Location: Bowdoin / Asian Studies / Courses / Fall 2009

Asian Studies

Fall 2009

017. Shanghai Imagined
Belinda Kong T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Mass-McKeen Study
Examines literary and filmic representations of 1930s and 1940s Shanghai. Explores how Shanghai imagined itself through its own writers at the time, as well as how it has been imagined retrospectively by contemporary writers and filmmakers, both within mainland China and in the diaspora. Topics include Shanghai’s history of semi-colonialism; conceptions of cosmopolitanism and modernity; intersecting discourses of gender, nationalism, and colonialism; the status of Westerners and the figure of the Eurasian; the Sino-Japanese War and representations of the Japanese soldier; the Jewish ghetto, and hybrid cultural forms such as Shanghai jazz.

019. East Asian Politics: Introductory Seminar
Henry Laurence T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Banister-106
Surveys the diverse political, social, and economic arrangements across East Asia. China, Japan, and North and South Korea are the main focus, but attention is also paid to the other countries in the region. Examines the relationship between democracy and economic change in East Asia, and asks if the relationship is different in Asia than elsewhere in the world. Other questions include: Are there common “Asian values” and if so, what are they? What is the role of Confucianism in shaping social, political, and economic life in the region? How are economic and technological developments affecting traditional social institutions such as families? How is the status of women changing? What lies ahead for Asia?

028. The History of Tea in East Asia
Lawrence Zhang T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-114
Tea is one of the world’s most consumed beverages, as well as a significant internationally traded commodity throughout history. Familiarizes the student with the history of tea in East Asia since 800 C.E. to the present. Topics include its modes of consumption and production, trade, aesthetic, as well as notions of tradition and the beverage’s changing role in the twenty-first century. Primary and secondary sources include translated Chinese and Japanese texts on tea.Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

209. The Arts of Japan
De-nin Lee M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 VAC-Beam Classroom
Surveys ritual objects, sculpture, architecture, painting, and decorative arts in Japan from the Neolithic to the modern period. Topics include ceramic forms and grave goods, the adaptation of Chinese models, arts associated with Shinto and Buddhist religions, narrative painting, warrior culture, the tea ceremony, woodblock prints and popular arts, modernization and the avant-garde. Formerly Art History 219.

213. Introduction to Asian American Literature
Belinda Kong T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Adams-406
An introduction not only to the writings of Asian America, but also to the historical development of Asian American literature as a field of discussion, study, and debate. Begins by focusing on a seminal moment in the formation of this field: the critical controversy sparked by the publication of Maxine Hong Kingston’s "The Woman Warrior" (1976). Then turns to earlier classics as well as more recent fiction and questions of how to reconceive Asian American literature in light of these works. In addition to Kingston, authors may include Amy Tan, David Henry Hwang, Frank Chin, John Okada, Jade Snow Wong, Carlos Bulosan, Chang-rae Lee, and Jhumpa Lahiri, Susan Choi, Lan Cao, and Iê thi diem thúy. Formerly English 284. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

232. Modernity in South Asia
Sara Dickey T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 Adams-103
What is modernity? How does it differ cross-culturally, and what forms does it take in South Asia? In the countries of South Asia—including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal—many aspects of everyday life are both affected by and shape modernity. Economic liberalization, religious nationalism, and popular media are examined, while investigating changes in caste, class, work, gender, family, and religious identities in South Asia.

233. South Asian Popular Culture
Dhiraj Murthy T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-202
Examines transnational South Asian popular culture (encompassing Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka), as a medium to understand larger sociological themes, including diaspora, "homeland," globalization, identity, class, gender, and exoticization. Music, film, and fashion are the prime cultural modes explored. Largely structured around specific "South Asian" cultural products--such as Bhangra, Asian electronic music, and Bollywood--and their circulation between the subcontinent and South Asian diasporic communities (particularly in Britain).

