Courses in English
ASIA 52 First-Year Seminar: Food in Chinese Culture (3). Examines the cultural practice and meanings of food, cooking, eating, and drinking through Chinese literature and cinema. Main themes include food and rituals, gourmandism and poetic taste, cannibalism and the grotesque, and hunger and revolution.
ASIA 53 First-Year Seminar: Israeli Popular Culture: The Case of Music (3). An introduction to Israeli popular culture, with a transnational and interdisciplinary frame. Focusing on Israeli popular music, embarking on a journey through different genres that represent the cultural richness developed since Zionism and going through the last two centuries, developing along the way a broad understanding of Israeli society.
ASIA 54 First-Year Seminar: The American Life of Japanese Women (3). Considers how American popular culture has portrayed Japanese women since the 1860s, asking what this reveals about changing American ideas of race, gender, and national identity.
ASIA 55 First-Year Seminar: Kung-Fu: The Concept of Heroism in Chinese Culture (3). Film, history, novels, and theater are used to explore the rich, complex kung-fu tradition in Chinese culture from ancient to modern times, as well as its appropriation in foreign films.
ASIA 56 First-Year Seminar: Writing Women in Modern China (WMST 56) (3). Compares the rhetoric of equality between the sexes presented by late Qing, May Fourth, and communist thinkers to perspectives on gender and society by 20th-century Chinese women writers.
ASIA 57 First-Year Seminar: Dis-Orienting the Orient (3). Examines how the East is constructed as the Orient in different historical periods: 19th-century European colonialism, 1950s to 1960s Hollywood films, contemporary Japanese animation, and the current global war on terrorism.
ASIA 58 First-Year Seminar: Chasing Madame Butterfly (3). Course explores diverse tales of Madame Butterfly from Puccini’s famous opera to productions of M. Butterfly and Miss Saigon, asking questions about constructions of race, gender, nation, travel, and romance.
ASIA 59 First-Year Seminar: Media Masala: Popular Music, TV, and the Internet in Modern India and Pakistan (3). Explores different examples of broadcast and digital media (music videos, soap operas and reality shows, radio and the internet) with respect to history, gender, sexuality, globalization, religion, regionalism, and activism.
ASIA 60 First-Year Seminar: Israeli Culture and Society: Collective Memories and Fragmented Identities (JWST 60) (3). The course explores selected themes and case studies pertinent to culture and society in modern Israel, with emphasis on debates about “Israeliness” in various cultural and social arenas.
ASIA 61 First-Year Seminar: India through the Lens of Master Filmmakers (3). Elements of Indian culture and history are illuminated through works chiefly in the art film genre. Basic film theory is also introduced to help students read the text of film.
ASIA 63 First-Year Seminar: Japanese Tea Culture (3). This seminar explores the history of tea culture in Japan, particularly the emergence in the 16th and 17th centuries of the ritualized practice often referred to in English as the “tea ceremony” (chanoyu). Practitioners included merchants, Buddhist monks, warlords, European Jesuits, and professional tea masters.
ASIA 64 First-Year Seminar: Arab World Photography (3). Introduces students to photography in the Arab world, including colonial and Orientalist photography, indigenous studio and portrait photography, the ethics of photographing disasters, art photography, and photography and revolutions.
ASIA 65 First-Year Seminar: Philosophy on Bamboo: Rethinking Early Chinese Thought (3). This course will introduce students to the main works and themes in early Chinese thought from the earliest recorded writings down to the Qin unification in 221 BCE.
ASIA 67 First-Year Seminar: Japanese Fashion: History and Culture (3). Explores fashion’s role in constructing class, gender, and nationhood in Japan, and appreciation of Japanese culture abroad through adaptation of Japanese fashions.
ASIA 69 First-Year Seminar: Wars and Veterans: Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan (PWAD 69) (3). In this seminar, we will explore the various ways that Iran-Iraq, United States-Iraq, and United States-Afghanistan wars have been portrayed in literature, film, and photography. We will deepen and enrich our understanding of war experienced by both veterans and civilians. We will also read articles on war criticism and psychology.
ASIA 70 First-Year Seminar: Narrating the Self: Autobiographies of Arab Intellectuals (3). This seminar explores the memoirs of prominent novelists, sociologists, feminists, and literary critics. We will explore central themes such as the relations between East and West; tradition and modernity; identity and difference; home and exile; masculine and feminine; sacred and profane; youth and adulthood; origins and becomings.
ASIA 72 First-Year Seminar: Transnational Korea: Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (3). This first-year seminar introduces students to the history of transnational imaginations in modern Korea. Using literature, film, and television, it explores the ways in which Korean cultural producers have used narratives of transnational travel and exchange to rethink Korea’s place in the world and refashion the bounds of Korean identity.
ASIA 89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course. Content will vary each semester.
ASIA 106 Israeli Popular Culture: The Case of Music (3). An introduction to Israeli popular culture, with a transnational and interdisciplinary frame. Focusing on Israeli music, exploring its different genres and the cultural richness developed since Zionism, reaching along the way a broad understanding of Israeli society. Students may not receive credit for both ASIA 53 and ASIA 106.
ASIA 122 Introduction to Iranian Culture (3). This course will examine the cultural identity of the country of Iran and its people, from its roots in antiquity to the modern day. Students develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions that have made Iran a significant and distinctive cultural arena for more than 3,000 years.
ASIA 124 Iranian Post-1979 Cinema (3). We examine the ways the medium has been used to incorporate political and social perspectives, challenge the government, and document the lives and struggles of Iranian people. Among the topics explored are Iranian culture and society, gender politics, ethnicity, attitudes about religion, role of children, and various schools of realism. Previously offered as ASIA 224.
ASIA 126 Introduction to Persian Literature (3). This course introduces students to Persian literature from classical to contemporary writers in translation to help them understand the efforts of the Iranian literati in addressing issues surrounding love, the sacred, human diversity, inclusiveness, and the rise of the modern nation-state in Iran through the use of literature.
ASIA 127 Iranian Women Writers (WGST 127) (3). This course introduces students to Iranian women’s issues through their literary works. To contextualize, we will read articles and essays on the historical, cultural, social, political, and economic backgrounds. In order to approach these literary works in a more effective manner, we will also be reading various secondary materials.
