The Goblin Spider (Chirimenbon: Japanese Fairy Tales, second series no. 1), C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University

Fall Courses

ASCE UN1002 Intro to Major Topics: East Asian
Mason Gentzler
M/W 1:10pm-2:25, 607 Hamilton Hall

An interdisciplinary and topical approach to the major issues and phases of East Asian civilizations and their role in the contemporary world.

RELI UN2008 Buddhism: East Asia
Michael Como
M/W 10:10am-11:25, 501 Northwest Corner Building

Lecture and discussion. An introductory survey that studies East Asian Buddhism as an integral , living religious tradition. Emphasis on the reading of original treatises and historiographies in translation, while historical events are discussed in terms of their relevance to contemporary problems confronted by Buddhism.

ASCE UN1359 Intro to East Asian Civ: China
Jue Guo
M/W 10:10am-11:25, LL104 Diana Center

The evolution of Chinese civilization from ancient times to the twentieth century, with emphasis on characteristic institutions and traditions. Discussion Section Required. Global Core.

ASCE UN1361 Intro to East Asian Civ: Japan
David Lurie
M/W 4:10pm-5:25, 501 Northwest Corner Building

A survey of important events and individuals, prominent literary and artistic works, and recurring themes in the history of Japan, from prehistory to the 20th century.

ASCE UN1363 Intro to East Asian Civ: Korea
Charles Armstrong
M/W 10:10am-11:25, 501 Schermerhorn Hall

The evolution of Korean society and culture, with special attention to Korean values as reflected in thought, literature, and the arts.

ASCE UN1365 Intro to East Asian Civ: Tibet
Gray Tuttle
T/R 1:10pm-2:25, 614 Schermerhorn Hall

This course seeks to introduce the sweep of Tibetan civilization and its history from its earliest recorded origins to the present. The course examines what civilizational forces shaped Tibet, especially the contributions of Indian Buddhism, sciences and literature, but also Chinese statecraft and sciences. Alongside the chronological history of Tibet, we will explore aspects of social life and culture.

EAAS UN3350 Supernatural in Japanese Fiction
Paul Anderer
W 4:10pm-6:00, 522C Kent Hall

This course is about literary and visual story-telling in Japan, with close attention to significant styles and themes. The chronology covers writing from the late 19th century and cinema from the silent era, through to stories and film-making from the last decade of the 20th century. This period of roughly one hundred years is marked by convulsive social transformations, cultural shifts in every field of cultural endeavor, as well as by fire, earthquake, and the horror of war. The work we will encounter differently faces, evades, or attempts to survive such realities, providing multiple angles of imaginative vision on Japan and the modern world. Major Cultures Requirement: East Asian Civilization List B.

AHUM UN1399 Major Texts: Middle East/India
William Theodore De Bary
M 2:10pm-4:00, HL-2 Heyman Center

AHUM UN1399 and UN1400 form a sequence, but either may be taken separately. UN1399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with AHUM UN3830. Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings include the Qur’an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi’s Autobiography.

AHUM UN1400 Colloquium on Major Texts

Paul Anderer
T 4:10pm-6:00, 707 Hamilton Hall

Rachel Chung
M 4:10pm-6:00, 424 Kent Hall

Conrad Schirokauer
W 12:10pm-2:00, HL-2 Heyman Center

AHUM UN1399 and AHUM UN1400 form a sequence but either may be taken separately. AHUM UN1399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with AHUM UN3830. Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese origin, including the Analects of Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Lotus Sutra, Dream of the Red Chamber, Tale of Genji, Zen literature, Noh plays, bunraku (puppet) plays, Chinese and Japanese poetry.

EAAS UN3405 Gender and Genre in Modern Japanese Literature
Tomi Suzuki
T 2:10pm-4:00, 522C Kent Hall

This course engages in close readings of major works of Japanese literature from the 18th-century to the present with particular attention to the issues of gender and genre in the formation of modern Japanese literature. The course considers figures such as female ghosts, wives and courtesans, youth and schoolgirls, the new woman and the modern girl, actors/actresses and cross-dressers. Readings highlight the role of literary genres, examining the ways in which the literary texts engage with changing socio-historical conditions, especially with regard to gender and social relations. Genres include puppet plays, ghost stories, melodrama, Bildungsroman, domestic fiction, autobiographical fiction, and the fantastic. Related critical issues are the novel and the formation of a national community; women’s writings; media and the development of urban mass culture; colonial and imperial spaces; history and memory. All readings are in English.

HSEA GU4882 History of Modern China I
Madeleine Zelin
TR 10:10am-11:25, 413 Kent Hall

China’s transformation under its last imperial rulers, with special emphasis on economic, legal, political, and cultural change.

