Courses

Language courses are offered in Chinese, Japanese and Korean from begining to advanced levels.

The department also has several literature and culture courses that are taught in English for those unable to study the language but interested in the traditions.

FALL 2016 East Asian Literature and Culture Courses  

LLEA 13186 Literature University Seminar: "The Other in Modern Japanese Fiction"
 
TR 02:00-03:15                                                          Michael Brownstein
 
In this course, we will study five novels by modern Japanese writers (in translation) as a way of exploring the theme of “Otherness” — the sense of being an outsider, of being different, or at odds with a society that values conformity or “fitting in” above all. The novels are: Silence by Shusaku Endo, Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, Masks by Enchi Fumiko, A Personal Matter by Oe Kenzaburo, and All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe. By reading, discussing, and writing about these novels, you will also have the opportunity to explore how fictional narratives work to produce meaning, share your critical insights with others and improve your writing skills.


LLEA 13186  Literature University Seminar: Love in Traditional Chinese Literature

TR 11:00-12:15                                                         Liangyan Ge

The goal of this course is to introduce first-year students to the Chinese notion of love as fostered by traditional Chinese ideological systems, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. We will examine the different love relationships in thesocial and familial contexts, especially filial love, parental love, and sexual love, and discuss their literary expressions in poetry and prose from different historical periods. Love will be considered as both a perennial theme in Chinese literature and a major reflector of traditional Chinese culture. Readings are all in English translation, and no prior knowledge of Chinese language or culture is required for taking the course. Writing is a significant component of the course. There will be a number of writing projects, and issues concerning paper-writing will be discussed both in class and in private conferences. Students are also expected to read the assigned texts carefully before each session and participate actively in discussions and other class activities.

 
LLEA 20001  Introduction to Linguistics 
 
MW 12:30-1:45                                                          Hana Kang 
 
This course emphasizes language structure, including phonetics (the sounds of language), phonology (the sound systems of language), morphology and lexicon (structured meanings in words), morphemes (units of meaning), syntax, and semantics. 
 
LLEA 20304 Topics in Linguistics: Digital Literacy in Language Learning
 
MW 2:00-3:15                                                            Hana Kang
 
This course offers a comprehensive understanding of digital literacy in relation to teaching and researching language acquisition. Students will learn a variety of digital writing technologies and be trained to think critically about cultural and communicative consequences of digital media. Students will also gain the critical perspective and literacy tools needed to actively use digital technology in language teaching and researching.
 
LLEA 20847 Christianity and the Challenge of Buddhism
 
TR 2:00p - 3:15p                                                          Robert Gimello 
 
In 1997 Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) suggested that in the future Buddhism, rather than Marxism, might be the principal challenge to the Church. He has also, of course, fully endorsed the declaration of the Second Vatican Council that the Church "rejects nothing that is true and holy" in other religions, including Buddhism. Against the background of these two judgments - which may seem, but really are not, mutually contradictory - this course will consider: The fundamental differences between Christianity and Buddhism, both in matters of doctrine and in matters of spiritual and moral practice. The reasons why - despite, or perhaps because of, those differences - Buddhism today attracts increasing interest in cultures once shaped chiefly by Christianity The beliefs and values that both Buddhism and Christianity can legitimately be said to share and the ways in which they can reasonably be expected to collaborate with one another. Our overriding purpose will be to explore the ways in which Christians, especially Catholic Christians, can, should, or must view and relate to Buddhism. In the course of this exploration, the course will also provide a basic introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhism.
 
LLEA 30122 The Early Modern Climate 
 
MW 12:30p - 1:45p                                                          Julia Thomas 
 
This course sweeps the globe, focusing on the relationship between political upheaval and climate change especially during the seventeenth century “Little Ice Age.”  As average temperatures cooled 1C, famine, war, and chaos followed.  In his magisterial Global Crisis, Geoffrey Parker argues that  “perhaps one-third of the human population died.”  But not in Japan. Japan knew peace, prosperity, and even a growing population.  This course will consider three issues: (1) why has it taken so long for historians to include environmental factors in their analyses of political and social upheavals, (2) what allowed Japan to weather the dire conditions of the seventeenth century while the rest of the northern hemisphere was in crisis, and (3) are there any lessons to be learned from this earlier period as we consider our current, more radical climate change.  We will read Parker, his critics, and examine how his argument plays out in Europe, The Ottoman Empire, China, India, Indonesia, and, of course, Japan. 
 
LLEA 30147 Early Chinese Empires                                                                                                         

TR      2:00-3:15                                                     Liang Cai

Our understanding of early Chinese Empires is primarily determined by the available sources and our methodologies. This seminar will provide advanced undergraduates with a critical introduction to the most important sources and major themes, both textual and archaeological, for the study ofearly imperial China. We will consider materials from the earliest historical period, circa 1300 B.C., down to the consolidation of the empire in the first century B.C. We will focus on outstanding problems and controversies pertaining to this period, such as the relationship between archaeology and classical historiography, the nature of the Chinese writing system, myth and history, the textual history of the transmitted texts, Chinese empires and its rivals, and gender issues in ancient China. Finally, we will consider the basic methodological tools presently used by historians, textual critics, paleographers, and archaeologists.

 
LLEA 30110  Ancient Japan 
 
MW 03:30-04:45                                                           Julia Thomas
 
History is not a single "true story," but many competing narratives, each defined by values, interests, and political commitments. This course on ancient Japanese history provides an overview of three sets of competing narratives: first, the politically charged question of Japan's origins, when we explore archeological evidence and chronicles of the Sun Goddess; second, the question of whether culture (through continental imports of writing, religious forms, and statecraft) or nature (as disease and environmental degradation) defined the Yamato state from the sixth to the ninth century; and, third, whether Heian court power rested on economic, political, military, judicial, or aesthetic grounds and if its foundations were undermined internally or by the invasion of the Mongols. In examining these competing narratives, we aim to develop the disciplined imagination necessary to enter another culture and another time.
 
LLEA 30151  China's Long 20th Century
 
MW 12:30-1:45p                                                           Elisabeth Koll
 
The course examines China’s modern history from the last decade of the 19th century to the present. It explores the great political, economic, and social transformations with a particular focus on identifying continuities and discontinuities in China’s historical development across the 20th century. The course emphasize China’s global interconnections and develop a framework for assessing the role of nationalism, communism, and capitalism in the making of modern China.
 
LLEA 30403  Introduction to Chinese Civilization and Culture 
 
TR 02:00-03:15                                                           Xiaoshan Yang
 
This course surveys Chinese culture and civilization from the beginnings to the present time. Readings include traditional historical, philosophical, political, religious and literary texts as well as modern scholarship. Students are encouraged to bring in their experience, living or reading, of Western culture in order to form comparative and reflective perspectives.
 
LLEA 30416 Contemporary Japanese Fiction
 
TR 12:30-01:45                                                           David Humphrey
 
In this course, we will explore Japanese fiction from the 1980s to the present, with particular attention paid to the work of author Murakami Haruki. A bête noire of the Japanese cultural establishment, Murakami rose to prominence during Japan’s boom years of the 1980s, and continues to command a central position in the Japanese cultural landscape. Reading examples from Murakami’s oeuvre and contemporaries such as Ogawa Yōko and Medoruma Shun, we will consider how their fiction engages with or perhaps evades issues of the moment, including those of postmodernity, historical memory, and cultural crisis.
                                                         
 
LLEA 33102  Chinese Literary Traditions
 
TR 03:30-04:45                                                            Xiaoshan Yang
 
A survey course introducing students to the major themes and genres of Chinese literature through selected readings of representative texts.
 
LLEA 33316 Japanese Pop Culture in the Age of Young Media
 
MW 3:30p - 4:45p                                                             David Humphrey
 
In this course, we will examine how Japanese popular culture intersects with representations of and anxieties about youth in Japan. While it has over the past half-century played an increasingly powerful role in shaping widespread images of youth, popular culture’s targeting of young audiences often generates concerns about its influence. Course material will take a historical perspective, and draw upon examples, from early television anime and manga, to more recent television dramas and music.  Further, we will read essays on media theory and Japanese popular culture, including those of Azuma Hiroki, Marc Steinberg and Ian Condry.
 
LLEA 30492 Contention in China
 
MW 09:30a - 10:45a                                                Victoria Hui
 
Is China next for a "Jasmine Revolution?" Why have pro-democracy efforts repeatedly failed in China? Why is there no organized democracy movement despite the prevalence of sporadic protests about various kinds of social injustices? Is China immune to democratization because of a deeply rooted "Confucian culture?" This course examines a wide range of contentious politics in modern China, from the May Fourth Movement through the Communist Revolution, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Democracy Movement to recent protests by workers, peasants, religious followers, and middle-class property owners. In addition to contention by Han Chinese, this course also examines resistance by Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians, and other minorities. 
 
LLEA 33319 Masterpieces of Japanese Lit
 
MW 2:00p - 3:15p                                                    Michael Brownstein
 

This course was designed as a survey of Japanese poetry, fiction, and drama from the earliest times through the mid-18th century. All texts are in English; no special knowledge of Japan or Japanese is required. The course is divided into three parts. In Part I we will begin with the development of court poetry (waka) as found in the Man-yoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), the Kokinshu (the first Imperial Anthology of poetry), and the Tales of Ise. The centerpiece of this unit, however, is Murasaki Shikibu's epic of courtly love, The Tale of Genji (ca. 1000 A.D.); we will read an abridged version of the first 17 chapters. In addition to social and historical factors influencing the development of a courtly aesthetic, we will also consider the influential role played by Buddhism and Chinese literature. In Part II, we will look at how Japanese literature developed during the medieval period (13-16th centuries) of the samurai warrior-aristocracy with readings of plays from the No theater, linked verse (renga) and philosophical essays such as An Account of My Hut and Essays in Idleness. Of special interest here is the influence of Zen Buddhism on a wide range of aesthetic practices, including the tea ceremony, landscaping and painting. In Part III, we will study the "popular" literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, the products of a new merchant-class culture that flourished in Edo (now Tokyo), Kyoto and Osaka. The main topics will be haiku poetry by Matsuo Basho.

 
LLEA 40613 From Magazines to the Internet: Media and Culture in Modern China
 
TR 11:00a - 12:15p                                                Michel Hockx
 
Soon after modern printing technology was introduced by western missionaries in the 19th century,China developed an exciting new culture characterized by tremendous creativity and productivity, enthusiastic experimentation with media technologies, high­speed interaction between creat