ASIA 131 Southeast Asia to the Early 19th Century (HIST 131) (3). The history of Southeast Asia from prehistory to “high imperialism.” Long-term political, economic, social, and religious developments, including Indianization, the impact of China, and the first contacts with Europeans.
ASIA 133 Introduction to Chinese History (HIST 133) (3). Chinese history from its beginnings to the present, organized around the central theme of how the identity of China and “Chineseness” was created.
ASIA 134 Modern East Asia (HIST 134, PWAD 134) (3). Comparative and interdisciplinary introduction to China and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on impact of the West, nation building, industrialization, and evolution of mass society.
ASIA 135 History of the Indian Subcontinent to 1750 (HIST 135) (3). An introduction to major political, religious, social, and cultural events from 3500 BCE to 1750 CE with a focus on Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist groups before British colonial rule.
ASIA 136 History of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: South Asia since 1750 (HIST 136) (3). This course is an introduction to modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We will investigate major political, social, economic, and cultural issues from 1750 to the present.
ASIA 138 History of Muslim Societies to 1500 (HIST 138) (3). A broad, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary introduction to the traditional civilization of the Muslim world.
ASIA 139 History of Muslim Societies since 1500 (HIST 139) (3). A broad interdisciplinary survey of the later Islamic empires since the 15th century and their successor societies in the modern Muslim world.
ASIA 150 Asia: An Introduction (3). The course introduces Asia’s historical, cultural, and political diversity by examining some of the global forces that have shaped Asian societies (e.g., colonialism, orientalism, and neoliberalism).
ASIA 151 Literature and Society in Southeast Asia (3). This course is an introduction to the societies of Southeast Asia through literature. Background materials and films will supplement the comparative study of traditional works, novels, short stories, and poems.
ASIA 152 Survey of South Asian Cultural History (3). Readings from diverse disciplines illuminate the broad features of South Asia throughout history. Topics include political history and social thought, including gender and caste, and religious and imaginative literature.
ASIA 153 Introduction to South Asian Art (ARTH 153) (3). An introductory survey of the visual arts of South Asia.
ASIA 154 Introduction to Art and Architecture of Islamic Lands (Eighth–16th Centuries CE) (ARTH 154) (3). This course introduces the arts of the Islamic lands from the seventh-century rise of the Umayyad dynasty of Syria to the 16th-century expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
ASIA 158 Introduction to East Asian Art and Architecture (ARTH 158) (3). This course traces the history of art and architecture in premodern East Asia, emphasizing ideas and ways of seeing and representing that were common or different across East Asia.
ASIA 163 Hindi-Urdu Poetry in Performance (3). This course examines the connection between poetry and performance in the context of Hindi-Urdu literature, particularly the genres of Sufi poetry (qawwali), Bhakti poetry, and the ghazal.
ASIA 164 Music of South Asia (MUSC 164) (3). This course provides a comprehensive overview of the music of South Asia, focusing on India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The entire spectrum of musical genres will be covered.
ASIA 180 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (RELI 180) (3). A broad, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary introduction to the traditional civilization of the Muslim world.
ASIA 181 Modern Muslim Societies (RELI 181) (3). This course surveys important developments in modern Muslim societies since the 16th century and up to the present. Topics covered include Muslim experiences with colonialism and nationalism, modernist reform movements, fundamentalism, women’s activism and changes in Qur’an interpretation, Islamic law, and religious practice.
ASIA 183 Asian Religions (RELI 183) (3). An introduction to major religions of South Asia and East Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism.
ASIA 228 Contested Souls: Literature, the Arts, and Religious Identity in Modern India (3). An analysis of how historical interactions between Hinduism and Islam have inspired the creation of philosophies and great works of literature and art that continue to inform Indian society today.
ASIA 229 Breakdancers, Vocaloids, and Gamers: East Asian Youth Cultures (3). Youth subcultural practices studied across East Asia. Course examines how young people create meaningful social worlds, from cosplay to skateboarding to video gaming communities. Considers how changes in consumerism, body image, education, and family produce a volatile landscape for youth along the Pacific Rim.
ASIA 231 Bollywood Cinema (3). This course explores the development of the Indian cinema, with particular emphasis on the Hindi-Urdu films produced in Mumbai (Bollywood).
ASIA 233 Drugs, Sex, and Sovereignty in East Asia, 1800-1945 (3). East Asia’s thousand-year superiority in global trade was lost when Britain began illegally selling massive amounts of opium in the 18th century, causing cultural and political changes in Japan and China. This course will analyze these changes in terms of sexuality and political sovereignty from 1800 until World War II.
ASIA 235 Israeli Cinema: Gender, Nation, and Ethnicity (JWST 235, PWAD 235) (3). The course explores major periods and trends in Israeli cinema. Focus is given to issues pertaining to gender, ethnicity, and the construction of national identity.
ASIA 240 Performance in Southeast Asia: Gongs, Punks, and Shadow Plays (MUSC 240) (3). The study and comparison of contemporary Southeast Asian performance genres (music, theatre, dance, ritual) in historical and cultural contexts.
ASIA 241 Asian Literature/Study Abroad Program (3–6). This course, taught in a study abroad program in Asia, will focus on topics related to Asian literature.
ASIA 242 Asian Fine Arts/Study Abroad Program (3–6). This course, taught in a study abroad program in Asia, will focus on topics related to Asian fine arts.
ASIA 243 Asian Societies/Study Abroad Program (3–6). This course, taught in a study abroad program in Asia, will examine Asian society from a social science perspective.
ASIA 244 Asian History/Study Abroad Program (3–6). This course, taught in a study abroad program in Asia, will focus on topics related to Asian history.
ASIA 251 Art in the Age of the Caliphs (ARTH 251) (3). Introduces the art and architecture of the caliphal period, concentrating on the seventh through 12th centuries (the “classical” period of Islamic art).
ASIA 252 Popular Culture in Modern Southeast Asia (CMPL 252) (3). This course examines popular culture in Southeast Asia as a response to colonialism, nationalism, modernization, the state, and globalization. Topics include theater, film, pop songs, television, rituals, and the Internet.
