Courses

10000- and 20000- level courses are undergraduate; 30000-level and above are graduate.
Course offerings and times are subject to change.

EALC 10602 Topics in EALC: Past, Present, & Future of the Novel
H. Long
Autumn

This course will introduce students to the study of literature in modern East Asia. In particular, it examines the evolution of the novel in Japan, China, and Korea as a form of imaginative writing. We will examine major canonical works from each country: three from the early 20th century; three from mid-century; and three from the early 21st century. How did the novel form develop in East Asia relative to other parts of the world? How has it responded to the shifting geo-political and economic positions of Japan, China, and Korea? How has it attempted to represent social and cultural conflict? Authors to be read include Natsume Soseki, Lu Xun, Xiao Hong, Han Kang, Tawada Yoko, and Cixin Liu. All works will be read in English translation. 

EALC 10711 Topics in EALC: Mother Tongues – Language in East Asian Literature and Film
S. Su
Autumn

What does it mean to write as a native speaker? How do we hear in our mother tongue? It is often said that people have a natural affinity with their native language, one which allows creators to more freely and wholly express their thoughts and experiences, and which allows audiences to understand the full nuances of a work. But there are also many who do not have a straightforward relationship with a native language. For instance, colonized writers who are forced to write in a language that is not their own, films which depict people in multilingual environments, writers who can speak but not write in their first language. This course surveys literary and artistic works from China, Japan, and Korea that mourn, celebrate, and push the boundaries and potentials of language. Through the analysis of these works, we will explore the ways in which language relates to larger social, political, and cultural contexts including ethnic minorities, diaspora, gender, technology, and more. All works will be provided in English translation.

EALC 23903 Ethics, Nature, Dao
P. Copp
Autumn

Some worldviews assert that human beings exist somehow apart from the natural world. Humans are to have dominion over it, for example, or to transcend it entirely. In many works of traditional Chinese religion, philosophy, and art, however, we find something quite different, a picture in which the human being is seamlessly of the world. The cosmos is at play within her, Daoist traditions teach; Chinese landscape paintings were at times understood to depict a world in which rivers, trees, and humans alike follow cosmic patterns; the great Song Dynasty poet Su Shi, in a line beloved of later Chan and Zen Buddhist writers, wrote that “the sounds of valleys are [the Buddha’s] long broad tongue.” These worldviews are not ecological, precisely—ecology is a modern science, not a traditional ethos—but works of Chinese philosophy and art that evince them offer profound resources for thinking in the mode known now as the environmental humanities. We will explore our works as resources for thinking in our age of climate crisis—at least in part. We will also read them, and stay true to them, as works of traditional Chinese art and thought.

EALC 24256 Everyday Maoism: Revolution, Daily Life, and Material Culture in Socialist China
J. Eyferth
Autumn

The history of Maoist China is usually told as a sequence of political campaigns, from land reform to the Cultural Revolution. Yet for the majority of the Chinese population, the promise of socialism was as much about material transformations as it was about political change: a socialist revolution would bring better living conditions, new work regimes and new consumption patterns. If we want to understand what socialism meant for different groups of people, we have to look at the "new objects" of socialist modernity, at changes in dress codes and apartment layouts, at electrification and city planning – or at the persistence of an older material life under a new socialist veneer. In this course, we will analyze workplaces in order to understand how socialism changed the way people worked, and look at rationing and consumption in the households to see how socialism affected them at home. We will look at how specific objects came to stand in for the Maoist revolution, for socialist modernity, or for feudal backwardness. The course has a strong comparative dimension: we will read some of the literature on socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, to see how Chinese socialism differed from its cousins. Another aim is methodological. How can we understand the lives of people who wrote little and were rarely written about? To which extent can we read people's life experiences out of the material record of their lives?

Equivalent courses:  HIST 24512, SIGN 26046

EALC 24312/34312 Modern Chinese Satirical Novel in History
J. Ransmeier
Autumn

This course takes the fictional genre of satire as a unique window on Chinese history. Placing novels and novellas from Republican China, the PRC, and Taiwan alongside excerpts from classic satirical novels from world literature, we will focus not only on the literary merits and themes of these diverse texts but also on their social, political, and historical contexts. What essential elements constitute satire, and how can we understand a historical moment better if we think with this form of literature? What does literature reveal and what does it deliberately or inadvertently obscure? We will consider the ways in which satire advances -- or declines to advance -- or advocate alternative realities (utopias/dystopias), the cultural critique offered by satire and its national and supra-national contexts.

Equivalent course(s): HIST 24811/34811

EALC 24616/34616 Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix Manga: Buddhism, Ethics, Science Fiction, and post-WWII Manga and Anime
A. Palmer
Autumn

How can the Buddhist axiom "All Life is Sacred" describe a universe which contains the atrocities of WWII? Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and father of modern Japanese animation, wrestled with this problem over decades in his science fiction epic Phoenix(Hi no Tori), celebrated as the philosophical masterpiece of modern manga. Through a close reading of Phoenix and related texts, this course explores the challenges genocide and other atrocities pose to traditional forms of ethics, and how we understand the human species and our role in nature. The course will also examine the flowering of manga after WWII, how manga authors bypassed censorship to help people understand the war and its causes, and the role manga and anime have played in Japan's global contributions to politics, science, medicine, technology, techno-utopianism, environmentalism, ethics, theories of war and peace, global popular culture, and contemporary Buddhism. Readings will be mainly manga, and the final paper will have a creative option including the possibility of creating graphic work.

