A view of Mt. Fuji, photogravure, NYPL

A view of Mt. Fuji, photogravure, NYPL

Spring ’16 Courses

ASCE UN1002 Intro to Major Topics: East Asian

Conrad Schirokauer
M/W 11:40am-12:55, HL-2 Heyman Center for the Humanities (East Campus)

Jae Won Chung
M/W 06:10pm-07:25, 522C Kent Hall

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

ASCE UN1359 Intro to East Asian Civ: China
Robert Hymes
T/Th 2:40pm-03:55, 329 Pupin

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
Gregory Pflugfelder
T/R 4:10pm-5:25, 614 Schermerhorn

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.

AHIS GR6140 Japanese Arts of the Momoyama Period
Matthew McKelway
W4:10-6:00pm, Location: 934 Schermerhorn

An investigation of the visual arts of the Momoyama period (1573-1615), Japan’s era of political unification. This course will focus on the patronage and participation of provincial warlords in the production of gilded screen and panel paintings, lacquer, ceramics, and textiles. We will also consider the question of how Momoyama period aesthetics would have a lasting impact on all succeeding periods of Japanese art.

AHUM UN1400 Colloquium on Major Texts: East Asia

Itsuki Hayashi
M 12:10pm-02:00, 402 Hamilton

Shang, Wei
T 2:10pm-04:00, 522C Kent

David Moerman
T 10:10am-12:00, 203 Diana Center (Barnard)

William Theodore de Bary
M 02:10pm-04:00, HL-2 Heyman Center for the Humanities (East Campus)

Harrison Huang
W 02:10pm -04:00,653 Schermerhorn

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.

HSEA UN3863 History of Modern Korea
Charles Armstrong
T/R 1:10pm-02:25, 413 Kent

Korean history from the mid 19th century to the present, with particular focus on politics, society, and culture in the 20th century.

EAAS UN3898 The Mongols in History
Morris Rossabi
T 10:10am-12:00, 5AB Kraft Center

Study of the role of the Mongols in Eurasian history, focusing on the era of the Great Mongol Empire. The roles of Chinggis and Khubilai Khan and the modern fate of the Mongols to be considered.

EAAS UN3901 Senior Thesis
Paul Anderer


COLL UN3921 Nobility & Civility II
William Thedore De Bary
W 02:10pm-04:00, Location TBA

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 UN3932 Revolution in Modern China
Gal Gvili
T 12:10pm-02:00, 401 Hamilton

Description to come.

EAAS UN3937 Transnational Worlds in Modern Korean Literature
Jonathan Kief
M 02:10pm-04:00, 401 Hamilton

This course explores the history of cross-border migration, travel, and exchange as it has been represented and debated in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Korean cultural production. Using literary texts, films, and relevant secondary scholarship, we will consider how a range of writers and filmmakers used narratives of transnational movement — the crossing of Korea’s borders in both directions by both Koreans and non-Koreans — in order to both conceptualize Korea’s place in a changing world and re-fashion the bounds of Korean identity.

EAAS UN3990 Critical Approaches to East Asian Studies
Robert Hymes
W 04:10pm-06:00, 509 Hamilton


EAAS UN3310 Social Problems in Contemporary China
Leta Hong Fincher
M/W 10:10am-11:25, 411 Kent

In this undergraduate course, we will explore problems in contemporary Chinese society through reading and discussion. We will focus primarily on the market reform period in the People’s Republic of China following 1979, examining topics such as social inequality, gender and sexuality, class, ethnicity and religion, urbanization and migration, the environment, the Internet, and population challenges. Since society changes so rapidly in China, I will often assign recent news reports or videos in addition to the formal readings so that we can discuss current events related to course themes. We will adopt a social scientific perspective to think critically about how individual lives in contemporary China are shaped by the social structures around them, as well as how individuals can take action to change their environment. This course has no prerequisites, but some background knowledge of Chinese history or society is helpful. If you have never taken a course on China before, please ask me for guidance. The syllabus is preliminary and subject to change based on the needs of the class.

CHNS GU4508 Readings in Classical Chinese II
Harrison Huang
T/Th 10:10am-11:25, 423 Kent

Prerequisite for GU4507: CHNS GU4302 or the equivalent. Prerequisite for GU4508: CHNS GU4507 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.

JPNS GU4008 BUNGO II: Readings in Classical Japanese
David Lurie
M/W 1:10pm-2:25, 425 Pupin

Description to come.