ASIA 255 The Feast in Film, Fiction, and Philosophy (CMPL 255) (3). Comparative and interdisciplinary study of feasting and its philosophical underpinnings, with special attention to the multiple purposes and nuances of food and feasting in literature, film, and the visual arts.
ASIA 256 Love in Classical Persian Poetry (CMPL 256) (3). We will examine the binaries of sacred and profane love, transgression and the law, self and the other, human diversity and inclusiveness in classical Persian poetry. We will explore the intersections of class, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. We will explore the poems inside their historical, cultural, and social contexts.
ASIA 258 Iranian Prison Literature (CMPL 258) (3). This course explores literature written in prisons, particularly under the Islamic Republic. Students will read documents to understand human rights (and violations thereof) from a historical perspective. Since literature, film, philosophy, and theory offer invaluable perspectives, we will examine their contributions in the reflection on human rights in Iran’s prisons.
ASIA 260 Languages of Southeast Asia (LING 260) (3). This course surveys languages spoken in Southeast Asia, an area rich in linguistic diversity, which is home to five distinct language families and well over 1,000 individual languages. Students will investigate the languages–in situ and in the diaspora–through the lens of descriptive linguistics, and will explore the social, cultural, and political aspects of languages in the region. This course is appropriate for students with an interest in linguistics or in Southeast Asia.
ASIA 261 India through Western Eyes (3). Examines Western views of India and Indian culture and how these views differ from the way Indians in India and Indian immigrants in the West understand themselves and express their relationship to India through novels and travelogues.
ASIA 262 Nation, Film, and Novel in Modern India (3). Focus on how modern Indian writers and filmmakers have represented the creation of an Indian national identity through such historical periods as British colonialism, the Rebellion of 1857, the Indian Independence Movement, the Partition, and the eras of national integration and globalization.
ASIA 265 Eastern Asia (GEOG 265) (3). Spatial structure of population, urbanization, agriculture, industrialization, and regional links in China, Japan, and Korea.
ASIA 266 Arts of Early and Medieval Asia (ARTH 266) (3). Required preparation, any introductory art history course or permission of the instructor. This course is an introduction to the visual culture of early and medieval India.
ASIA 267 South Asia (GEOG 267) (3). Introduces students to the geography of South Asia, including an overview of the physical environment, cultural practices, and economic development. Emphasizes the political geography of South Asia and political and social processes such as nationalism and colonialism that have played a formative role in the region.
ASIA 272 Modern South Asia (HIST 272) (3). Provides students with a critical understanding of the political, economic, and social dynamics of contemporary South Asia. Themes explored include the development (or lack of) democratic structures, continuing relevance of caste and religion, emergence of right wing movements, contesting representations of the past, and the prospects and challenges confronting the region.
ASIA 273 Arts under the Mughal Dynasty in India (ARTH 273) (3). Required preparation, any introductory art history course or permission of the instructor. This course explores the visual culture patronized by the Mughal dynasty in India from the 11th to the 17th centuries.
ASIA 276 The Modern Middle East (HIST 276) (3). This course introduces students to the recent history of the Middle East, including a comparison of the Middle East to the United States.
ASIA 277 The Conflict over Israel/Palestine (HIST 277, PWAD 277) (3). Explores the conflict over Palestine during the last 100 years. Surveys the development of competing nationalisms, the contest for resources and political control that led to the partition of the region, the war that established a Jewish state, and the subsequent struggles between conflicting groups for land and independence.
ASIA 280 Hindu Gods and Goddesses (RELI 280) (3). This courses focuses on the ways Hindu gods and goddesses are experienced in South Asia through analysis of literary works, including texts, film, comic books, performance, and ethnography. We will also examine key Hindu concepts (dharma, karma, and caste) in Hindu religious narratives. Honors version available.
ASIA 281 The Pacific War, 1937–1945: Its Causes and Legacy (HIST 281, PWAD 281) (3). An examination of the origins of the Pacific War, the course of this bitter and momentous conflict, and its complex legacy for both Asia and the United States.
ASIA 282 China in the World (HIST 282) (3). This course explores the evolution of China as a geopolitical entity from global perspectives, 1350 to the present.
ASIA 284 The Buddhist Tradition: East Asia (RELI 284) (3). An examination of the development of Buddhism after its importation to East Asia.
ASIA 285 The Buddhist Tradition: Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka (RELI 285) (3). This course explores the Theravada school of Buddhism and themes in the social, cultural, and political lives of the Theravada Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
ASIA 287 Modern Japan (HIST 287) (3). Covering the period from 1600 to 1900, this course examines the causes and impact of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, which marked the start of modern Japan.
ASIA 288 Japan in the 20th Century (HIST 288) (3). Topics include the Japanese Empire, the road to the Pacific War, defeat, the Allied occupation, Japan’s recovery from war, and development into a democracy and the world’s second largest economy.
ASIA 300 The Buddhist Tradition: India, Nepal, and Tibet (RELI 283) (3). Examines the diverse beliefs, practices, and cultures associated with Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, and Tibet. Topics include Buddhism’s development and spread, the cultural dynamics of Himalayan societies, monasticism, folk religion, revivalism, tourism, gender, globalization, and the role of the state in shaping Buddhist life and culture.
ASIA 301 Premodern Japanese Religions (RELI 286) (3). Historical survey of the major premodern religious traditions in Japan: Shinto, Buddhism, Shugendo, and Christianity.
ASIA 302 Modern Japanese Religions (RELI 287) (3). Survey of the major religious traditions in modern and contemporary Japan: Shinto, Buddhism, and the New Religions.
ASIA 303 Chinese Religions (RELI 288) (3). Historical introduction to Chinese religions: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and folk religion.
ASIA 304 Sex, Religion, and Violence: Revolutionary Thought in Modern South Asia (HIST 331) (3). Which of the following would you consider potentially political issues: celibacy; semen retention; body-building; depiction of gods/goddesses; or bomb making? Well, they all are. This course examines debates over sex, religion, and violence that constituted a key part of revolutionary thought and anti-colonial struggles in modern South Asia.
ASIA 329. Middle East Women Writers (WGST 329) (3). We examine works written by Middle Eastern women. We will begin with reading speeches and short stories in the 1860s. We will focus on topics such as Middle Eastern women and feminism and the West; women and nationalism; women and colonialism; women and patriarchy; women, sexuality, and religion.