HIST BC3861 Chinese Cultural History
Dorothy Ko
TR 2:40pm-3:55, 903 Altschul Hall

Prerequisites: An introductory Asian history course preferred but not required. Introduction to visual and material cultures of China, including architecture, food, fashion, printing, painting, and the theater. Using these as building blocks, new terms of analyzing Chinese history are explored, posing such key questions as the meaning of being Chinese and the meaning of being modern.

HSEA UN3862 History of Korea to 1900
Jungwon Kim
TR 10:10am-11:25, 323A Thompson Hall

Issues pertaining to Korean history from its beginnings to the early modern era. Issues will be examined in the Korean context and also from a comparative East Asian perspective.

EAAS UN3901 Senior Thesis
Theodore Hughes

Required of all majors and concentrators in East Asian studies, normally in the fall semester of the senior year

INSM UN3920 Nobility & Civility
William Theodore De Bary
W 2:10pm-4:00, HL-2 Heyman Center

Prerequisites: One semester of Contemporary Civilization or Literature Humanities, or an equivalent course, and the instructor’s permission. A team-taught multicultural, interdisciplinary course examining traditions of leadership and citizenship as they appear in the key texts of early Indian, Islamic, Far Eastern, and Western civilizations. One goal is to identify and examine common human values and issues evident in these texts while also recognizing key cultural differences.

EAAS UN3931 Environment and Society in Chinese History
Brian Lander
M 4:10pm-6:00, 406 Hamilton Hall

This course explores the changing environment of China from various angles, including economy, climate, demography, agriculture and politics. We will consider the entire sweep of Chinese history, beginning with the origins of agriculture, but will focus on the last 500 years or so. Although the focus will shift between the histories of specific regions and on processes that affected the entire subcontinent, the goal is to understand how the natural ecosystems of the region were transformed into the highly anthropogenic modern landscape.

CHNS GU4507 Readings in Classical Chinese
Shang Wei
TR 10:10am-11:25, 423 Kent Hall

Prerequisite for GU4507: CHNS GU4302 or the equivalent. Prerequisite for GU4508: CHNS W4507 or the equivalent. Admission after placement exam. Focusing on Tang and Song prose and poetry, introduces a broad variety of genres through close readings of chosen texts as well as the specific methods, skills, and tools to approach them. Strong emphasis on the grammatical and stylistic analysis of representative works. CC GS EN CE

JPNS GU4007 Introduction to Classical Japanese
Haruo Shirane
TR 10:10am-11:25, 405 Kent Hall

Prerequisite: JPNS UN2202 or the equivalent. Introduction to the fundamentals of classical Japanese grammar. Trains students to read Japanese historical and literary texts from the early period up to the 20th century.

EAAS GU4015 Buddhism and Islam: Tibet and China
Annabella Pitkin
T 11:00am-12:50, 318 Milbank Hall

News stories about Buddhist / Muslim encounters in many parts of present-day Asia often focus on dramatic conflicts, such as the destruction of the ancient Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan by Taliban leaders, or the role of Burmese Buddhists in violent assaults on Muslim communities in Burma. Yet in fact, the history of Buddhist and Muslim interactions in Asia is far more complex than a single tale of the “conflict of civilizations” might suggest. An ethnically diverse assortment of Buddhist and Muslim populations have mingled, competed, intermarried, and traded with each other in many parts of Asia for over a millennium, influencing each other’s medicine, science, philosophy, languages, music, cuisine, and of course, power arrangements. Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Uighyurs, Tibetans, Chinese, Kashmiris – these are just some of the major historical actors on a transregional and multi-ethnic Inner and East Asian stage, where rich trade routes, competing empires, and the high culture of multiple civilizations came together, with results that persist into our own day.

JPNS GU4519 Introduction to Kambun
David Lurie
M/W 10:10am-11:25, 315 Hamilton Hall

Prerequisite: JPNS GU4007 or the equivalent. Introduction to the fundamentals of reading Chinese-style Japanese and related forms, using literary and historical texts. CC GS EN CE GSAS

EAAS GU4202 The Dead and Their Lives After in Ancient China: Conceptions and Practices
Jue Guo
W 2:10pm-4:00, 501 Diana Center

What did the dead become? Ancestors, spirits, or ghosts? Are these postmortem categories and roles ontologically distinct and mutually exclusive? How did the dead become ancestors, spirits, or ghosts? Where did the dead go and what kind of “lives after” did they have?

