10000- and 20000- level courses are undergraduate; 30000-level and above are graduate.
Course offerings and times are subject to change.
What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? How and why is traditional ghost lore reconfigured in the contemporary world? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films. Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3) collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past; 4) and the visualization of the invisible through art, theater, and cinema.
Equivalent courses: SIGN 26006, CMST 24603
Why does the short story emerge as a major literary form across East Asia in the early 20th century? Which institutional, social, and political factors contributed to its diffusion? What are the main characteristics of the short story, how does it organize time and space, and how does it differ from earlier forms of short fiction? What do various authors hope to achieve by writing short stories? Has their writing changed with the rise of new media? Informed by these questions, this course explores the variety of forms that the short story takes in modern East Asia. We will read a selection of influential Chinese, Japanese, and Korean works from the early 20th century to the present, including those by Lu Xun, Shiga Naoya, Hwang Sun-wŏn, Miyamoto Yuriko, Xiao Hong, Na Hye-sŏk, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Hoshi Shin’ichi, Lin Bai, Han Shaogong, Yu Hua, and Murakami Haruki, along with theoretical and critical essays. Discussions will be organized around themes that allow for transregional comparisons. All readings in English translation.
This sequence on the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea emphasizes major transformation in these cultures and societies from their inception to the present.
Equivalent courses: HIST 15100, SOSC 23500, CRES 10800
In nearly four decades of reform and opening policies, China’s economic achievements have come at a high cost for its ecological environment; air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination, among other problems, are facts of life for most Chinese citizens. In addition, China is now the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and has recently acknowledged its contributions to global warming and the need for drastic mitigation of greenhouse gases. Facing these tremendous challenges, remarkable shifts in the way that Chinese society communicates and tackles these problems are occurring. This seminar will look, in particular, at relevant public debates, crucial policies, as well as popular initiatives and protest, to approach this wide topic. How is the relationship between humans/society and nature/environment conceptualized and communicated? Can we detect shifts from traditional to modern, even contemporary 'Chinese approaches'? And to what extent and how do political authorities, media, the general population and scientists in China interact in the face of the acknowledged risks that environmental pollution poses to communities, to China’s (economic) development and, not least, to individual health and well-being. Basic knowledge about modern Chinese society and politics as well as Chinese reading skills are helpful, but not a strict requirement for participation in this course.
Equivalent course: EALC 34201
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
While examining key texts in translation along with cultural, philosophical, religious, and political dimensions relevant to different historical periods, this course will take as its starting point the meta-historical issues related to the construction of Shinto histories per se.
Equivalent Courses: HIST 24309/34309, RLST 22122, HREL 35421
Most classes will be held in the galleries of Cyrus Tang Hall of China and the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades on the second floor in the Field Museum. Class attendance and participation in class discussion are mandatory. The installation introduces objects in historical and anthropological contexts in keeping with the Field Museum’s history and mission. It features objects made for and used by people of diverse social strata, geographies, and ethnicities and features particular types of materials used from the Neolithic through Early Modern periods of Chinese history. The class will examine artworks from perspectives of material culture, media, and image-making. Assigned readings will provide historical information and scholarly perspectives on objects in cultural contexts of production, function, religious worship, and burial in tombs. Students will closely study individual objects from these perspectives, discuss them with the class, and write about them, focusing on the significance of certain visual and material elements, their continuing use, and innovations and changes that occurred over time. The classes will also include meetings with curatorial and research staff members who will introduce their work on the collections—research, installation, and history of acquisitions. Visits will include access to conservation and storage areas.
A study of frontier regions, migration, and border policies in Qing (1644-1912) and 20th century China, focusing on selected case studies. Cases will include both actual border regions (where the Qing/China was adjacent to some other polity it recognized), ethnically diverse internal frontiers, and places where migrants moved into previously uninhabited regions (e.g. high mountains). Topics include the political economy and geo-politics of migration and frontier regions, the formation of ethnic and national identities in frontier contexts, borderland society (e.g. marriage, social stratification and social mobility), and the environmental effects of migration. Assignments for undergraduates are two short papers, a midterm (which can be waived under certain circumstances), a final, and class participation; requirements for graduate students are negotiable, but will include roughly 20 pages of writing (and no in-class exams).