ASIA 330 Melancholy Japan: Myth, Memory, and Everyday Life (ANTH 330) (3). Ethnographic study of the profound social and cultural transformations that accompanied the capitalist modernization of Japan. Considers the emergence of native ethnology and state interventions into everyday life.
ASIA 331 Cracking India: Partition and Its Legacy in South Asia (PWAD 331, HIST 335) (3). What happened when the British carved Pakistan out of the Muslim-dominated corners of India? Readings and films focus on the causes and consequences of this event, the Partition of India.
ASIA 332 The Story of Rama in India (3). Centered on the story of the Hindu god Rama, this course explores Valmiki’s Ramayana, alternate versions of the story, its performance in theatre, and its role in politics. Students may not receive credit for both ASIA 332 and 382.
ASIA 333 The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined (3). This course offers an introduction to the Sanskrit Mahabharata as well as modern retellings of the epic in contemporary literature, film, and theatre of India. Students may not receive credit for both ASIA 333 and 383.
ASIA 350 The Asian American Experience (AMST 352) (3). The course addresses the history and sociology of Asian immigration and experience in the United States, as well as the formation of diasporic identities among Asian Americans.
ASIA 357 The Arab-Jews: Culture, Community, and Coexistence (JWST 357, PWAD 362) (3). This course is designed to examine Jewish life in Arab lands in the last century by examining culture, language, and the communal life that the Arab-Jews shared with their neighbors.
ASIA 358 Religion and Tradition in Israeli Cinema, TV, and Literature (3). This research-intensive course focuses on the ways religion and religious practices are represented in Israeli literature and media. The greater part of the semester will explore the variety of religious traditions in Israel within the framework of Zionist thought, gender and sexuality issues, and ethnic differences.
ASIA 359 Literary Diasporas of the Middle East (CMPL 359) (3). Analyzing the relationship between the diaspora communities and their new surroundings by drawing on theories of migration, narration, and identity, we will examine the literature born out of this discourse. We will shed light on the historical, cultural, and aesthetic value of this literary production in the Middle East.
ASIA 360 Contemporary Asian American Literature and Theory (ENGL 360) (3). This course will explore contemporary Asian American literature and theory and will examine how Asian American literature fits into, yet extends beyond, the canon of American literature.
ASIA 365 Chinese Diaspora in the Asia Pacific (ANTH 365) (3). This course is an examination of the histories, social organization, and cultures of the Chinese diaspora in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on contemporary issues in the cultural politics and identities of “overseas Chinese.” Previously offered as ANTH/ASIA 578.
ASIA 375 Memory, Massacres, and Monuments in Southeast Asia (ANTH 375) (3). The past in Southeast Asia’s present, focusing on global, national, and local processes; individual and collective memory; and the legacies of violent death.
ASIA 379 Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction (CMPL 379) (3). Cross-cultural definitions of heroism, individualism, and authority in film and fiction, with emphasis on tales or images that have been translated across cultures. Includes films of Ford, Kurosawa, and Visconti.
ASIA 380 Almost Despicable Heroines in Japanese and Western Literature (CMPL 380, WMST 380) (3). Authors’ use of narrative techniques to create the separation between heroines and their fictional societies and sometimes also to alienate readers from the heroines. Austen, Flaubert, Ibsen, Arishima, Tanizaki, Abe.
ASIA 381 Religions of South Asia (RELI 381) (3). Exploration of the major religious traditions of South Asia. Focuses on the beliefs and practices associated with different traditions, and the ways that these relate to one another and to broader political, historical, and cultural formations. Also addresses questions of modernization, reform, communal violence, and other transformations of religious life.
ASIA 382 The Story of Rama in Indian Culture–Experiential (RELI 382) (3). Centered on the story of the Hindu god Rama, this course explores Valmiki’s Ramayana, alternate versions of the story, its performance in theater, and its role in politics. Students will work outside of class to perform in a theatrical event called Ramlila, open to the public. Students may not receive credit for both ASIA 332 and 382.
ASIA 383 The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined–Experiential (RELI 383) (3). This course offers an introduction to the Sanskrit Mahabharata as well as modern retellings of the epic in contemporary literature, film, and theater of India. Students will work outside to class to stage a modern play based on the Mahabharata, open to the public. Students may not receive credit for both ASIA 333 and 383.
ASIA 384 Religion and Globalization in Southeast Asia (RELI 384) (3). How does globalization affect religious life? How do historical, cultural, and religious traditions mediate the experience of globalization in particular locales? This course analyzes the forces and practices associated with political-economic and cultural globalization in Southeast Asia and explores the religious transformations and innovations that these processes have inspired.
ASIA 386 Dance and Embodied Knowledge in the Indian Context (COMM 386, RELI 386) (3). In this theory-practice course focusing on religion, performance, and South Asian studies we will analyze the nature of embodied knowledge, aesthetic theory, and the creative power of dance performance in the Indian context. The course also includes a practical component involving embodied experience with Indian classical dance forms.
ASIA 387 Disciplining the Body and Mind: The Martial Arts of East Asia in Religion, History, and Culture (COMM 387, RELI 387) (3). This course offers an introduction to the history and practice of East Asian martial arts. We will explore the social, political, and cultural contexts of the martial arts, from the classical period to the present. Integral to this course is a practical component involving embodied experience with martial arts training.
ASIA 390 Seminar in Asian Studies (3). Permission of the instructor. When offered, the topic will vary with the instructor. The class will be limited to a seminar size.
ASIA 425 Beyond Hostilities: Israeli-Palestinian Exchanges and Partnerships in Film, Literature, and Music (JWST 425, PWAD 425) (3). Focuses on the various collaborations, exchanges, and mutual enrichment between Israelis and Palestinians in the realm of culture, particularly literature and cinema. These connections include language (Israeli Jewish authors writing in Arabic and Palestinian writers who choose Hebrew as their language of expression), collaborating in filmmaking, and joint educational initiatives.
ASIA 427 Cold War Culture in East Asia: Transnational and Intermedial Connections (CMPL 527, PWAD 427) (3). This course introduces students to the specific contours that the Cold War accrued in East Asia. Focusing on literature and film, it explores what the fall of the Japanese Empire and the emergence of the post-1945 world meant across the region.