With these questions in mind, this course explores the realm of the dead in ancient China (ca. 5000 B.C.E.-600 C.E.) instantiated by the living in rituals, objects, and writings. Focusing on contemporaneous materials obtained through archaeology, facilitated with transmitted history and literature when available, students will read about and learn to analyze a variety of conceptions of the dead and corresponding afterlife options recorded in diverse kinds of sources including material culture, architecture, artifacts, pictorial representations, and texts from ancient China.

HSEA GU4222 War and Society in Modern China
Masato Hasegawa
M 12:10pm-2:00, 201D Philosophy Hall

As we examine the history of China in the modern period, we notice the indelible and profound mark that wars, armed uprisings, and violence have left on collective consciousness and social and state structures. On a social level, the impact of large-scale violence often transcended territorial boundaries both locally and nationally. Historical sources also show that countless families and communities were left disintegrated as a consequence of intra- and inter-regional military conflict. This course will examine a wide array of war experiences in China in the modern period, roughly defined as the period from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. We will ask how the history of war might shed light on the lives of ordinary people in China. Particular attention will be paid to war experiences behind the front lines and the nature of the relation between war and society during and in the wake of battle. The general course format consists of class discussion on, and close analysis of, the assigned readings, which will include monographs by contemporary scholars as well as primary materials in translation. Some background knowledge of Chinese history will be helpful. No knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

EAAS GU4224 History of Chinese Cinemas
Shi-Yan Chao
M 6:10pm-10:00, 402 Hamilton Hall

This survey class introduces Chinese cinemas produced in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Thematic, stylistic and industrial developments will be explored alongside continuing trends toward local and regional diversity in the context of globalization. To address the issue of nation/nationalism and the evolving rapport between the local and transnational, in conjunction with the changing dynamic between the film industries and filmmakers, emphasis is given to specific film genres (e.g. wenyi melodrama and martial arts), major film movements (from the leftist filmmaking in 1930s Shanghai to the new cinemas in three Chinas of the 1980s), and influential film auteurs, such as Xie Jin, King Hu, Zhang Yimou, Jia Zhangke, Tsui Hark, Wong Kar-wai, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, and Ang Lee. Other topics include, for instance, how cinema approaches history, ramifications of realism, representation of gender, ethnicity and sexuality, the reintegration of Greater China’s screen industries since the 1990s, and the recent industrial capitalization on neo-localism in Taiwan.

EAAS GU4357 Topics in Contemporary Japanese Cinema
Hikari Hori
T 6:10pm-8:00, 303 Hamilton Hall

By introducing important films and directors, this course examines issues both in the field of Japanese cinema and in popular cultural discourse from the 1980s to the present. Directors’ oeuvres, social and cultural backgrounds, film theories, and analysis of the works are introduced. Reading assignments include writings drawn from perspectives of auteurism, formal analysis, feminist critique, national cinema, cultural studies, and theories of globalization. These various readings will assist students in critically examining filmic texts, and developing their own views of the works and issues that films raise. Moreover, the course is designed to enhance students’ further understanding of Japanese society both in the domestic and global contexts by studying popular media. Mandatory film screening each week.

EAAS GU4406 Social Theory for the Study of East Asia
Annabella Pitkin
M 2:10pm-4:00, 407 Barnard Hall

What is power in Tibet? How does society change in China? What is the role of religion, tradition and modernity in East Asia societies more generally? And what are the ethical dimensions of our own work as investigators of culture? Social theory shapes how we answer these questions. This course introduces students to pivotal ideas and interpretations that profoundly influence the study of East Asian societies.

We will consider the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism; and examine theories of religion and secularism; gender and power; nationalism and transnational dynamics; politics and the state; and modernity, tradition, and memory. Each week will involve a short case study, and opportunities for students to apply these ideas to their region of interest.

EAAS GU4520 Modern Korean Literature in Translation
Theodore Hughes
T 2:10pm-4:00, 402 Hamilton Hall

In this course, we will engage in a critical study of representative Korean literary texts of the twentieth century. Texts will be drawn from both the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) and the post-liberation period (1945-present). We will supplement our reading of literary works with recent scholarship on modern Korea. In our discussion of works written in the colonial period, we will consider the formation of “modern literature,” the emergence of proletarian and modernist writing, representations of gender, nationalism, assimilation, and resistance against Japanese rule. Topics central to the Korean post-colonial experience include national division, war, rapid industrialization, authoritarianism, the formation of consumer culture, globalization, and diaspora.

HSEA GU4829 History of Ancient China to the End of the Han
Li Feng
T 2:10pm-4:00, 408 Hamilton Hall

In this upper level course, we will detail the development of early Chinese civilization and discuss a series of cultural and institutional inventions. The course will also provide a systematic introduction to the most fascinating archaeological discoveries in the past century.