EARL GU4013 Buddhism and Neuroscience
Bernard Faure
W 02:10pm-04:00, 201 80 Claremont

With the Dalai Lama’s marked interest in recent advances in neuroscience, the question of the compatibility between Buddhist psychology and neuroscience has been raised in a number of conferences and studies. This course will examine the state of the question, look at claims made on both sides, and discuss whether or not there is a convergence between Buddhist discourse about the mind and scientific discourse about the brain.

HSEA GU4882 History of Modern China II
Eugenia Lean
T/Th 10:10am-11:25, 516 Hamilton

A critical examination of the cultural, social and political experiments that swept China starting in the late nineteenth-century and lasting until the 1970s after the end of the Mao era.

EAAS GU4022 Japanese Buddhist Visual Culture
David Moerman
T 02:10pm-04:00, 318 Milbank (Barnard)

This course explores the principal modes, media, and contexts of visual culture in Japanese Buddhist history.  Through the analysis of selected case studies, the course examines of the modalities of perception, materiality, and reception that distinguish the form and function of visual media in Japanese Buddhist contexts.  Students are expected to have completed preliminary coursework in relevant areas of East Asian history, religion, or art history.

HSEA GU4860 Culture and Society of Choson Korea
Jungwon Kim
M 04:10pm-06:00pm, 522A Kent

Major cultural, political, social, economic and literary issues in the history of this 500-year long period. Reading and discussion of primary texts (in translation) and major scholarly works. All readings will be in English

HSEA GU4879 Ecology and Economy in Modern China
Masato Hasegawa
T 10:10am-11:25, 317 Hamilton

This seminar examines the historical processes of China’s engagement with its natural environment from the pre-modern period to the modern era. China’s rapid economic growth during the last three decades has generated immense wealth and opportunities. Yet, it has also caused serious environmental degradation within and beyond the Chinese borders, including soil contamination, air and water pollution, and deforestation and desiccation. In recent years, the magnitude and global nature of China’s environmental problems have drawn growing attention and raised concerns over health risks worldwide. At the same time, there has also been a renewed interest in better understanding China’s past and the historical roots of the environmental challenges in present-day China. This course aims to situate China’s contemporary environmental changes in a broader historical context and examines the relationships between the state, society, and the environment over the last three millennia of Chinese history Themes covered will include visions of the environment in early Chinese thought, irrigation and flood control, and population growth and urbanization. The general course format combines critical reading and active discussion. Some background knowledge of Chinese history will be helpful, but is not required.

EAAS GU4572 Chinese Documentary Cinema
Ying Qian
M 04:10pm-06:00, 522C Kent

What defines a “documentary” film? How do documentaries inform, provoke and move us?  What formal devices and aesthetic strategies do documentaries use to construct visions of reality and proclaim them as authentic, credible and authoritative? What can documentary cinema teach us about the changing Chinese society, and about cinema as a medium for social engagement?    This seminar introduces students to the aesthetics, epistemology and politics of documentary cinema in China from the 1940s to the present, with an emphasis on contemporary films produced in the past two decades.  We examine how documentaries contended history, registered subaltern experiences, engaged with issues of gender, ethnicity and class, and built new communities of testimony and activism to foster social change. Besides documentaries made by Chinese filmmakers, we also include a small number of films made on China by western filmmakers, including those by Joris Ivens, Michelangelo Antonioni, Frank Capra and Carma Hinton.  Topics include documentary poetics and aesthetics, evidence, performance and authenticity, the porous boundaries between documentary and fiction, and documentary ethics. As cinema is, among other things, a creative practice, in this course, students will be given opportunities to respond to films analytically and creatively, through writing as well as creative visual projects.  

EAAS GU4727 Topics in Modern Literature – Natsume Soseki
Paul Anderer
W 02:10pm-04:00, 522C Kent

This seminar will focus on the writings, especially the novels, of Natsume Soseki (1868-1915), the pivotal author of early twentieth century Japan. His work inherited, and further spawned, a complex legacy: the prose and poetry of pre-modern Japan; a long tradition of translating of “writing” Chinese literary texts into Japanese; and, by the mid-nineteenth century, other waves of translation from several European languages (for Soseki, the most significant one being English). Soseki came of age and began to write in the period between the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, during which he received modest government support to be as scholar in residence in London. In his criticism, and even more deeply in his fiction, he grappled with issues of unsettlement, displacement, and betrayal, as Japan was moving from a secure sense of itself within an East Asian frame of cultural reference, toward one dominated by Western standards of taste and value. Later Japanese writers, as different as Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Abe Kobo, Oe Kenzaburo, and Murakami Haruki, all acknowledge their debt to Soseki, for the power of his writing about characters without a “country” home or a stable sense of their own selves, amid a global clash of civilizations, and of empire-building strife. 