ASIA 429 Culture and Power in Southeast Asia (ANTH 429, FOLK 429) (3). The formation and transformation of values, identities, and expressive forms in Southeast Asia in response to forms of power. Emphasis on the impact of colonialism, the nation-state, and globalization.
ASIA 431 Persian Sufi Literature (3). This course aims to explore Persian Sufism, its foundation, Sufi practices and doctrines, and Sufi themes in literature. By looking at its development, we will examine the nature of Sufism, the controversies and debates, and the influence of Sufism on the literary dimension of the Islamic world.
ASIA 435 The Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa (CMPL 535, PWAD 435) (3). This course explores the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts in which films are made and exhibited and focuses on shared intraregional cinematic trends pertaining to discourse, aesthetics, and production.
ASIA 436 Language, Exile, and Homeland in Zionist Thought and Practice (JWST 436) (3). Employing Zionist and post- and anti-Zionist documents, treatises, and mostly literary and cinematic texts, this class will focus on the relations between language, Jewish-Israeli identity, and the notion of homeland. Previously offered as HEBR 436.
ASIA 440.Gender in Indian History (HIST 440) (3). An analysis of the roles of women and men in Indian societies from the early to the modern periods. Topics include the cultural construction of gender and sexuality; beauty and bodily practices; gender and religion; gender and politics; race, imperialism, and gender. Previously offered as HIST/ASIA 556.
ASIA 441 Religion, Co-existence, and Conflict in Pre-Colonial India (HIST 442) (3). This course traces the fascinating history of material, cultural, and theological exchanges and conflicts between individuals belonging to two of the world’s major religions: Hinduism and Islam. Throughout the course we will also analyze how modern commentators have selectively used the past to inform their understandings of the present. Previously offered as HIST/ASIA 555.
ASIA 442 Postcolonial Literature of the Middle East (CMPL 442) (3). This course introduces students to postcolonial literature and theory. The main focus in the course is on literary texts and literary analysis. However, we will use postcolonial theory to engage critically with the primary texts within a postcolonial framework. We will explore language, identity, physical and mental colonization, and decolonization.
ASIA 445 Asian Religions in America (RELI 445) (3). A study of intercultural interaction and interreligious encounter focusing on Asian religions in America, 1784 to the present.
ASIA 447 Gender, Space, and Place in the Middle East (GEOG 447) (3). Examines gender, space, and place relationships in the modern Middle East. Investigates shifting gender geographies of colonialism, nationalism, modernization, and globalization in this region.
ASIA 453 Global Shangri-La: Tibet in the Modern World (3). An examination of the history, society, and culture of modern Tibet and its imagination in the context of international politics and from a multidisciplinary perspective.
ASIA 456 Art and Visual Culture of South Asia (ARTH 456) (3). Required preparation, any intermediate art history course or permission of the instructor. This thematic course explores how objects and monuments are viewed, experienced, and used in a ritual context in South Asia.
ASIA 458 Islamic Palaces, Gardens, and Court Culture (Eighth–16th Centuries CE) (ARTH 458) (3). Prerequisite, ARTH 154. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. This course focuses on palaces, gardens, and court cultures beginning with the eighth-century Umayyad period and ending with the 16th-century reigns of the Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman dynasties.
ASIA 468 Visual Arts and Culture in Modern and Contemporary China (ARTH 468) (3). This course examines visual materials, including those from fine arts, commerce, popular culture, political propaganda, avant-garde movements, etc., produced in modern and contemporary China as an important means of defining China’s self-identity in the modern and global world.
ASIA 469 Western and Asian Economic Systems (ECON 469) (3). Prerequisite, ECON 310 or 410. Policy seminar on the systemic factors distinguishing Western economies from their rivals in the former Soviet bloc and Asia, focused on conflict resolution and global integration.
ASIA 471 Gender and Sexuality in Middle Eastern Literature (WGST 471) (3). We examine gender and sexuality in literature written by various authors from the Middle East. Our discussions will focus on the significance of sexuality, harems, same-sex desire and homosexuality, construction of female sexuality, masculinity, contraception and abortion, the institution of marriage, gay/lesbian underground subcultures, and social media as sexual outlet.
ASIA 481 Rhetoric of Silence: Cross-Cultural Theme and Technique (CMPL 481) (3). The uses of literary silence for purposes such as protest, civility, joy, oppression, nihilism, awe, or crisis of representation. Authors include Sterne, Goethe, Austen, Kawabata, Soseki, Oe, Toson, Camus, Mann.
ASIA 482 Sex, Gender, and Religion in South Asia (RELI 482, WGT 482) (3). This seminar draws on feminist and philosophical theory, including the works of Plato, Butler, and Foucualt, as well as postcolonial theory, to explore the categories of sex and gender in South Asian religions. We also analyze the moral cultivation of the self in relation to gender identity in South Asia.
ASIA 483 Cross-Currents in East-West Literature (CMPL 483) (3). The study of the influence of Western texts upon Japanese authors and the influence of conceptions of “the East” upon Western writers. Goldsmith, Voltaire, Soseki, Sterne, Arishima, Ibsen, Yoshimoto, Ishiguro.
ASIA 486 Literary Landscapes in Europe and Japan (CMPL 486) (3). Changing understandings of nature across time and cultures, especially with regard to its human manipulation and as portrayed in novels of Japan and Europe. Rousseau, Goethe, Austen, Abe, Mishima.
ASIA 487 Mountains, Pilgrimage, and Sacred Places in Japan (RELI 487) (3). This course explores the role that mountains and pilgrimage have played in Japanese cosmology and how they relate to methodology of studying place and space.
ASIA 488 Shinto in Japanese History (RELI 488) (3). This course discusses the development of Shinto in Japanese history and covers themes such as myths, syncretism, sacred sites, iconography, nativism, religion and the state, and historiography.
ASIA 489 Animals in Japanese Religion (RELI 489). Permission of the instructor. This course examines the cultural construction of animals in Japanese myth, folklore, and religion.
ASIA 490 Advanced Topics in Asian Studies (1–4). The course topic will vary with the instructor.