236. India and the Indian Ocean World
Rachel Sturman M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Adams-202
Explores the vibrant social world created by movements of people, commodities, and ideas across the contemporary regions of the Middle East, East Africa, South and Southeast Asia from the early spread of Islam through the eighteenth century. Key topics include the formation of communities, pre-modern material cultures, the meanings of conversion and religious change, and the production and transformation of systems of knowledge and modes of social relations in the era before the rise of European colonialism.Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

239. Violence and Non-violence in Twentieth-Century India
Rachel Sturman M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-209
Seminar. Examines the histories of violence and non-violence that have shaped contemporary India. Considers Gandhi’s efforts to develop a theory and practice of non-violence in the context of anti-colonial nationalism, as well as the epic religious violence that ultimately accompanied independence from British colonial rule. Explores the historical relationship between violent and non-violent forms of social protest and social control in the post-colonial era through examination of vivid examples of social and political movements. Considers the recent proliferation of religious violence, and caste- and gender-based atrocities. Draws on history, literature, documentary film, and film drama to consider how such violence and non-violence have been remembered and memorialized, and their legacies for Indian society.

242. Theravada Buddhism
John Holt M 6:30 - 9:25 Adams-406
An examination of the major trajectories of Buddhist religious thought and practice as understood from a reading of primary and secondary texts drawn from the Theravada traditions of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma.

252. Cultural Topics in Contemporary China
Shu-chin Tsui T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Hatch Library-012
Explores cultural trends in contemporary China with post-socialist condition as the contextual setting and cultural studies the theoretical framework. Discussion topics include rural-urban transformations, experimental art, alternative literature, documentary cinema, fashion codes, and gender issues. Examines how cultural trends reflect and react to China’s social-economic transitions, and how the state apparatus and the people participate in cultural production and consumption.

275. The Making of Modern China
Karen May Teoh M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-107
An introduction to the transformation of China’s political and social life from the advent of its last dynasty in 1644 to the present. Covers the rise and fall of the Qing dynasty, economic and cultural encounters with the West, Republican government, war with Japan, the Communist revolution, and the People’s Republic under Mao Zedong. Also discusses social and economic reforms in post-Mao China, and the global Chinese overseas community. Major themes include political and intellectual trends, the ongoing tension between the center and local society, problems of ethnicity and gender, challenges of modernization, and the (re-)emergence of the world’s oldest and largest bureaucratic state as a major power in the twenty-first century.

276. The Origins of Imperial China, Prehistory to 900 C.E.
Lawrence Zhang T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-205
Traces the origins and evolution of cultural, economic, and social elements of Chinese imperial statehood. Considers how each successive regime created its own philosophical and political basis for legitimacy and authority. Topics covered include the flowering of philosophy in the fifth century B.C.E., the unification and subsequent disintegration of the Qin and Han empires, the introduction of Buddhism, and the rise and fall of the cosmopolitan Tang dynasty. Various types of evidence, including archaeological finds and material culture, will be examined.Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

282. Japanese Politics and Society
Henry Laurence M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25 Adams-208
Comprehensive overview of modern Japanese politics in historical, social, and cultural context. Analyzes the electoral dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party, the nature of democratic politics, and the rise and fall of the economy. Other topics include the status of women and ethnic minorities, education, war guilt, nationalism, and the role of the media.

283. The Origins of Japanese Culture and Civilization
Thomas Conlan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Sills-207
How do a culture, a state, and a society develop? Designed to introduce the culture and history of Japan by exploring how “Japan” came into existence, and to chart how patterns of Japanese civilization shifted through time. Attempts to reconstruct the tenor of life through translations of primary sources, and to lead to a greater appreciation of the unique and lasting cultural and political monuments of Japanese civilization.Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

286. Japan and the World
Thomas Conlan M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-114
Seminar. Explores Japan’s relations with China, Korea, and Europe in premodern and modern contexts. Also explores larger issues of state identity and cultures in East Asia.Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

289. Construction of the Goddess and Deification of Women in Hindu Religious Tradition
Sree Holt T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 38 College-Conference Room
Focuses include (1) an examination of the manner in which the power of the feminine has been expressed mythologically and theologically in Hinduism; (2) how various categories of goddesses can be seen or not as the forms of the “great goddess”; and (3) how Hindu women have been deified, a process that implicates the relationship between the goddess and women. Students read a range of works, primary sources such as Devi Mahatmya, biographies and myths of deified women, and recent scholarship on goddesses and deified women.