Location: Bowdoin / Asian Studies / Courses / Spring 2009

Asian Studies

Spring 2009

Asian Studies

211. The Arts of China
De-nin Lee T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
A chronological survey of ritual objects, sculpture, architecture, painting, and decorative arts in China from the Neolithic to the modern period. Topics include ritual practices and mortuary art, technologies of art and the role of trade, the impact of Buddhism, courtly and scholarly modes of painting, and popular and avant-garde art.

229. Politics and Societies in Southeast Asia
Lance Guo T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
A survey of the political landscape and trends of change in tropical Southeast Asia and an investigation of the fundamental driving forces of changes in this region of rich diversity in culture, religion, ethnicity, mystic beliefs, and political traditions. Topics include nation building and the role of colonial history in it; regime legitimacy; political protests (often spearheaded by college students); armed insurgence and nationalism; the different responses to modernization; the causes and consequences of rapid economic growth; the clash between human rights, democracy, and indigenous traditions

230. Imperialism, Nationalism, Human Rights
Rachel Sturman T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the history of modern global imperialism and colonialism from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. Focuses on the parallel emergence of European nationalism, imperialism, and ideas of universal humanity. Examines the historical development of anti-colonial nationalisms in the regions ruled by European empires, and considers the often-contentious nature of demands for human rights. Emphasis on the history of South Asia, with attention to Latin America and Africa.

241. Hindu Cultures
John Holt M 6:30 - 9:25
A consideration of various types of individual and communal religious practice and religious expression in Hindu tradition, including ancient ritual sacrifice, mysticism and yoga (meditation), dharma and karma (ethical and political significance), pilgrimage (as inward spiritual journey and outward ritual behavior), puja (worship of deities through seeing, hearing, chanting), rites of passage (birth, adolescence, marriage, and death), etc. Focuses on the nature of symbolic expression and behavior as these can be understood from indigenous theories of religious practice. Religion 220 is recommended as a previous course.

244. Confession and Storytelling: Fictions of the Self in Modern Japanese Fiction
Vyjayanthi Selinger M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the “rhetoric of confession” in Japanese literature. From the diaries of court ladies in classical Japan to the modern I-novel, Japanese authors have used the first-person narrative to tell stories and provide commentary on the nature of storytelling. Covers major literary works from twentieth-century Japan to ask the following questions: Why is first-person fiction attractive to storytellers? When, how, and why does the “I” tell his/her story? What place does the reader occupy in such fiction? Examines how works respond to major historical debates surrounding Japan’s encounter with the West, modernization, and the changing status of minorities and women. Works read include Natsume Sôseki’s Kokoro (Heart), Shimazaki Tôson’s Hakai (Broken Commandment), Tanizaki Jun’ichiro’s Chijin no Ai (Naomi), and Dazai Osamu’s Shayô (Setting Sun). No previous knowledge of Japanese history or language is required. Part of the Other Modernities course cluster.

257. Law and Society in Colonial India
Rachel Sturman T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. The British were fond of describing the rule of law as their foremost “gift” to their Indian subjects. What did this law actually entail, both for the colonial rulers and for their colonized subjects? How did the British create a legal system for India, and what was the role of law within colonial Indian society? Draws on primary and secondary sources, examining law as a central arena for understanding colonial governance and political modernity. Topics include key colonial legal campaigns, such as the effort to reform Hindu marriage and the campaign to identify and eradicate “criminal castes and criminal tribes.” Also explores the contentious formation of religious laws of the family administered by the colonial state, the role of race and gender in defining colonial legal subjecthood, and the legacies of colonial law for the post-colonial Indian nation state. Part of the Other Modernities course cluster.

263. Transnational Race and Ethnicity
Dhiraj Murthy W 1:00 - 3:55
Examines globally mediated formations of ethnic and racial identities, including the ways in which transnational communities are shaped through contact with “homelands” (physically and virtually) and vice versa. Particular attention given to “Black” and “South Asian” diasporic communities based in London and the transnational cultural networks in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Caribbean that they help maintain. Readings include works by Paul Gilroy, Arjun Appadurai, Les Back, Stuart Hall, Jayne Ifekwunigwe, Ian Ang, and the Delhi-based sarai school.

266. Chinese Women in Fiction and Film
Shu-chin Tsui T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Approaches the subject of women and writing in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century China from perspectives of gender studies, literary analysis, and visual representations. Considers women writers, filmmakers, and their works in the context of China’s social-political history as well as its literary and visual traditions. Focuses on how women writers and directors negotiate gender identity against social-cultural norms. Also constructs a dialogue between Chinese women’s works and Western feminist assumptions. Part of the Other Modernities course cluster.

271. The Modern Girl and Female Citizen in China and Japan
Karen Teoh M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. With the rise of East Asian nationalisms and global commercialism in the early twentieth century appeared two distinct yet related figures in China and Japan: the Modern Girl, characterized by her physical appearance and consumerism, who broke with social conventions regarding domesticity, sexuality, and politics; and the Female Citizen, idealized for her role in contributing to the establishment of the modern nation in a “scientific” and “progressive” way. These two images offer a comparative perspective on women’s symbolic roles in the nation, and how anxieties over the persons and actions of women reflected larger concerns about the tensions evoked by a rapidly changing world. Discussion themes include globalization and commercialization, changing cultural notions of womanhood, family and labor systems, female education, feminism, and gendered nationalisms.