ASIA 496 Independent Readings (1–3). Permission of the department. For the student who wishes to create and pursue a project in Asian studies under the supervision of a selected instructor. Course is limited to three credit hours per semester.
ASIA 522 The Beauty and the Power of the Classical Indian World (3). This course combines readings in representative literary cultures in Sanskrit and several other literary languages from India’s classical period (circa 300 BCE to 1200 CE) in translation, emphasizing kavya or poetry and related aesthetic theories, with scholarly readings on Sanskrit poetics, and the literary and political history of the period. Seminar format.
ASIA 536 Revolution in the Modern Middle East (HIST 536) (3). This course will focus on revolutionary change in the Middle East during the last century, emphasizing internal social, economic, and political conditions as well as international contexts.
ASIA 537 Women in the Middle East (HIST 537, WMST 537) (3). Explores the lives of women in the Middle East and how they have changed over time. Focus will change each year.
ASIA 538 The Middle East and the West (HIST 538) (3). This course explores changing interactions between the Middle East and the West, including trade, warfare, scientific exchange, and imperialism, and ends with an analysis of contemporary relations in light of the legacy of the past.
ASIA 539 The Economic History of Southeast Asia (HIST 539) (3). This course is intended as a broad overview of Southeast Asian economic history from premodern times to the present day.
ASIA 545 The Politics of Culture in East Asia (ANTH 545) (3). Examines struggles to define culture and the nation in 20th-century China in domains like popular culture, museums, traditional medicine, fiction, film, ethnic group politics, and biography and autobiography.
ASIA 555 Religion, Coexistence, and Conflict in Medieval India (HIST 555) (3). This course traces the fascinating history of material, cultural, and theological exchanges and conflicts between individuals belonging to two of the world’s major religions: Hinduism and Islam. Throughout the course we will also analyze how modern commentators have selectively used the past to inform their understandings of the present.
ASIA 556 Gender in Indian History (HIST 556) (3). An analysis of the roles of women and men in Indian societies from the early to the modern periods. Topics include the cultural construction of gender and sexuality; beauty and bodily practices; gender and religion; gender and politics; race, imperialism, and gender.
ASIA 557 Fiction and History in India (HIST 557) (3). This course examines the histories, representations, and cultural perceptions surrounding bandits and rebels in modern India. The representations of bandits and rebels are studied in the light of the emergence of nationalism, shifting notions of gender and masculinity, race relations, and emergence of capitalist structures.
ASIA 561 Art and Society in Medieval Islamic Spain and North Africa (ARTH 561) (3). Prerequisite, ARTH 154. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. This course introduces the art and architecture of medieval Islamic Spain and North Africa between the eighth and 16th centuries.
ASIA 570 The Vietnam War (HIST 570, PWAD 570) (3). A wide-ranging exploration of America’s longest war, from 19th-century origins to 1990s legacies, from village battlegrounds to the Cold War context, from national leadership to popular participation and impact.
ASIA 574 Chinese World Views (ANTH 574, RELI 574) (3). Explores the indigenous Chinese sciences and the cosmological ideas that informed them. Topics include astronomy, divination, medicine, fengshui, and political and literary theory. Chinese sources in translation are emphasized.
ASIA 581 Sufism (RELI 581) (3). Permission of the instructor. A survey of Islamic mysticism, its sources in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, and its literary, cultural, and social deployment in Arab, Persian, Indic, and Turkish regions.
ASIA 582 Islam and Islamic Art in South Asia (RELI 582) (3). A survey of the formation of Islamic traditions in the subcontinent from the eighth century to the present, with emphasis on religion and politics, the role of Sufism, types of popular religion, and questions of Islamic identity.
ASIA 583 Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500–Present (RELI 583) (3). Iran from the rise of the Safavid empire to the Islamic Republic. Topics include Shi’ism, politics, intellectual and sectarian movements, encounters with colonialism, art and architecture, music, literature.
ASIA 584 The Qur’an as Literature (RELI 584) (3). A nontheological approach to the Qur’an as a literary text, emphasizing its history, form, style, and interpretation.
ASIA 586 The Gardens, Shrines, and Temples of Japan (ANTH 586) (3). The religious landscape and built environments of Japan. Attention to palace, courtyard, and teahouse architecture and gardens, with emphasis on Shinto shrines and the Zen Buddhist temple and garden.
ASIA 681 Readings in Islamicate Literatures (ARAB 681, RELI 681) (3). Permission of the instructor. Study of selected religious, literary, and historical texts in Arabic, Persian, or Urdu.
ASIA 682 Contemporary Chinese Society (ANTH 682) (3). Presents recent anthropological research on the People’s Republic of China. In addition to social sciences sources, fictional genres are used to explore the particular modernity of Chinese society and culture.
ASIA 691H Senior Honors Thesis I (3). Permission of the department. Required for honors students in Asian studies.
ASIA 692H Senior Honors Thesis II (3). Permission of the department. Required for honors students in Asian studies.
ARAB–Arab World (in English)
ARAB 150 Introduction to Arab Cultures (3). Introduction to the cultures of the Arab world and of the Arabs in diasporas: art, literature, film, music, dance, food, history, religion, folklore, etc.
ARAB 151 Arabic Literature through the Ages (3). Introduces the rich literary heritage of the Arabic language from pre-Islamic to modern times and covers major genres. Emphasis on critical thinking, literary analysis, and academic writing.
ARAB 250 Introduction to the Languages of Morocco (3). This English-language course introduces students to the sociolinguistic and cultural developments that shape the linguistic map of Morocco. It also analyzes the speakers’ attitudes toward the use of the different linguistic varieties (Arabic, Moroccan, French, Spanish, Tamazight) and their pragmatic reasons for activating them.
ARAB 253 Contemporary Moroccan Literature (3). This course introduces students to key aspects of Moroccan history, society, and culture through literary and cinematic texts produced since the country’s independence. The close reading of these works helps students engage with the social, economic, cultural, and political transformations that have shaped modern Morocco.
ARAB 321 Visions of Emancipation in Modernist Arab Thought (3). This course examines key questions that animated Arab intellectuals in the past century and the diverse intellectual and political traditions–such as Liberalism, Arab Nationalism, and Marxism–that they engaged with. We will read theoretical treatises, newspaper articles, political party tracts, and interviews with leading thinkers and politicians.
ARAB 337 Borders and Walls in the Arab World (3). Can art, film, and literature undo cultural, social, and political divisions created by borders and walls in the Arab world? Cannot be taken for credit by students who have taken ARAB 338.
ARAB 338 Borders and Walls in the Arab World–Experiential (3). Can art, film, and literature undo cultural, social, and political divisions created by borders and walls in the Arab world? Includes service learning. Cannot be taken for credit by students who have taken ARAB 337.
ARAB 350 Women and Leadership in the Arab World (3). A service-learning, study abroad course focusing on women and leadership in the Arab world. Topics include women and religion, family, community and selfhood, citizenship and legal rights, and politics.
ARAB 434 Modern Arabic Literature in Translation (3). Course treats a variety of themes and genres of Arabic literature from the mid-20th century to the present.
ARAB 443 Dissident Voices in Arab Cultures (3). Examines alternative interpretations of Arab history, culture, and identity that challenge our understanding of contemporary Arab cultures. Traces how Arab writers and filmmakers simultaneously engage and subvert questions of identity and representation.
ARAB 452 Imagining Palestine (PWAD 452) (3). Explores how Palestine is portrayed in writings, films, and other creative works and how Palestinian portrayals of homeland affect others’ perceptions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Arab World.
ARAB 453 Film, Nation, and Identity in the Arab World (3). Introduction to history of Arab cinema from 1920s to present. Covers film industries in various regions of the Arab world and transnational Arab film. All materials and discussion in English.
ARAB 462 Global Perspectives on Arab Cultures and Societies (3). We will focus on anthropological and historical works that unearth veins of research on the Arab world whose horizons transcend the frontiers of nation-states and the boundaries of religious traditions. We will read works which explore lives, ideas, practices, and institutions through situating them within global processes.
CHIN–China (in English)
CHIN 150 Introduction to Chinese Civilization (3). A course designed to introduce students to the Chinese world of past and present. Chinese civilization is explored from a variety of perspectives: political, social, cultural, intellectual, and economic.
CHIN 231 Chinese Literature in Translation through the T’ang (3). A survey of Chinese literature from the classical period to the end of the T’ang dynasty (906 CE).
CHIN 232 Chinese Literature in Translation since the Sung (3). A survey of Chinese literature from the Sung Dynasty to 1949.
CHIN 242 Chinese Qin Music (3). This course offers students an opportunity to learn the aesthetics, culture, and history of qin, and study the music through learning the beginning levels of qin pieces.
CHIN 244 Introduction to Modern Chinese Culture through Cinema (3). This course uses select feature and documentary films, supplemented by texts of critical and creative literature, to introduce students to a broad overview of modern China since the mid-19th century, focusing on the major events that have shaped a turbulent course of decline, revolution, and resurgence.
CHIN 252 Introduction to Chinese Culture through Narrative (3). This course shows how Chinese historical legends define and transmit the values, concepts, figures of speech, and modes of behavior that constitute Chinese culture.
CHIN 253 Chinese Language and Society (3). Prerequisite, CHIN 102 or 111. Chinese language in social, cultural, historical, and political contexts in China. Topics include basic linguistic features, dialects, writing, literacy, and language reform in the era of modernization and globalization.
CHIN 255 Bandit or Hero: Outlawry in Chinese Literature and Films (3). This course explores the idea of outlaws as hero in the 16th-century kung-fu novel Outlaws of the Marsh and its influence on modern kung-fu and gangster films.
CHIN 342 The Rise of China: A Global and Multidisciplinary Approach (3). The rise of China has altered the economic and political order of the post–Cold War world. This course examines the historical context and trajectory of China’s rise, its internal dynamics, and the challenges it poses to the rest of the world.
CHIN 346 History as Fiction or Fiction as History? Early Chinese History in Film and Literature (3). Through analysis of the role movies play in the formation of popular perceptions of the past, this course provides an introduction to the history of the Qin and Han dynasties.
CHIN 354 Chinese Culture through Calligraphy (3). Prerequisite, CHIN 102 or 111. For second-language Chinese learners without calligraphy experience. Includes cultural, historical, and linguistic knowledge about Chinese calligraphy; basic brush writing skills; structure and composition of Chinese characters; how to assemble a calligraphy artwork. Lecture followed by studio session of writing practice. Taught in English and Chinese.
CHIN 356 Chinese Environmental Literature (3). Introduces students to Chinese and Taiwanese cultural understandings of human relations to the natural environment. Analyzes classical and modern environmental literature (poetry, essays, fiction, and philosophy) and evaluates how contemporary building practices, governmental policies, and green technologies may be influenced by diverse Chinese philosophical traditions.
CHIN 361 Chinese Traditional Theater (3). This course introduces traditional Chinese theater from its earliest development to modern times by examining the interrelation of its elements–music, dance, poetry, and illustration–with performance footage, visual art, and dramatic texts.
CHIN 367 Illustration and the Animation of Text (3). This course examines illustration as both a form of literary criticism and a narrative tradition in its own right.
CHIN 463 Narrative Ethics in Modern China (3). By exploring intersections of the narrative and the normative, this course considers relations between text, ethics, and everyday life in 20th-century China by reading texts on aesthetics.
CHIN 464 The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (3). This course analyzes historical changes of the city through examining the individual, national, and global identity of Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong as reflected in their histories, politics, built environment, ethos, language, and culture.
CHIN 531 The Chinese Zither in Poetry and Painting (3). This course explores zither as a cultural locus of traditional China and contemplates the relations between musical and poetic expressions, abstract musical and visual representation, and word and image.
CHIN 551 Chinese Poetry in Translation (3). Selected topics in Chinese poetry concentrating on one period or one genre.
CHIN 552 Chinese Prose in Translation (3). Selected topics in Chinese fiction, historical writing, and prose belles lettres, concentrating on one period or one genre.
CHIN 562 Contemporary Chinese Urban Culture and Arts (3). This course analyzes contemporary Chinese urban art, architecture, cinema, and fiction to elucidate dynamics between the built environment and subjectivity. Students analyze how social, economic, and political factors shape environments, and debate whether new urban spaces create social conflict or new civil possibilities.
CHIN 563 Post-Mao Chinese Literature in Translation (3). A study of Chinese literature since 1977, its historical context in the New Era of reform, and influences from modern Western literature.
HNUR–India/Pakistan (in English)
HNUR 592 Religious Conflict and Literature in India (RELI 592) (3). Historical causes of violence between Hindus and Muslims in modern India. Short stories, poetry, and novels in translation are used to explore how conflicts over religious sites, religious conversion, image worship, and language contributed to a sense of conflicting religious identity.
JAPN–Japan (in English)
JAPN 150 Introduction to Japanese Culture (3). Introduces students to major periods, themes, and issues in Japanese culture and history, from prehistoric times to the present.
JAPN 160 Introduction to Japanese Literature in Translation (3). The major genres, aesthetic concepts, and classic and modern works of Japanese literature in English translation.
JAPN 161 Geisha in History, Fiction, and Fantasy (3). Explores the artistic traditions of Japanese performers known as geisha. Sources include woodblock prints, novels, photographs, academic studies, and popular Japanese and American films.
JAPN 162 Japanese Popular Culture (3). This course will examine how and why Tokyo emerged as a dominant locale in global mass culture. Students will be introduced to major figures and genres in Japanese pop culture.
JAPN 231 Ancient and Medieval Japanese History and Culture (HIST 271) (3). This survey examines Japanese history from early times to the Tokugawa settlement of 1603. We will consider the archaeology of prehistoric Japan; the first great capitals at Nara and Heian; the rise of the samurai; and the tenuous medieval balance of power between the court, warrior government, and Buddhist institutions.
JAPN 246 Early Modern Japanese History and Culture (HIST 247) (3). This course focuses on Japan’s early modern period (1600–1868) and explores the historicism of the artist Hon’ami Koetsu; the status system and village life; the writings of Matsuo Basho; dramatic culture and the life of the city; and the interplay between sex, gender, and commerce.
JAPN 261 Japanese Theater (3). Explores the major forms of classical Japanese theater (Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku), modern innovations in dramatic art, and contemporary reinventions of the classical theater in Japanese animated film.
JAPN 277 Empire of Sex: Eroticism, Mass Culture, and Geopolitics in Japan, 1945–Present (3). Tokyo, Japan, became the center of global pornographic culture after the United States occupation ended in 1952. This course will use film, animation, and historical texts to try to understand how and why this happened. Moreover, we will identify how this phenomenon impacted the lives of Japanese men and women.
JAPN 363 Samurai, Monks, and Pirates: History and Historiography of Japan’s Long 16th Century (HIST 370) (3). This course will examine Japan’s long 16th century. Introduces students to the history of, and historiographical problems with the representation of, some of the most fascinating characters in Japanese history, including pirates, warlords, tea masters, Jesuit monks, Buddhist priests, and peripatetic artists.
JAPN 375 The Culture of Modern, Imperial Japan, 1900–1945 (3). This course will examine the various expressions of cultural modernity in Japan with a focus on film, literature, and popular culture from 1900 to the end of the Pacific War.
JAPN 381 Women and Work in Japan (WGST 381) (3). Examines construction of traditional women’s roles in Japan and feminist challenges to them by exploring various aspects of “women’s work.” Interdisciplinary readings consider law, social custom, media representations, and feminist activism.
JAPN 384 Women Writers in Japanese Society (WGST 384) (3). Examines Japanese literature and culture through fiction and poetry by women. Explores ideas in contemporary feminist criticism in Japan and the West as a means to read Japanese women’s writing.
JAPN 451 Swords, Tea Bowls, and Woodblock Prints: Exploring Japanese Material Culture (3). This course surveys Japanese material culture. Each week we will examine a different genre of visual or material culture in terms of its production, circulation through time and space, and modern deployment in narratives of national identity. This course includes regular engagement with the Ackland Art Museum at UNC.
JAPN 482 Embodying Japan: The Cultures of Beauty, Sports, and Medicine in Japan (3). Explores Japanese culture and society through investigating changing concepts of the human body. Sources include anthropological and history materials, science fiction, and film.
JAPN 563 Structure of Japanese (LING 563) (3). Prerequisite, JAPN 102 or LING 101. Introductory linguistic description of modern Japanese. For students of linguistics with no knowledge of Japanese and students of Japanese with no knowledge of linguistics.
KOR–Korea (in English)
KOR 150 History, Memory, and Reality in Contemporary Korea (3). This course will provide an introduction to Korean studies and examine contemporary issues in Korean society and culture through social and cultural movements, multiple genres of texts, and artistic manifestations.
KOR 151 Education and Social Changes in Contemporary Korea (3). This course will provide an introduction to Korean studies and examine contemporary issues in Korean society through policies and systems in education, social and cultural trends and phenomena, and globalism.
KOR 232 Imagining the City in Modern Korea: Text, Image, Space (CMPL 232) (3). This course introduces students to modern Korea through the lens of the city. It explores the changing shape of urban space on the Korean peninsula as well as the central role that visions of the city and of city life have played in the development of modern Korean literature, television, and film.
KOR 237 Rebel, Lover, Martyr: Gender and Sexuality in North and South Korean Screen Cultures (CMPL237, WGST 237) (3). This course introduces students to the history of North and South Korean film and television through the lens of gender and sexuality. In so doing, it explores the multiple forms of the Korean self and the diverse shapes that Korean identity has taken across the modern and contemporary eras.
KOR 327 Korean Diasporas (3). This course will explore multiple contexts of the Korean diaspora such as historical, political, social, and educational contexts. Examines uniqueness and commonalities among various Korean diasporic communities around the world.
KOR 346 Body Politics in Modern Korean Literature (CMPL 246) (3). This course surveys twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Korean literature through the lens of representations of the body. Bringing together works of fiction, poetry, drama, and secondary scholarship, it explores how modern Korean literature has imagined the body, defined its multiple natures and identities, and delineated its shifting boundaries. Honors version available.
KOR 447 Documenting Diasporas: Korean Diasporas in Films and Documentaries (CMPL 547) (3). In this course, we will explore the multiple, shifting, and often contested diasporic subjectivities represented and produced in Korean diaspora cinemas; these subjectivities encompass various Korean diaspora communities in Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and the Americas.