EAAS GU4277 Japanese Anime and Beyond: Gender, Power and Transnational Media
Hikari Hori
T 06:10pm-08:00 (Screening W 06:00pm-08:00), 522C Kent

This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate (MA) seminar. It would be helpful if students have some background in film/media studies, cultural studies, and/or East Asian studies, though no prerequisite is required. The guiding questions of the course: The animated films variably have become sites of knowledge formation and aesthetic experiments in different regions of the world. How so? What were the underlying historical and cultural conditions that led to the invention and circulation of animation? What would be a heuristic and effective narrative mode to examine the transnational history of animation? In order to go beyond the narrow confines of area studies that often separate the treatment of Japanese animation from the Euro-American and/or Asian contexts, this course provides a comparative approach. The tripartite course begins by introducing canonical works of Japanese animated film (anime) and provides an overview of the state of field. The next session discusses historically important films (from Europe, US and China) which students examine along with the selected readings from animation theories. The final section explores, in addition to recent animated films, comics and graphic novels (Japan and Korea), which are vital media for understanding animation.

HSEA GU4027 Issues in Early Chinese Civilization
Feng Li
T 02:10pm-04:00, 522A Kent

Prerequisite UN1359: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic issues and problems in the study of early Chinese civilization, some theoretical and others methodological. Through the review of a long series of debates the course offers a quick entrance both to this early period of history and to these studies. Organized around problems, the course encourages critical thinking and contesting arguments and helps the students weigh different positions addressing the problems. By doing so, the course guides the students to search for frontline questions and to probe possible ways to solve the problems. The course deals with both the written records (inscriptional and textual) and the material evidence, and the student can well expect this course to serve as also updates of the most fascinating archaeological discoveries in China made in the past decades. The course is designed as an upper-level undergraduate and MA course; therefore, it is recommended that undergraduate students should take “ASCE UN1359: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China” before participating in this course. 

EARL GU4127 Meditations, Perceptions, Words: Poetry in Buddhist Literature
Dominique Townsend
T 06:10pm-08:00, 402 Hamilton

In this seminar students will read and analyze poetry from Buddhist cultures, including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan literary traditions. Our focus will be on poems that are emblematic of Buddhist themes such as impermanence, interdependence, perception of the present moment, and empathy. We will also read and discuss poems from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Islamic traditions to situate Buddhist poetry within a wider context of religious literature. Considering a broad scope of religious literature will allow students to analyze how poetic forms work to express common themes such as the nature of the self and the relationship to the divine. This course will focus on primary source materials in translation. Supplementary readings will introduce foundational Buddhist concepts and prompt consideration of literary critical questions specific to poetry. Our primary aim will be to pinpoint aspects of Buddhist philosophy that lend themselves particularly well to poetic expression.

EAAS GU4226 Gender, Class and Real Estate in Urbanizing China
Leta Hong Fincher
W 02:10pm-04:00, 401 Hamilton

This is a seminar for advanced undergraduates and master’s degree students, which explores the socioeconomic consequences of China’s development of a boom, urban residential real-estate market since the privatization of housing at the end of the 1990s. We will use the intersecting lenses of gender/sexuality, class and race/ethnicity to analyze the dramatic new inequalities created in arguably the largest and fastest accumulation of residential-real estate wealth in history. We will examine topics such as how skyrocketing home prices and state-led urbanization have created winners and losers based on gender, sexuality, class, race/ethnicity and location (hukou), as China strives to transform from a predominantly rural population to one that is 60 percent urban by 2020. We explore the vastly divergent effects of urban real-estate development on Chinese citizens, from the most marginaliz4d communities in remote regions of Tibet and Xinjiang to hyper-wealthy investors in Manhattan. Although this course has no formal prerequisites, it assumes some basic knowledge of Chinese history. If you have never taken a course on China before, please ask me for guidance on whether or not this class is suitable for you. The syllabus is preliminary and subject to change based on breaking news events and the needs of the class.

