korea has had with China and Japan. The course is divided into three parts. First, it examines Korea’s centuries-long participation in the China-centered East Asian world order and its exit from that world order around the turn of the twentieth century. Second, it turns to Japan’s emergence as an expansionist power in East Asia, replacing China’s long-term hegemony in the region, and the diverse ways Koreans and other East Asians, including the Japanese, coped with the Japan-centered new formation of the East Asian world order in the first half of the twentieth century. Third, the course moves to contemporary Korea and investigates the impact of the so-called Korean Wave (the global popularity of Korean popular culture) on Japanese society and Korea-Japan relations, giving students a chance to think deeply about the effects of Japanese colonialism on contemporary Korea-Japan relations and the possible role of culture in smoothing over ongoing political and diplomatic tensions between the two neighboring countries.

(Society & Culture Rubric)

Buddhist Moderns: Visions of Human Flourishing (ASIAN 4020)

Instructor: Anne Blackburn

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

3 credits.

Do modern times (which are experienced and conceptualized in varied ways) pose distinctive problems and opportunities for Buddhists? How are Buddhist teachings drawn into forms of social and political critique, activist and advocacy projects, and theorizing about human communities and social processes? In the 20th and 21st centuries, how do Buddhist teachings and practices inform practical and conceptual approaches to human flourishing? Drawing on thinkers from several parts of Asia and the Americas, this seminar highlights how persons work creatively with Buddhist teachings. We shall explore how Buddhist teachings are interpreted to address painful circumstances, as well as how such hermeneutics may offer new (and sometimes liberatory) ways of seeing selves, others, and communities.  Writers and artists considered in this seminar interpret Buddhist teachings and practices in relation to capitalism, race, gender, sexuality, environmental ethics, and nationalism.

(Religion Rubric)

Zen Buddhism and its Japanese Context (ASIAN 4021)

Instructor: Jane-Marie Law

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

3 credits.

We explore the major thinkers in the Sôtô Zen school in Japan, most notably Dôgen (1200-1253) and his successors. How did Dôgen creatively use standard Chinese Ch’an texts?  How did the forces within Japanese Buddhism shape the unique responses in Japanese Sôtô Zen as it differentiated itself from both Rinzai Zen and the Tendai school’s powerful arguments about the nature of enlightenment? How was the Sôtô school revitalized in the Tokugawa period? We then turn to a discussion of how the success of the poet Ryôkan (1758-1831) contributed to the reevaluation of Sôtô in Japan. The class culminates with a study of these questions in the 21st century spread of Dôgen’s work to the US and Western Europe. Students will have the chance to choose one thinker or text from within the Sôtô lineage to study for a final project. Writing includes weekly responses to texts and a final project/paper. Instructor consent required to enroll.

 (Religion Rubric)