HSEA GU4837 Postwar Japan in the World
Lisbeth Kim Brandt
W 12:10pm-2:00, 201D Philosophy Hall

This seminar, which is directed primarily at advanced undergraduates, explores Japan’s changing place in the world in the decades following World War II. Three major themes structure the course. First, we consider Japan’s early postwar relations with East Asia, and particularly the two Koreas, as a means of exploring problems of decolonization and postcolonial/postimperial identities in the late 1940s and 1950s and beyond. Second, we examine various aspects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our goal here is to investigate the complex international as well as domestic politics of the bombings and their extended aftermath. The third and final theme of the course concerns the global contexts for an expanding Japanese consumerism during the late 20th century. Over the semester students will analyze, assess, and develop critical perspectives on the global history of postwar Japan by means of class discussions of readings, weekly posts to the course website, and individual research projects culminating in a final paper.

HSEA GU4888 Women and Gender in Korean History
Jungwon Kim
R 2:10pm-4:00, 309 Hamilton Hall

While the rise of women’s history and feminist theory in the 1960s and 1970s fostered more general reevaluations of social and cultural history in the West, such progressions have been far more modest in Korean history. To introduce one of the larger challenges in current Korean historiography, this course explores the experiences, consciousness and representations of women Korea at home and abroad from premodern times to the present. Historical studies of women and gender in Korea will be analyzed in conjunction with theories of Western women’s history to encourage new methods of rethinking “patriarchy” within the Korean context. By tracing the lives of women from various socio-cultural aspects and examining the multiple interactions between the state, local community, family and individual, women’s places in the family and in society, their relationships with one another and men, and the evolution of ideas about gender and sexuality throughout Korea’s complicated past will be reexamined through concrete topics with historical specificity and as many primary sources as possible. With understanding dynamics of women’s lives in Korean society, this class will build an important bridge to understand the construction of New Women in early twentieth-century Korea, when women from all walks of life had to accommodate their “old-style” predecessors and transform themselves to new women, as well as the lives of contemporary Korean women. This will be very much a reading-and-discussion course. Lectures will review the readings in historical perspective and supplement them. The period to be studied ranges from the pre-modern time up to the turn of twentieth century, with special attention to the early modern period.

HSEA UN3894 Who is the Samurai?
Gregory Pflugfelder
M/W 6:10pm-7:25, 522C Kent Hall

Primary and secondary texts representing the samurai in various periods of Japanese history.  How did members of the warrior class, both men and women, live?  What did they do?  How did they think of themselves?  How have others conceived of them?

HIST GU4923 Narratives of WWII
Carol Gluck
T 11:00am-12:50, 418 IAB

Prerequisites: Instructor’s Permission Required: ATTEND FIRST CLASS AND REGISTER ON CLASS WAIT-LIST An examination of literary and cinematic narratives of the Second World War produced in the decades since 1940 in Europe, America, and Asia. The analytic approach centers both on the historicity of, and the history in, the texts, with the goal of questioning the nature of narrative in different forms through a blend of literary and historical approaches.


HSEA GR6009 Colloquium on Early Modern Japan
Gregory Pflugfelder
R 4:10pm-6:00, 522A Kent Hall

Reading and discussion of primary and secondary materials dealing with Japanese history from the 16th through 19th centuries. Attention to both historical and historiographic issues, focusing on a different theme or aspect of early modern history each time offered. May be repeated for credit. Field(s): EA

CHNS GR6012 Readings in Chinese Classics
Liu Yucai
T 2:10pm-4:00, 101 Kent Hall

This seminar provides graduate students with the training they need for conducting research on book history, manuscript culture, print culture and intellectual history in pre-modern China. Focusing on Liji (The Book of Rites), it examines the Textual variations and transformations this canonical text went through and the differing interpretations to which it was subjected over time. The students are expected to undertake case studies on The Book of Rites to compare its different editions, both the old editions passed on to the present and the newly excavated ones, and investigate into the cultural, political and scholarly forces in shaping and reshaping its texts. For the students of both Chinese history and literature, this course offers them a rare opportunity to hone their skills necessary for the studies of book culture in traditional China (including both 校讎學 and 目錄學). This seminar will be conducted in Chinese. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor Shang Wei at

RELI GR6040 Topics in Chinese Buddhist Studies
Zhaohua Yang
R 4:10pm-6:00, 101 80 Claremont Ave

Reading on recent scholarship in English on the studies of Chinese Buddhism.

