FRESHMEN SEMINAR

FRSEMR 71D: Zen and the Art of Living: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

James Robson

This seminar explores the rich history, philosophy and practices of Zen Buddhism as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan. We will first consider the emergence of the Zen tradition out of the Buddhist tradition and then explore the full range of its most distinctive features (Zen monastic meditation), cultural practices (painting, calligraphy, and poetry), and radical—even iconoclastic—innovations (such as the use of kōans, which are seemingly nonsensical sayings that defy rationality). We will also critically evaluate some less well-known facets of the Zen tradition, such as gender issues, the veneration of mummified masters, and the question of how Zen was implicated in modern nationalistic movements in Japan during World War II.

 

 

COURSES PRIMARILY FOR UNDERGRADUATES

 

Literature and Culture

AESTHINT 63: East Asian Cinema

Jie Li

This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of East Asian cinema from the silent era to the present, including films from Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will discuss issues ranging from formal aesthetics to historical representation, from local film industries to transnational audience reception.

 

Philosophy

ETHRSON 18: Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory

Michael Puett

What is the best way to live a fuller and more ethical life? Concretely what should we do to begin to live in a more flourishing and inspiring way? Questions such as these were at the heart of philosophical debates in China. The answers that classical Chinese thinkers developed in response to these questions are among the most powerful in human history. Regardless of whether one agrees with them or not, they should be studied and taken seriously by anyone who cares about ethics, politics, and the ways to live life more fully.

 

Government

EASTD 98D: Junior Tutorial–The Political Economy of Modern China

Nara Dillon

Description:Junior Tutorial for students with an interest in China Social Sciences. This course will focus on the political economy of reform in the post-Mao period. After learning about theories of democratization, some of the topics covered include the 1989 Tiananmen protests, the rise of entrepreneurs, the role of labor, rural-urban migration, the internet, and nationalism.

 

GOV 94IA: Sino-US Relations in an Era of Rising Chinese Power

Alastair Iain Johnston

In this course we examine a range of issues in US-China relations including popular images of the other, differences in ideology and regime type, security competition and cooperation, trade and investment, and environmental cooperation. We assess the arguments and evidence for changing levels of conflict and cooperation between China and the US in these different domains.

 

History

SOCWORLD 12: CHINA: Past, Present, and Future

Peter Bol and William Kirby

Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and infrastructure investment that aspires to global leadership; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, with multiple traditions in its cultural, economic, and political life. The modern society and state that is emerging in China will bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought. These themes are discussed in order to understand China in the 21st century and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean. This year the course introduces a variety of new online learning features.

 

Sociology

SOC-STD 98NQ: Global East Asia

Nicole Newendorp

In this course, we will explore how social life in contemporary East Asia is both influenced by and contributes to processes of globalization. Ethnographic readings on China, Korea, and Japan focus on migration, gender roles, consumption, media, and markets as we trace the role of the global in everyday life for rural and urban inhabitants of a variety of East Asian locations. For these individuals, engagement with the global structures how they make sense of the world and creates desires for future life change. This is a junior tutorial.

 

Environment 

ESPP 90N: China’s Energy Economy: Perspectives from the Past: Challenges for the Future

Michael McElroy

Description:The seminar will provide a historical perspective on the development of the Chinese economy with emphasis on the energy sector, including analysis of related environmental problems. Energy options available for China’s future will be discussed, including opportunities for clean-coal technology, nuclear, wind, hydro, and biofuels. The seminar will discuss tradeoffs implicit in these choices with respect to reconciling competing goals for environmental protection and economic development.

 

Business and Economics

SOCWORLD 47: Contemporary Developing Countries

Tarun Khanna

Description:This course will provide a framework (and multiple lenses) through which to think about the salient economic and social problems of the five billion people of the developing world, and to work in a team setting toward identifying entrepreneurial solutions to such problems. Case study discussions will cover challenges and solutions in fields as diverse as health, education, technology, urban planning, and arts and the humanities.

 

 

COURSES FOR UNDERGRADUATES AND GRADUATE STUDENTS

 

Archaeology

ANTHRO 1210: The Archaeology of Ancient China

Rowan Flad

A survey of the archaeology of China from the origins of humans during the Palaeolithic into the Bronze Age (ca. 220 BCE), with an emphasis on the origins of agriculture and the emergence of complex society during the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. We survey important archaeological finds from these periods and examine relevant issues in anthropological archaeology. Sections will involve the discussion and use of materials from the Peabody and Sackler Museums.

 

Art History

HAA 88: China in Twelve Artworks

Eugene Yuejin Wang

China is grasped through twelve artworks, spanning three millennia from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century. These artworks form both a timeline and a jigsaw puzzle with recurrent themes, e.g., the correlation between cosmos, body, and mind. The course consists of case studies, revealing both larger intellectual trends and the nuanced way artworks engage established formal conventions. Students learn about China through art and acquire visual literacy that takes art on its own terms.

 

Government

EASTD 121: Global Cities in East Asia

Nara Dillon

This course examines urbanization and globalization in East Asia, focusing first on the development of Tokyo as a global city, then turning to the socialist cities of contemporary China, before concluding with an examination of uneven development in Southeast Asian cities. In each section of the course, we will examine how urbanization and globalization affect major social groups (in particular, entrepreneurs and women) who have both propelled and been marginalized by these processes.

