ASIA 150: An Introduction
This course serves as an introduction to the history, culture, politics, and arts of Asia. It begins by critiquing the very object of Asia as a discrete object of study. Understanding how Asia and the Middle East were created as an imaginary Other to Western Europe and Christendom provides a background against which to situate the politics and national histories of various Asian and Middle Eastern regions in the post-World War II landscape of postcolonialism. The postwar complexities of Asia are mapped from the power of petro-capitalism and the superpower contests of the Cold War shaping the Middle East, to globalization understood first through transnational political Islam and then through Japanese and Chinese economic power. Through fictional film, literature, and scholarship, Asia is then repositioned as a rich zone of memory and creative responses to modernity but also a figure often culturally misrepresented and racially distorted. The course returns to ask how Asia and the Middle East are constructed and how they can be known through different media and art practices created and deployed by people writing and working within a territorialized Asia or Middle East or within the embodied spaces of vast diasporas. SS, BN, GL.