HSEA GR6860 Bronzes and Bronze Inscriptions in Ancient China
Feng Li
R 2:10-5:00, 422 Kent Hall

CHNS GR8030 Premodern Chinese Fiction and Drama
Shang Wei
M 2:10pm-4:00, 511 Kent Hall

This course offers a critical survey of the literary culture of the Ming and Qing era (mainly from 1550 to 1840), with special attention to the topics and areas for further research. We will read the selections from The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature (with reference to other relevant works and reference books, including The Indiana Companion of Chinese Literature, The Columbia History of Chinese Literature, edited by Victor Mair, and中國文學史edited by袁行霈and others) to familiarize ourselves with the large literary scene of the time, while closely engaging concrete cases and literary texts in classroom discussion. The course is organized by topics in conjunction with literary genres and forms, including dramas, baihua stories, novels (selections from The Story of the Stone and The Unofficial History of the Scholars), fiction sequels (xushu續書, such as The Tower of Myriad Mirrors: A Supplement to Journey to the West西游補), commercial publishing, book culture, visual culture, material culture, literary miscellanies, informal essays (especially those regarding leisure, taste and life style, for instance, Li Yu李漁’s Casual Notes on Leisure Sentiment閒情偶寄), literary discourse in a variety of forms (prefaces, commentaries, letters, and so on). Most primary readings are in Chinese, and I will provide the English translations whenever possible.

JPNS GR8030 Seminar in Premodern Japanese Literature
Haruo Shirane
W 1:10pm-4:00, 420 Kent Hall

This is a seminar of The Tale of Genji, with careful readings in the original. Of particular interest in the latter half will be the reception and canonization of The Tale of Genji from the medieval through the Edo and modern periods, including commentaries, Kokugaku, women’s education, visual reception and issues of nationalism and constructions of the past.

HSEA GR6100 Lamas and Emperors: Ruling Inner Asia
Gray Tuttle
T 4:10pm-6:00, 401 Hamilton Hall

This course will survey the existing literature on the importance of Tibetan Buddhism as a religious ideology that was central to late imperial efforts at making China a multi-ethnic state. This ideology has served to link China with Tibetan and Mongolia regions of Inner Asia—through the imperial center at Beijing—for over seven hundred years.

HSEA GR8839 Graduate Seminar in Modern Japanese History
Carol Gluck
T 4:10pm-6:00, 418 IAB

This colloquium focuses on recent books on modern Japanese history, from 1600 to the present. Published between 2011 and 2013 (with some due out in 2014), they represent a sample of the latest work in the field in English and a wide range of subjects and approaches. The twofold goal is to deepen our knowledge both of history and historiography, with reference to the kind of history we write.

HSEA GR8879 Early Modern China
Dorothy Ko
T 4:10pm-6:00, 522C Kent Hall

This graduate colloquium is an introduction to “early modern” Chinese culture and society (15th to 19th centuries) in a global and comparative framework. As such, it provides a broad overview of some of the influential books that have shaped the field in the recent two decades. The books and topics are selected in part because of their relevance to studies of modern China and Europe. The course is designed for: (i) Ph.D. and M.A. students in history, literature, art history, and religious studies who desire to conduct research in the Ming-Qing period, (ii) those who major in modern China who are considering an oral exam field in the Ming-Qing period, and (iii) those interested in comparative modernities in a regional or global frame. The goal of the colloquium is to familiarize students with the key issues under debate in the fields of history (and, to a lesser extent, art history)-an international endeavor that involves scholars in China, Taiwan, Japan, America, and Europe. The readings may include key texts in Chinese; students who do not read Chinese can contribute all the same by taking up alternative texts in English for the week. The term “early modern” in the title of the course is a placeholder: its applicability to a period otherwise known as “late imperial” is the very issue under debate in the field and in this class. Field(s): EA

HSEA GR8882 Qing and Modern Documents
Madeleine Zelin
W 4:10pm-6:00, 418 IAB

This course is designed to prepare students for conducting research in Qing dynasty and Republican era history and facilitate students in choosing research topics. The class will introduce students to sources, bibliographies, reference materials and key research tools. Assignments include completion of exercises in the use of bibliographies and research sources and tools. Students will also complete a weekly translation exercise. At the end of the term each student will submit an approximately 15 page paper/research proposal following the guidelines for dissertation proposals in the department of history. The last two sessions of the course will be devoted to presentation and discussion of each other’s research proposals.

JPNS GR8020 Graduate Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature
Tomi Suzuki
R 1:10pm-4:00, 401 Hamilton Hall

Selected works in modern Japanese fiction and criticism.  May be repeated for credit.

EARL GR8400 Readings in Japanese Religion
Michael Como
M 2:10pm-4:00, 201 80 Claremont Ave

Guided individual research.