Equivalent courses: HIST 24612/34612
This course will explore the relationship of premodern Japanese literature to East Asia. How did elites in premodern Japan understand their place within the larger East Asian world? How did they construct their identities in relation to their continental neighbors? We will consider the complexities surrounding Japan’s adaptation of Sinographic (Chinese) script, the production of vernacular literature vis-à-vis kanbun texts, and moments in premodern Japanese literary works that highlight actors, objects, themes, and genres from the greater East Asian world.
Ever since the introduction of the ‘modern’ concept of “literature,” the production, consumption, and reproduction of literature, both vernacular and translated in Korea and other parts of East Asia have gone hand in hand with the reception of and response to the trends of “criticism” and “theory” developed in the West. This course deals with a series of critical works published in and outside of Korea and analyzes the premises, points of departures, and chosen approaches taken by each critic or scholar as situated in diverse contexts. While pursuing a geo-institutional understanding of the academic, critical, and commercial sites in which the knowledge of “Korean literature” is produced and promoted, the course probes into the historical changes that have taken place in the reception “Korean literature” and its readership outside of Korea. No knowledge of Korean is required.
Equivalent Course: EALC 36800
In this class we will explore how the various forms and dimensions of inequality that characterize contemporary China are reflected in literature, cinema, and internet. We will engage with concepts of subalternity, peasant worker, and new working class, and investigate emerging spaces of self-representation. Readings in Chinese and English. Ample time will be devoted to students' research projects.
Through relating actual objects, paintings, religious icons, and constructed spaces to accounts in different literary genres, this course explores how imagination is connected to image-making, and how visual and architectural forms express desire and fantasy.
Equivalent Courses: ARTH 45015
A graduate-level introduction to the study of premodern Chinese Religion and to the field of Chinese religious studies, mainly as it has been practiced in North America and Europe over the last 50 years.
Equivalent course: HREL 45705
How does photography make art and architecture and shape our understanding of it? This course begins with the earliest years of photography in East Asia and covers both the photography of sites and artifacts and discourses surrounding photography's status as an art. Japan is the instructor's area of expertise, but efforts will be made to cover China and Korea as well. Students will pursue individual research projects and share them with the class.
Equivalent Courses: ARTH 47605
This course examines the most influential Chinese drama of all times, the Xixiang ji (Romance of the Western Chamber) in light of its multiple literary and visual traditions. Over 100 different woodblock editions, many of them illustrated, were published during the Ming and Qing dynasties alone. The focus of the class will be on close readings of primary texts in classical and early modern vernacular Chinese. We will concentrate on the earliest extant edition of 1498 and Jin Shengtan’s annotated and abridged edition of 1656, along with important sets of illustrations in woodblock prints.
Prereq: Good reading skills in both classical and vernacular Chinese.
This readings & research sequence explores the intersection of law and society in Modern China. During the autumn quarter we read primary and secondary texts drawn from the Qing through the PRC periods. Readings are both in translation and in Chinese – but students should expect that primary source research for their winter quarter seminar papers extend beyond the sources sampled on the autumn syllabus. We will engage with debates about the extent of civil law in imperial China. To what extent are legal practices in the Republican era and PRC a legacy of Qing law or Qing custom? How does Chinese society’s definition of a crime change over time, and what role does the law play in shaping social attitudes toward different behavior? The course includes opportunities to reflect upon the overall evolution of China’s legal system throughout this dynamic period and foundational texts for a field exam.
Equivalent courses: HIST 75801
This seminar explores the rise, fall, and aftermath of the Japanese empire through an intensive reading of classic and recent scholarship. Topics to be explored include imperial ideology, relationships between the metropole and colonies, techniques of colonial rule, the political economy of the empire, and the afterlife of empire for East Asia. This course can be taken as a one-quarter colloquium or a two-part seminar. The latter requires the research and writing of an original seminar paper of 50-60 pages.
Equivalent courses: HIST 76603