277. Writing the South Asian Diaspora
David Collings T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Examines English writing emerging from dispersed communities of South Asia (primarily India and Pakistan), including those in Trinidad, the Persian Gulf, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Considers cultural dislocation, individualism, assimilation, and the potential loss of tradition; the performance of South Asian transnational identities in multicultural spaces; the ironies of writing the homeland from afar; the uses of exoticism; the implications of cross-ethnic intimacies; the intersections of these themes with gender, sexuality, and class; and the politics of literary representation. Authors may include Naipaul, Ghosh, Mukherjee, Suleri, Kureishi, Syal, and Lahiri

284. The Emergence of Modern Japan
Thomas Conlan T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
What constitutes a modern state? How durable are cultures and civilizations? Examines the patterns of culture in a state that managed to expel European missionaries in the seventeenth century, and came to embrace all things Western as being “civilized” in the mid-nineteenth century. Compares the unique and vibrant culture of Tokugawa Japan with the rapid program of late-nineteenth-century industrialization, which resulted in imperialism, international wars, and ultimately, the postwar recovery.

318. Pilgrimage: Narrative and Ritual
John Holt W 10:00 - 11:25, F 10:00 - 11:25
Pilgrimage will be examined theoretically in two ways: first, through a comparative study of pilgrimage as a ritualized religious process of sacred space and sacred journey observed in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism within the historical and cultural contexts of the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan; second, as a narrative literary structure in contemporary fiction and non-fiction in modern South and East Asia. Culminates with each student selecting a pilgrimage site or literary work as the focus of an analytical paper.

323. Topics in Chinese Painting
De-nin Lee T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Examines key developments in painting during the Song dynasty (960–1127), including theories that relate painting to sister arts of calligraphy and poetry, painting of the scholar-official class, painting for the imperial court, and painting related to Chan (Zen) Buddhism. No prior knowledge of Chinese history and culture is required.

333. Advanced Seminar in Chinese Politics
Lance Guo T 6:30 - 9:25
Seeks to understand political change caused by China’s rapid economic ascendance and growing global influence by exploring the various underlying driving forces—marketization, globalization, etc., and how these are reshaping the socioeconomic foundation of the party-state, forcing changes in the governance structure and the ways power is contested and redistributed. The main theme varies each year to reflect important recent developments, e.g., elite politics, the transformation of the communist party, role of the military, political economy of development, the re-emerging class structure, etc.

337. Advanced Seminar in Democracy and Development in Asia
Henry Laurence T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Examines development from a variety of political, economic, moral, and cultural perspectives. Is democracy a luxury that poor countries cannot afford? Are authoritarian governments better at promoting economic growth than democracies? Does prosperity lead to democratization? Are democratic values and human rights universal, or culturally specific? Emphasis on Japan, China, India, and the Koreas.

380. The Warrior Culture of Japan
Thomas Conlan M 1:00 - 3:55
Explores the “rise” of the warrior culture of Japan. In addition to providing a better understanding of the judicial and military underpinnings of Japan’s military “rule” and the nature of medieval Japanese warfare, shows how warriors have been perceived as a dominant force in Japanese history. Culminates in an extended research paper.


102. Elementary Chinese II
Songren Cui M 8:30 - 9:25, T 8:30 - 9:55, W 8:30 - 9:25, TH 8:30 - 9:55
A continuation of Chinese 101. Five hours of class per week. Covers most of the essential grammatical structures and vocabulary for basic survival needs and simple daily routine conversations. Introduction to the next 350 characters, use of Chinese-English dictionary. Followed by Chinese 203.

204. Intermediate Chinese II
Xiaoke Jia M 11:30 - 12:25, T 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:25, TH 11:30 - 12:55
A continuation of Chinese 203. Five hours of class per week. Further develops students’ communicative competence and strives to achieve a balance between the receptive and productive skills. Students learn another 400 characters; read longer, more complex texts; and write short compositions with increasing discourse cohesion. Followed by Chinese 205.

206. Advanced-Intermediate Chinese II
Songren Cui M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
A continuation of Chinese 205. Three hours of class per week. Focuses on the improvement of reading comprehension and speed, and essay writing skills. Deals particularly with edited and/or authentic materials from Chinese mass media such as newspapers and the Internet. Followed by Chinese 307.

308. Advanced Chinese II
Shu-chin Tsui T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Continuation of Chinese 307.


102. Elementary Japanese II
Jun Ono M 10:30 - 11:25, T 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
A continuation of the fundamentals of Japanese grammar structures and further acquisition of spoken communication skills, listening comprehension, and proficiency in reading and writing. Introduces an additional 90 kanji.

204. Intermediate Japanese II
Vyjayanthi Selinger M 8:30 - 9:25, T 8:30 - 9:55, W 8:30 - 9:25, TH 8:30 - 9:55
A continuation of Japanese 203 with the introduction of more advanced grammatical structures, vocabulary, and characters.

206. Advanced-Intermediate Japanese II
Asuka Hosaka M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
A continuation and progression of materials used in Japanese 205.

308. Advanced Japanese II
Jun Ono
A continuation of Japanese 307. Continued efforts to develop oral and written fluency in informal and formal situations. Reading of contemporary texts of literature, business, and social topics.