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.

This course explores the Buddhist tradition of Zen through a focus on the major figures in its Japanese context who have contributed to its foundational practices and promulgation and its revitalization after periods of decline.  We begin with the introduction of Buddhism into Japan in the 6th century and the issues surrounding the establishment of the “six schools” of Buddhism in the 8th century and the prestige and dominance of the Tendai School on Mt. Hiei. This allows us to see the uniquely Japanese context of religious debates. We then turn to an exploration of the Zen thinkers Eisai, Dôgen, Keizan, and Hakuin and see how these thinkers all introduced ideas to Japanese Zen practice that led the tradition into new directions from its Chinese origins.: tea cultivation, work practice, and monastic reform. Last, we study how Zen came to be regarded as the “way of the warrior” and a symbol of Japanese uniqueness and militarism. The course ends with an exploration of Zen expansion in the US in the 20th century and the “Dôgen boom” in American literary theory.

 (Religion Rubric)