EALC 24821/34821 Modern Chinese Satirical Novel and History
J. Ransmeier
Autumn

This course takes the fictional genre of satire as a unique window on Chinese history. Placing novels and novellas from Republican China, the PRC, and Taiwan alongside excerpts from classic satirical novels from world literature, we will focus not only on the literary merits and themes of these diverse texts but also on their social, political, and historical contexts. What essential elements constitute satire, and how can we understand a historical moment better if we think with this form of literature? What does literature reveal and what does it deliberately or inadvertently obscure? We will consider the ways in which satire advances -- or declines to advance -- or advocate alternative realities (utopias/dystopias), the cultural critique offered by satire and its national and supra-national contexts. 

 

**Please note that Professor Ransmeier is happy to offer graduate students a simultaneous version of this class as well.

Classes will meet both asynchronously and synchronously.


For more information, please contact jsransmeier@uchicago.edu

Equivalent course(s): HIST 24811/34811

EALC 25620 Japanese Animation: The Making of a Global Media
T. Lamarre
Autumn

 

This course offers an introduction to Japanese animation, from its origins in the 1910s to its emergence as global culture in the 1990s. The goal is not only to provide insight into Japanese animation within the context of Japan but also to consider those factors that have transformed it into a global cultural form with a diverse, worldwide fanbase. As such, the course approaches Japanese animation from three distinct perspectives on Japanese animation, which are designed to introduce students to three important methodological approaches to contemporary media — film studies, media studies, and fan studies or cultural studies. As we look at Japanese animation in light of these different conceptual frameworks, we will also consider how its transnational dissemination and ‘Asianization’ challenge some of our basic assumptions about global culture, which have been shaped primarily through the lens of Americanization.

Equivalent course(s): CMST 25620, SIGN 26070

EALC 29430 The Planned Economy: A Global History of Central Planning, from Bismarck to the Green New Deal
M. Lowenstein
Autumn

This course will change the way you think about politics. One of the most urgent political questions for any modern society is what economic activity to leave to private actors and what economic activity to place under state control. Today we hear much political debate over whether capitalism or socialism is superior, and what these terms mean. This debate can obscure the historical fact that many different ideological systems around the globe have experimented with highly centralized, state-directed economic organization. In what contexts have these experiments succeeded and failed? What counts as success and failure? To what extent has one experiment in central planning studied and/or learned from examples that preceded it? This course pursues these questions beginning with the origins of modern central planning in Prussia and later during World War I. It goes on to assess other experiments in central planning, including the New Deal, the Soviet Union and Maoist China; the Axis Powers of Italy, the Third Reich, and Imperial Japan; and later in the postcolonial global south from India to Ghana. The class ends by contemplating the Green New Deal and the role of central planning in the future of the United States.

EALC 29500 Senior Thesis Tutorial I - 100 Units.
Autumn

For this course students are required to obtain a “College Reading and Research Course Form” from their College adviser and have it signed both by their faculty reader and by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Two quarters of this sequence may count as one credit for the EALC major, and are required for any undergraduate writing a B.A. Honors Thesis in EALC. It is highly recommended that students take this sequence autumn and winter, but a spring quarter course is offered for unusual circumstances.

EALC 41102 Reading Archival Documents from the People's Republic of China
J. Eyferth
Autumn

This hands-on reading and research course aims to give graduate students the linguistic skills needed to locate, read, and analyze archival documents from the People's Republic of China. We will begin by discussing the functions and structure of Chinese archives at the central, provincial, and county level. Next we will read and translate sample documents drawn from different archives. These may include police reports, personnel files, internal memos, minutes of meetings, etc. Our aim here is to understand the conventions of a highly standardized communication system - for example, how does a report or petition from an inferior to a superior office differ from a top-down directive or circular, or from a lateral communication between adminstrations of equal rank? We will also read "sub-archival" documents, i.e. texts that are of interest to the historian but did not make it into state archives, such as letters, diaries, contracts, and private notebooks. The texts we will read are selected to cast light on the everyday life of "ordinary" people in the Maoist period.  This course will be team-taught by me and historians of the PRC from other institutions, and will be open to selected students from outside the U of C. Non-Chicago students and teachers will participate via video conference. The course is meant for graduate students who are preparing for archival research in China or already working with archival documents. Advanced undergraduates who are doing archival research may enrol with the instructor's permission.

Equivalent Courses: HIST 41102

EALC 45400 Grad Sem: Western Zhou Bronze Inscriptions
E. Shaughnessy
Autumn

After a brief introduction to Shang oracle-bone inscriptions, we will focus on Western Zhou bronze inscriptions. The choice of inscriptions to study will depend on the interests of the students in class.  PQ CHIN 21000 or consent.

EALC 59700 Thesis Research - 100 Units
Staff
Autumn

For course description contact East Asian Languages. Note(s): ,Consent required.

EALC 60000 Reading Course - 100 Units
Staff
Autumn

Independent reading course

 

Note(s): Consent required.

EALC 65000 Directed Translation - 100 Units
Staff
Autumn

Fulfills translation requirement for EALC graduate students. Must be arranged with individual faculty member. Register by section with EALC faculty.

EALC 67804 Media Ecology
T. Lamarre
Autumn

The seminar aims to develop an ecological understanding of media (infrastructures, platforms, forms). The focus will be on the conceptual shift from dialectics to energetics (as well as the relation between them) that runs through German media theory, philosophies of technology, and new materialisms. The thematic focus for Fall 2020 will be on oceans and waterways.

Equivalent course(s): CMST 67804

EALC 70000 Advanced Residence
Staff
Autumn

For course description contact East Asian Languages.