New and Special Classes in Autumn 2014
The Department of Asian Languages and Literature is proud to announce our upcoming New and Special classes for Autumn 2014.
This course introduces the classical literature of India and the South Asian subcontinent in its cultural and historical context. Readings will be based on classic texts representing the Hindu and Buddhist tradition translated from Sanskrit and Prakrit, the classical and vernacular languages of ancient India. They will include specimens of the epic, dramatic, and poetic traditions, such as the Mahābhārata epic and the poetry of Kālidāsa. Close readings and discussions of the texts will reveal the aesthetic and ethical principles of the rich culture of classical India.
No prerequisites are required.
This course introduces the romance in India, a literary genre of fantastic adventures, supernatural encounters, and brave heroes. Major readings include The Arabian Nights, The Adventures of Amir Hamza, and A Tale of Four Dervishes, as well as some contemporary film versions such as The Thief of Baghdad. We will explore the development of the genre by reading some of the most famous and beloved examples of romance from India. All works will be read in English translation, and no prior knowledge is assumed.
"This course explores the ways that the South Korean nation is “mapped” both spatially and culturally through processes of cultural production and reception. Together we will ask the questions: How do shifting modes of production and consumption of cultural forms that constitute the “Korean Wave”—popular music, TV dramas, and film, but also literature, new media, performing and visual arts, and even food—contribute to new understandings of what the nation is? How is South Korea “mapped” through these cultural practices in a global and regional (East Asian) context? Equally importantly, how do these cultural forms map the nation internally, defining and re-defining Seoul and the provinces?
While the focus of the course is on twenty-first century cultural production, we will refer back to historical processes of nation-making and region-making through engagement with a few select works of fiction, film and popular music. In addition to reading, viewing, and otherwise experiencing the cultural products themselves, students will read academic selections from the Korean Popular Culture Reader (2014, Duke University Press; required) as well as a few other sources. All texts will be read in English translation and media shown with English subtitles; no knowledge of Korean is required.
There are no formal prerequisites for this course, though prior coursework in Korean Studies or Asian Studies will be helpful. This is a discussion-intensive course, so students should come prepared to speak! A significant component of the course is a collaboration with students taking a similar class at a university in South Korea."
Dr. Soohee Kim
Like any language, Korean has native words, in addition to words borrowed from other languages. These words form what we call lexical layers or strata, and this class is about the NATIVE “Han” stratum — Korean Korean words. What types of words are there in this stratum? How did they come to be? The focus of the class is on the core vocabulary and its semantic extensions (e.g. how their meanings stretch, shrink, strengthen, or seemingly change completely). For example, kkUl- means ‘to pull’, but it also means ‘to drive’, and ‘to attract.’ mil- means ‘to push’, and it means ‘to put off’ with a syllable extension milU-.
Come and explore this interesting phenomenon and build your vocabulary power to da max! With time allowing, we will examine the Sino-Korean and onomatopoeic strata as well.
Students will be evaluated based on projects, a term paper, homework, and quizzes.
The popular culture of 20th-century China abounds in images and tales of heroic warriors. While rich with contemporary significance, this material often represents China’s cultural past; and by championing an essential Chinese identity, this material has played a role in defining Chinese positions in a multicultural, multinational age. In this course we will first examine the pre-modern roots of China’s heroic traditions, then move on to their expression in a variety of 20th-century fiction and film, including revolutionary model operas, martial arts fiction, and Hong Kong gangster movies. We will combine formal analysis of literary and cinematic works with study of the social and historical contexts of cultural production. Readings, film viewings, lecture, discussion, written assignments, exams. No prerequisites: previous coursework in Chinese history and/or literature recommended but not required.
Naruse Mikio (1905-1969), along with Ozu Yasujirō, Kurosawa Akira, and Mizoguchi Kenji, was one of the great directors working in Japanese cinema, though he is less known in the United States than these peers. Born into straightened circumstances, Naruse remained focused on the plight of the disadvantaged in modern Japanese society, with a particular concern for the challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society. Rather than rendering them helpless victims, Naruse created some of the most complex and resilient female characters found in modern Japanese film.
Even as we focus on the director of these films, we will also be examining the performances of the major actors who appeared in them, particularly Takamine Hideko, Tanaka Kinuyo, and Hara Setsuko, and on one author, Hayashi Fumiko, whose novels became the bases for a number of Naruse’s films. We will begin with the 1931 silent film, “Flunky, Work Hard,” and continue through to his final film, “Scattered Clouds” (1967). No knowledge of Japanese is required; all films are subtitled in English.
This class will be dedicated to reading works by important contemporary authors that have recently appeared in English translation, including Ogawa Yōko, Tawada Yōko, Horie Toshiyuki, Hoshino Tomoyuki, Kawakami Mieko, and Kawakami Hiromi. Over the course of the term, we will discuss literary responses to a variety of contemporary social phenomena in Japan. Central among these, of course, will be the disaster of 11 March 2011 and the subsequent on-going disaster at Fukushima.
No knowledge of the Japanese language or of Japanese literature is required; all texts will be read in English translation.