Donald Keene, Shincho Professor Emeritus, giving talk on Ishikawa Takuboku at the DKC, spring 2014 (2).

New Fall ’14 Courses

EAAS W3931 Environment and Society in Chinese History
Brian Lander
M 4:10pm-6:00, TBA

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.

EAAS G4202 The Dead and Their Lives After in Ancient China: Conceptions and Practices
Jue Guo
W 2:10pm-4:00, TBA

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.

CHNS G4009 Classical Chinese Texts Written by Women
Gopal Sukhu
M 10:10am-12:00pm, TBA

In this course we will read, analyze and discuss classical Chinese texts, mostly poetry and some literary criticism, written by women from the early period to the fall of the Qing dynasty. Guiding our study are three central questions: 1) what were the contexts of women’s writing; 2) what marked a poem as “by a woman” as opposed to “by a man” or “by a man writing in a ‘woman’s voice’”; 3) what constitutes a “genuine” female voice in Chinese poetry? Reference will be made to both traditional Chinese criticism and modern, especially feminist, criticism.

EAAS G4015 Buddhism and Islam: Tibet and China
Annabella Pitkin 
T 11:00am-12:50, TBA

This course explores the long history of Buddhist / Muslim interactions in Tibetan and Chinese regions of Inner and East Asia. Students will explore mutual influences; discourses of violence, conversion, and tolerance; economic, literary, and cultural exchanges; and political rivalries, alliances and conquests. Students will also consider how Tibetan Buddhist and Inner Asian Muslim societies have managed their relationships with a succession of Chinese states, with special focus on the Qing era into the present day. Course materials include historical, ethnographic, and sociological studies, and Tibetan, Uighyur, Chinese, Mongolian, Persian, and Arabic poetry, songs, religious writings, philosophical works, auto/biography, and travelers’ accounts, plus art, music videos, film, and field trips. All readings will be in English translation; no previous knowledge of Asian languages expected.

HSEA G4223 War and Society in Modern China
Masato Hasegawa
M 12:10pm-2:00, TBA

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 G4224 History of Chinese Cinemas
Shi-Yan Chao
M 6:10pm-10:00, TBA

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 G4227 East Asian and the Rise of a Global Middle Class
Jamyung Choi
M 2:10pm-4:00, TBA

This course looks at East Asian history through the rise of a global middle class. What is a “middle class” and how did the idea evolve in East Asia? How has the middle class in East Asia converged and diverged from global trends? How has the idea of a middle class driven politics, economics, education, and gender, or vice versa? What role has the middle class played in the shared and divergent histories of Japan and China? How have middle-class experiences become the dream of the social mainstream in East Asia? Through select primary and secondary sources, students will obtain an inside glimpse of East Asia, global modernity, and the discipline of social and cultural history. Students will produce two short essays, participate in class discussion, and submit a final paper.

EAAS G4406 Social Theory for the Study of East Asia
Annabella Pitkin
W 11:00am-12:50pm

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.

HSEA G4888 Women and Gender in Korean History
Jungwon Kim
R 2:10pm-4:00, TBA

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.

 

New Spring ’15 Courses

EAAS W3934 The Tea Ceremony: Understanding Japanese Culture through the History and Practice of Tea
Ariel Stillerman

The focus of this course is the Japanese Tea Ceremony, or chanoyu. It introduces the world of the first medieval tea-masters and follows the transformation of chanoyu (lit. ‘water for tea’) into a popular pastime, a performance art, a get-together of art connoisseurs, and a religious path for samurai warriors, merchants, and artists in Early Modern Japan. It also explores the metamorphosis of chanoyu under 20th century nationalisms and during the postwar economic boom, with particular attention to issues of patronage, gender, and social class. Each session will cover a different aspect of chanoyu, focusing on a rigorous analysis of historical texts (primary sources) and of modern studies and current research (secondary sources). Understanding chanoyu requires experiencing it in person and through one’s own hands. For this reason, in addition to text-based learning this course offers students access to the actual rare materials that are at the heart of chanoyu. They will participate in a tea ceremony at the teahouse of the New York branch of the traditional Urasenke school of tea and they will get hands-on access to the hidden treasures of the Japanese collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they will be able to interact with historical artifacts.

HSEA G4223 China and the World Since 1350
Masato Hasegawa
M 12:10pm-2:00, TBA

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.