EARL GU4310 Life-Writing in Tibetan Buddhist Literature
Alexander Gardner
T 2:10pm-04:00, 402 Hamilton

This course engages the genre of life writing in Tibetan Buddhist culture, addressing the permeable and fluid nature of this important sphere of Tibetan literature. Through Tibetan biographies, hagiographies, and autobiographies, the class will consider questions about how life-writing overlaps with religious doctrine, philosophy, and history. For comparative purposes, we will read life writing from Western (and Japanese or Chinese) authors, for instance accounts of the lives of Christian saints, raising questions about the cultural relativity of what makes up a life’s story. Global Core.

HSEA GU4927 Unusual Geographies: Asia and the Making of an Inter-Regional World
Steffen Rimner
M 02:10pm-04:00, 402 Hamilton

How did Asians abroad contribute and respond to key challenges of international society and global politics from the 19th century to the present? This course offers a panoramic comparison of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese and Russian transnationalism, its promise as well as its perils. Through a combination of historical primary sources and interdisciplinary literature, we will discuss how adults, students and children engaged with transnational crises: planning revolutions overseas, experiencing expulsion, exile and other dilemmas. No prior historical knowledge is required; those with an incipient interest in migration, refugee studies and humanitarian disasters are particularly welcome.

HSEA GR5013 Selected Readings in Early Chinese Texts (Qinghua Manuscripts)
Feng Li
Th 02:10pm-04:00, 522A Kent

Description to come.

HSEA GR6009 Gender in Japanese History
Gregory Pflugfelder
M 04:10pm-06:00, 201D Philosophy

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.

CHNS GR6010 Pre-modern Chinese Fiction: Fiction & Empire II
Wei Shang
M 02:10pm-04:00, 522C Kent

Description to come.

EAAS GR6200 MA Workshop in East Asian History
Kim Brandt
M 02:10pm-04:00, 309 Hamilton

This graduate workshop focuses on the substance and practice of history writing about East Asia. It is intended for, and enrollment is limited to, Master’s Degree candidates in East Asian history in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Although there is no prerequisite, some prior knowledge of East Asian history is assumed. The instructor’s permission is required for registration.

EAAS GR6400 Critical Approaches to East Asia
Hikari Hori
Th 02:10pm-04:00, 522C Kent

This graduate seminar has two objectives: (1) to familiarize EALAC graduate students with the major paradigms of contemporary literary and cultural theory in order to generate critical contexts for understanding and analyzing East Asian literature and culture in a comparative framework; (2) to provide students with strategies for writing the MA thesis. The seminar takes up a wide but interrelated range of issues, including nationalism, colonialism, cultural translation, structuralism/poststructuralism, narrative theory, gender and sexuality, visual culture, postmodernism. This course is intended for, and restricted to graduate students in East Asian literature and cultural studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. It is a requirement for EALAC MA students in literary and cultural studies. Instructor’s permission is required for registration.

EARL GR6500 Topics in East Asian Buddhism
Bernard Faure
T 02:10pm-04:00, 112 Knox

Description to come.

EAAS GR8035 Lu Xun and Modern China
Lydia Liu
T 04:10pm-06:00, 522A Kent

Description to come.

HSEA GR8839 Graduate Colloquium in Modern Japanese History
Kim Brandt
W 02:10pm-04:00, 112 Knox

Description to come.

EAAS GR8861 Colloquium on Korean History to 1900
Jungwon Kim
M 04:10pm-06:00, 511 Kent

Description to come.

HIST GR8861 Industrial Revolutions
Madeline Zelin
W 04:10pm-06:00, 301M Fayerweather

An introduction for graduate students to major issues in the political economic history of early and late developing economies, focusing on comparative institutional, legal, and monetary/financial transformation.

HSEA GR8875 Early Modern China: Visual and Material Culture
Dorothy Ko
T 04:10pm-06:00, 522C Kent

Description to come.

JPNS GR8020 Graduate Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature
Paul Anderer
T 04:10pm-06:00, (Screening Th 06:00pm-09:00), 522D Kent

Description to come.

JPNS GR8040 Seminar in Premodern Japanese Literature
David Lurie
W 04:10pm-06:00, 522A Kent

Description to come.

EAAS GR8992 Histories of Chinese Cinema & Photography
Ying Qian
M 10:10am-12:00pm, 652 Schermerhorn

Pre-requisite: Intermediate to Advanced Chinese highly recommended. Description to come.