 

Literature and Language

CHNSE 166R: Chinese in the Humanities: Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng)

Jennifer Li-chia Liu

Advanced language practice through the reading and analysis of authentic academic texts in humanities disciplines (e.g., art, literature, cinematic studies). May be offered independently in Chinese, or linked with an English-language content course. Specific content varies by year.

 

CHNSLIT 114: Introduction to Premodern Chinese Literature

Xiaofei Tian

This course will introduce students to the best-known writers and canonical works of Chinese literature from the premodern period.

 

Sociology

SOCIOL 141: Contemporary Chinese Society

Ya-wen Lei

Situating China in the context of the transition from socialism, this seminar provides an overview of contemporary Chinese society. We will explore recent structural changes in China’s economy, political system, legal institutions, media, family forms, education, stratification and inequality, and contests over space—as well as how all these various changes interact with one another. We will begin with the Chinese Communist Revolution and then the Cultural Revolution as crucial historical context, and then move on to examine the profound social transformations of the post-1978 reform period. The course will examine how these changes have impacted social relations, how they have been experienced and understood by individuals, and how, in turn, the responses of individuals have also shaped the trajectory of reforms.

 

 

COURSES PRIMARILY FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

 

Literature and Culture

CHNSLIT 226: Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber): Seminar

Wai-yee Li

A close reading of the masterpiece of Chinese fiction, Honglou meng, drawing on commentary traditions and modern interpretations. We will explore how Honglou meng sums up and rethinks various aspects of the Chinese tradition.

 

CHNSLIT 229R: Topics in Early Medieval Literature

Xiaofei Tian

This semester we will focuson the major writers and the poetic canon of the Southern Dynasties.

 

COMPLIT 277: Literature, Diaspora, and Global Trauma

Karen Thornber

This course examines creative and critical discourses from and about the global African, Asian (Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese), and Middle Eastern (Jewish, Palestinian, Lebanese, Afghan), as well as Armenian and Latin American diasporas. We focus on the relationship among diaspora, migration, and trauma, and on the interconnections of these phenomena and constructions of artistic and cultural identities, ethnicity/race, gender/sexuality, religion, postcolonialism, transculturation (including translation), multilingualism, globalization and global history, and world literature.

 

EAFM 222: Media Cultures in the People’s Republic

Jie Li

This seminar examines the changing Chinese mediascape from the 1950s to the present. Every week, we will focus on a different form of representational media, from propaganda posters, photography, radio broadcasting, and cinema, to television, video piracy, and the Internet. We will ask question such as: How have media technologies changed contemporary Chinese culture and society? Were they instruments of totalitarian control, commodities of market capitalism, or tools of resistance and independent expression? How did the mass media affect perception, experiences, and memories of socialism and postsocialism, as well as the periods’ cultural forms and aesthetics? What is specific or special about each medium, and how do different types of media interact in the Chinese context? While analyzing media texts, we will also consider their sociopolitical, institutional, and technological as well as engage with media theories and explore untapped historical sources.

 

History

DPI 421: Power Shifts: Understanding Global Change Through History

Odd Arne Westad

Nobody can understand the present without a keen understanding of the past. After all, history is all we have to go on in providing the raw material for making sense of the world we live in today. Successful policymakers often recognize this and turn a view of the past to their advantage in interpreting the present. They appreciate that any good strategy is grounded in a sound view of history. This course explores major historical shifts from European and Asian antiquity up to today. It looks at power in all its dimensions – material, demographic, technological, ideological, military, or religious – and shows how it has influenced and been influenced by broader transformations. Our aim is to better identify the key causes of power shifts, but also to get an impression of the fickleness of established orders in times of change.

 

Religion

Tibet 290/HDS 3892: Tibetan Tantric Literature

Janet Gyatso

Readings will include Indic tantric scriptures and practice texts in Tibetan translation. It will also consider tantric work composed originally in Tibetan. Special attention will be paid to the intertextuality of this material with other Buddhist scriptures, as well as intersections with other Buddhist cosmologies, and attendant interpretational issues. Prerequisite: Middle to advanced reading skills in Tibetan language required. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Tibet 290.

 

EABS 241: Major Issues in the Study of East Asian Buddhism

James Robson and Ryuichi Abe

A graduate seminar that critically examines major academic works in English on East Asian Buddhism. It is aimed at preparing EALC graduate students for their general examinations in the fields relevant to Buddhism.

 

TIBET 230: Readings in the Life of the Kashmirian Scholar Shakyashribhadra: Seminar

Leonard van der Kuijp

Various Tibetan biographies of the life of this influential scholar will be examined and special problem areas will be analyzed in full detail.

 

TIBET 236A: Readings in Sa skya Pandita’s (1182-1251) Sdom gsum rab dbye

Leonard van der Kuijp

Readings in Sa skya Pandita’s (1182-1251) Sdom gsum rab dbye and its commentarial literature. This course will examine issues that relate to the three vows and the ways in which various authors chose to interpret them.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies