Asian Languages and Civilizations

2014-15

Arabic

101 First-Year Arabic I

This year-long course introduces the basics of Modern Standard Arabic, also known as Classical Arabic. It begins with a coverage of the alphabet, vocabulary for everyday use, and essential communicative skills relating to real-life and task-oriented situations (queries about personal well-being, family, work, and telling the time). Students will concentrate on speaking and listening skills, as well as on learning the various forms of regular verbs, and on how to use an Arabic dictionary. 

Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

102 First-Year Arabic II

This is a continuation of First-Year Arabic I. We will complete the study of the Elementary Arabic AlKitaab book sequence along with additional instructional materials. Emphasis will be on the integrated development of all language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking – using a communicative-oriented, proficiency-based approach. By the end of this semester, you will acquire vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and language skills necessary for everyday interactions as well as skills that will allow you to communicate with a limited working proficiency in a variety of situations, read and write about a variety of factual material and familiar topics in non-technical prose. In addition to the textbook exercises, you will write short essays, do oral and video presentations and participate in role plays, discussions, and conversations throughout the semester in addition to extra-curricular activities and a final project. 

Requisite: ARAB 101 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students.  Spring semester.  Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

201 Second-Year Arabic I

This course expands the scope of the communicative approach, as new grammatical points are introduced (irregular verbs), and develops a greater vocabulary for lengthier conversations. Emphasis is placed on reading and writing short passages and personal notes. This second-year of Arabic completes the introductory grammatical foundation necessary for understanding standard forms of Arabic prose (classical and modern literature, newspapers, film, etc.) and making substantial use of the language.

Requisite: ARAB 102 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester.  Five College Lecturer Weinert. 

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

202 Second-Year Arabic II    

This is a continuation of Second-Year Arabic I. We will complete the study of the AlKitaab II book sequence along with additional instructional materials. In this course, we will continue perfecting knowledge of Arabic integrating the four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing using a communicative-oriented, proficiency-based approach. By the end of this semester, you should have sufficient comprehension in Arabic to understand most routine social demands and most non-technical real-life conversations as well as some discussions on concrete topics related to particular interests and special fields of competence in a general professional proficiency level. You will have broad enough vocabulary that will enable you to read within a normal range of speed with almost complete comprehension a variety of authentic prose material and be able to write about similar topics. Also by the end of this semester, you should have a wide range of communicative language ability including grammatical knowledge, discourse knowledge and sociolinguistic knowledge of the Arabic language. You should expect text assignments as well as work with DVDs, audio and video materials and websites. Exercises and activities include essay writing, social interactions, role plays and in-class conversations, oral and video presentations that cover the interplay of language and culture, extra-curricular activities and a final project. 

Requisite: ARAB 201 or equivalent or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester.  Five College Lecturer Oulbeid.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

301 Third-Year Arabic I

This year-long course continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic.  The course concentrates on all four skills:  reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Students will read and discuss authentic texts by writers throughout the Arab world.  Topics address a variety of political, social, religious, and literary themes and represent a range of genres, styles, and periods.

Requisite:  ARAB 202 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students.  Omitted at Amherst College 2014-15.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

302 Third-Year Arabic II

A continuation of ARAB 301, this year-long course continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic.  The course concentrates on all four skills:  reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Students will read and discuss authentic texts by writers throughout the Arab world.  Topics address a variety of political, social, religious, and literary themes and represent a range of genres, styles, and periods.

Requisite:  ARAB 301 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Omitted at Amherst College 2014-15.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Spring 2025

401 Fourth-Year Arabic:  Media Arabic

Media Arabic is an advanced language course at the 400 level. Students are required to complete a set amount of material during the semester. Media Arabic introduces the language of print and the Internet news media to students of Arabic seeking to reach the advanced level. It makes it possible for those students to master core vocabulary and structures typical of front-page news stories, recognize various modes of coverage, distinguish fact from opinion, detect bias and critically read news in Arabic. The course enables students to read extended texts with greater accuracy at the advanced level by focusing on meaning, information structure, language form, and markers of cohesive discourse. The prerequisite for Media Arabic is the equivalent of three years of college-level Arabic study in a classroom course that includes both reading/writing skills and speaking/listening skills. The final grade is determined by participation and assignments, two term-papers and a final paper, a final written exam, an oral presentation and a comprehensive oral exam. Participation in the program requires significant independent work and initiative.

Requisite: ARAB 302 or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester.  Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

402 Topics in Arabic Language and Culture

This Arabic Language course is designed to further promote the development of advanced level proficiency in all four-language skills according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. It aims to achieve that objective by training students to use more precise vocabulary, to be able to make more complicated arguments, and to begin to engage in abstract topics in a context of a rich cultural component. The course introduces students to authentic Arabic materials, strengthens and enhances their grammar, and reinforces linguistic accuracy. A significant amount of authentic supplementary texts, video and audio materials will be used from a variety of genres to cover the thematic modules of the course that will include, but are not limited to, Arabic social tradition, religion and politics, literature, women and gender issues in the Middle East, culture and history, arts and cinema. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to communicate and understand narrative and description in all time frames as well as begin to support opinions, hypothesize, and speak and write accurately in extended discourses. Students will be able to listen to and understand the main points and details of a speech, academic lecture or news broadcast. The course builds advanced Arabic competence, using communicative approaches to the learning of linguistic skills, function, and accuracy in both formal and informal registers.  

Requisite: ARAB 302 or equivalent.  Limited to 18 students.  Spring semester.  Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2025

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Course.

Fall and spring semester. Five College Teachers of Arabic.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Asian Languages & Civilization

123 Arts of Japan

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

124 Chinese Civilization to 1800

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

126 Middle Eastern History: 500-1600

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

142 Visual Culture of the Islamic World

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2023

143 Arts of China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

144 Religion in Ancient India

Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2023

146 Modern China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

148 The Modern Middle East: 1800-Present

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

173 Introduction to Medieval and Early Modern South Asia: From the Delhi Sultanates to Mughal Successor States, 1200-1800 A.D.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2023

174 Introduction to Modern South Asian History

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

200 Anthropology and China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2015

207 The Home and the World: Women and Gender in South Asia

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2019

208 Power and Politics in Contemporary China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

209 China in the International System

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2016

221 Canons and Traditions: Japanese Literature to 1750

[J] Before the emergence of print capitalism and the proliferation of books, literature was one of the repositories of cultural memory in Japan. Pre-modern authors alluded to and appropriated the writings of their predecessors as a way to bind their own creations to the great works from the past, but they also necessarily transformed the literature of their forebears in the process. A long-term perspective, stretching from the beginning of Japan’s written language to the early commercialization of literature in the eighteenth century, can best help us understand how canons, traditions, and genres emerge, develop, and become destabilized over time as part of the construction of and contestation over cultural memory. We will also examine a variety of genres, including courtly love poetry, war tales touched by many hands, Chinese verse composed by Japanese monks, theatrical forms for audiences large and small, and travel journals that overlay a literary topography on the physical landscape, among others. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all texts are taught using English translations.

Omitted 2014-15. Professor Van Compernolle.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2022

225 Japanese History to 1700s

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Spring 2015

230 Economy, Society and Change in East Asia

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016

238 From Edo to Tokyo: Japanese Art from 1600 to the Present

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Spring 2014

247 Modern Japanese History from 1800 to the 2000s

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

249 China in the World, 1895-1919

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

255 Public Culture in South Asia

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017

260 Buddhist Art of Asia

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

261 Sacred Images and Sacred Space: The Visual Culture of Religion in Japan

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2015, Fall 2023

267 The Arts of the Book in Iran and Islamic South Asia, 1250-1650

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2024

270 Muslim Lives in South Asia

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2015

271 Caste and Politics of Inequality in India

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2018

272 Gandhi: A Global History of Non-Violence

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017

281 The Arts of Exchange: Cross-Cultural Interaction in the Islamic World, 1400-1800

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2017

315 Inequalities in Contemporary China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

317 Researching China

Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2021, Fall 2023

318 Chinese Childrearing

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

319 The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

320 Religion, Empires, and Secular States in the Nineteenth Century

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2019

341 Anthropology and the Middle East

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019

347 South Asia Now

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

350 Asian Capitalism:  Historical and Contemporary Views

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

352 Buddhist Ethics

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

355 Early Islam: Construction of an Historical Tradition

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

356 The Islamic Mystical Tradition

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

361 Arts of Korea

Other years: Offered in Spring 2015

363 Women in the Middle East

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2014

375 Subaltern Studies: History from Below

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2018

381 The Art of the Talisman

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2022

403 Social Policy in China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2015

452 South Asian Feminist Cinema

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2019

459 Inside Iran

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

462 The History and Memory of the Asia-Pacific War

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2014, Spring 2018, Fall 2020

467 The Study and Exhibition of Japanese Prints: A Mead Art Museum Curatorial Seminar

Though the foundation of this seminar will be object-based research and writing, this course differs from a typical art history seminar in that the final product is not a traditional research paper but rather a collaboratively produced, student-curated exhibition, which will open at the Mead Art Museum in spring 2015. While the ultimate theme of this exhibition will be determined by the seminar’s participants, it will focus primarily on the Mead’s superior holdings of Japanese woodblock prints, which number nearly 5,000, with examples from nearly every period and movement of Japanese woodblock printing from the early 17th century until the 1980s.

Through course readings, consultations with museum professionals, visits to other museums, and hands-on experience at the Mead, students will participate in each stage of exhibition planning, from inception to installation, as well as planning of programming and public outreach. Assignments will range from the crafting of museum-style texts (i.e., interpretive labels and reports) to object-based research and exhibition and graphic design. There will also be ample opportunity to explore executive and administrative museum work, including drafting press releases, creating marketing strategies, and exhibition budgeting. Throughout all of this, students will also gain deep familiarity with the history, traditions, and techniques of Japanese woodblock printing.

While all participants will learn a great deal about the Mead’s collections, and especially about Japanese prints, this seminar will also provide vital experience for those students who wish to pursue a career in the arts, museum, and/or not-for-profit sectors.

Limited to 10 students, with priority given to students who have familiarity with Japanese woodblock prints, especially through the spring 2014 course "The Social Life of the Japanese Print." Please contact the seminar’s organizer, Bradley Bailey, if you are interested in participating.  Fall semester.  Postdoctoral Fellow Bailey.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014

470 Seminar on Modern China: The People and the State

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

473 The Partition of British India: Event and Experience

2023-24: Not offered

474 Indian Nationalism

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2017

476 China Research Seminar: From Revolution to Reform

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Course.

Fall and spring semesters.  Members of the Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

493 Turkey: From Empire to Republic

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

494 Istanbul

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2018

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Spring semester.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Departmental Courses

152 Introduction to Buddhist Traditions

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Non-Language Departmental Courses

220 Reinventing Tokyo: The Art, Literature, and Politics of Japan's Modern Capital

(Offered as ASLC 220 [J] and ARCH 220.)  Tokyo is the political, cultural, and economic center of Japan, the largest urban conglomeration on the planet, holding 35 million people, fully one fifth of Japan’s population.  Since its founding 400 years ago, when a small fishing village became Edo, the castle headquarters of the Tokugawa shoguns, the city has been reinvented multiple times—as the birthplace of Japan’s early modern urban bourgeois culture, imperial capital to a nation-state, center of modern consumer culture, postwar democratic exemplar, and postmodern metropolis. The course will focus on the portrayals of Tokyo and its reinventions in art, literature, and politics from the end of the Edo period to the present day.  It will examine the changes that took place as the city modernized and Westernized in the Meiji era, became the center of modern urban life in Japan before the Second World War, and rebuilt itself as part of the country’s economic miracle in the postwar era.  As the largest human cultural creation in Japan, one that endured political upheavals, fires, earthquakes, fire-bombings and unbridled development, Tokyo has always been a complex subject. The course will use that complexity to consider how to analyze an urban environment that draws upon Japan's long history, yet which is also one of the most modern in Asia.

Preference to majors and students with an interest in urban studies.  Limited to 25 students. Fall semester.  Professors Morse and Van Compernolle.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

233 Words, Self, and Society: Japanese Literature Since 1750

[J] In the past two and a half centuries, Japan has experienced vertiginous transformations, including the rise of a money economy, the encounter with the West, rapid modernization, imperial expansion, war, defeat, democratization, and its postwar reemergence as a technological and economic superpower. This course will examine how literature has both reflected and responded to these disorienting changes. We will focus on how varied social, historical, and aesthetic contexts contribute to the pendulum swings among artistic positions: the belief that literature has an important role to play in the exploration of the relationship between society and the individual; the fascination with the very materials of artistic creation and the concomitant belief that literature can only ever be about itself; and the urgent yet paradoxical attempt, in the writing of traumas such as the atomic bombings, to capture experiences that may be beyond representation. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all texts are taught using English translations.

Spring semester.  Professor Van Compernolle.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

234 Japan on Screen

(Offered as ASLC 234 [J] and FAMS 320.)  Is the concept of national cinema useful in the age of globalization?  Given the international nature of cinema at its inception, was it ever a valid concept?  In this course, we will consider how the nation is represented on screen as we survey the history of film culture in Japan, from the very first film footage shot in the country in 1897, through the golden age of studio cinema in the 1950s, to important independent filmmakers working today. While testing different theories of national, local, and world cinema, we will investigate the Japanese film as a narrative art, as a formal construct, and as a participant in larger aesthetic and social contexts.  This course includes the major genres of Japanese film and influential schools and movements.  Students will also learn and get extensive practice using the vocabulary of the discipline of film studies.  This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all films have English subtitles.

Omitted 2014-15.  Professor Van Compernolle.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2022

Departmental Courses

252 Buddhist Life Writing

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2018

253 Theravada Buddhism

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2016, Spring 2021

Non-Language Departmental Courses

265 The Social Life of the Japanese Print

Japanese woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world"), are perhaps the best known form of Japanese art. From the late seventeenth century until the present day, ukiyo-e have played greatly varied and significant roles in Japanese society, including illustrations for folktales, portraits of famed courtesans and kabuki actors, souvenirs of historical sites, explicit erotica, secret calendars, board games and fan designs, reportage of contemporary events, and even as precious art objects to be collected and cherished. This course will examine the medium of the Japanese woodblock print both as a representation of a flourishing urban society and also as the means by which that flourishing was made possible; the prolific artists, publishers, carvers, colorists, government censors, and the citizenry of the capital all contributed to a massive and thriving industry and trade in ukiyo-e. It will conclude with an examination of the influence of ukiyo-e on European and American artists. In addition, the course will focus on firsthand examination of the objects themselves, drawing from the Mead’s collection of over 4,000 Japanese prints, allowing students to develop skills of connoisseurship and a deep understanding of the technological evolution of print-making over the course of nearly four hundred years. In addition to more traditional assignments, students will learn to craft practical texts germane to working in a museum, including condition reports, accession proposals, label texts, and catalogue entries. 

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2014-15.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014

Departmental Courses

282 Muhammad and the Qur'an

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Spring 2020

Anthropology Courses

330 Writing about China

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014

Non-Language Departmental Courses

336 Apocalypse Japan

This course is an introduction to contemporary Japanese popular culture through focused study of a particular theme. This semester we will concentrate on the apocalypse, among the most prominent themes in postwar Japan. Many would trace its origins to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for Japan is the only country in history to have been attacked with nuclear weapons, but we will examine a broader cultural matrix in this course, which will allow us to address questions of technology, human agency, utopia, dystopia, and spectacle, among other topics. Through reading and discussion of theories of mediation, we will also seek connections between works of popular culture and larger issues, such as globalization, politics, and discourses on cultural uniqueness. Finally, because many contemporary works utilize the apocalyptic theme as a way to explore the replacement of older media by newer technologies—such as the replacement of VHS by DVD or the displacement of traditional film by digital technology—we will also pursue issues of media specificity. This will entail learning the disciplinary terminology of film, anime, and manga studies.

Limited to 25 students.  Spring semester.  Professor Van Compernolle.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2017

Departmental Courses

382 Debating Muslims

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018

Chinese

101 First-Year Chinese I

This course, along with CHIN 102 in the spring semester, is an elementary introduction to Mandarin Chinese offered for students who have no Chinese-speaking backgrounds. The class takes an integrated approach to basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and it emphasizes pronunciation and the tones, Chinese character handwriting, and the most basic structure and patterns of Chinese grammar. The class meets five times per week (lectures on MWF and drill sessions on TTh).

Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Li.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

102 First-Year Chinese II

A continuation of CHIN 101. By the end of the course, students are expected to have a good command of Mandarin pronunciation, the basic grammar structures, an active vocabulary of 700 Chinese characters, and basic reading and writing skills in the Chinese language. The class meets five times per week (lectures on MWF and drill sessions on TTh). This course prepares students for CHIN 201 (Second-year Chinese I).

Requisite: CHIN 101 or equivalent. Limited to 30 students. Discussion sections limited to 8 students. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Li.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

201 Second-Year Chinese I

This course is designed for students who have completed first-year Chinese classes. The emphasis will be on the basic grammatical structures. The course reinforces the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) through vigorous drills and practices. There will be three class meetings and two drill sessions each week.

Requisite: CHIN 102 or equivalent. Limited to 30 students, maximum enrollment of 8 students per section. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Teng.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

202 Second-Year Chinese II

This course is a continuation of CHIN 201. By the end of the semester, most of the basic grammatical structures will be addressed. This course continues to help students develop higher proficiency level on the four skills. Class will be conducted mostly in Chinese. There will be three meetings and two drill sessions each week. This course prepares students for CHIN 301.

Requisite: CHIN 201 or equivalent. Limited to 30 students, maximum enrollment of 8 students per discussion section. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Teng.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

301 Third-Year Chinese I

This course is designed to expose students to more advanced and comprehensive knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, with an emphasis on both linguistic competence and communicative competence. Expanding of vocabulary and development of reading comprehension will be through different genres of authentic texts. Students will be trained to write short essays on a variety of topics. Three class hours are supplemented by two drill sessions.

Requisite: CHIN 104, 202 or equivalent. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

302 Third-Year Chinese II

A continuation of CHIN 301, a modern Chinese reading and writing course at the advanced level. Development of the basic four skills will continue to be stressed. It will emphasize both linguistic competence and communicative competence. Acquisition of additional characters will be through authentic readings of different genres. More training will be given on writing with more precision and details. Three class hours are supplemented by two drill sessions. This course prepares students for CHIN 401.

Requisite: CHIN 301 or equivalent. Spring semester. Senior Lecturers Shen and Teng.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

401 Fourth-Year Chinese I

This course is designed for students who have completed three years of Chinese at the college level. The emphasis is on building substantial sophisticated vocabulary and reading various genres of writings and literary works like newspaper articles, essays, and short novels, etc. Development of a higher level of proficiency of the four skills will be stressed through class discussions, writing compositions, listening to TV news clips and watching movies that are supplemental to the themes of the reading materials. Class will be conducted entirely in Chinese. There will be three class meetings each week.

Requisite: CHIN 302 or equivalent. Admission with the consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

402 Fourth-Year Chinese II

This course is a continuation of CHIN 401. More advanced authentic texts of different genres of writings and literary works will be introduced to students. Development of a higher level of proficiency of the four skills will be stressed through class discussions, writing compositions, listening to TV news clips and watching movies that are supplemental to the themes of the reading materials. Class will be conducted entirely in Chinese. There will be three class meetings each week.

Requisite: CHIN 401 or equivalent. Admission with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Course.

Fall and spring semester. Members of the Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Japanese

101 Introduction to the Japanese Language

This course is designed for students who have never previously studied Japanese. The course will introduce the overall structure of Japanese, basic vocabulary, the two syllabaries of the phonetic system, and some characters (Kanji). The course will also introduce the notion of “cultural appropriateness for expressions,” and will provide practice and evaluations for all four necessary skills--speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Both semesters. Spring semester requires permission of instructor. Senior Lecturer Miyama and Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

102 Building Survival Skills in Japanese

This course is a continuation of JAPA 101. The course will emphasize active learning by each student in the class by means of the materials in the course website and individualized or small group discussions with the instructor. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. By the end of this course, students are expected to be familiar with most basic Japanese structures, to have acquired a substantial vocabulary, and to have gained sufficient speaking, listening, reading, and writing proficiency levels, which will enable the students to survive using Japanese in Japan. As for literacy, a few hundred new characters (Kanji) will be added by reading and writing longer passages. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 101 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

103 Review and Progress in Japanese

This course is designed for students who have already begun studying Japanese in high school, other schools, or at home before coming to Amherst, but have not finished learning basic Japanese structures or acquired a substantial number of characters (Kanji). This course is also for individuals whose proficiency levels of the four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) are uneven to a noticeable degree. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: Some Japanese instruction in high school, home, or college. Fall semester. Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

104 Beyond Basic Japanese

This course is a continuation of JAPA 101. The course will emphasize active learning from each student in the class by the use of the materials on the course website and individual or small group discussions with the instructor. By the end of this course, students are expected to be able to use basic Japanese structures with a substantial vocabulary and to have attained post-elementary speaking, listening, reading, and writing proficiency levels. As for literacy, a few hundred new characters (Kanji) will be added by reading and writing longer passages. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 101 or equivalent. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Miyama and Professor Tawa.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

201 Communicating in Sophisticated Japanese

This course is designed for students who have completed the acquisition of basic structures of Japanese and have learned a substantial number of characters (Kanji) and are comfortable using them spontaneously. The course will emphasize the development of all four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) at a more complex, multi-paragraph level. For example, students will be trained to speak more spontaneously and with cultural appropriateness in given situations using concrete as well as abstract expressions on a sustained level of conversation. As for literacy, students will be given practice reading and writing using several hundred characters (Kanji). Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 102 or 104, or equivalent. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Kayama and Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

202 Experience with Authentic Japanese Materials

This course is a continuation of JAPA 201. The course will provide sufficient practice of reading authentic texts and viewing films to prepare for the next level, JAPA 301, in which various genres of reading and films will be introduced. Throughout the course, the development of more fluent speech and stronger literacy will be emphasized by studying more complex and idiomatic expressions. Acquisition of an additional few hundred characters (Kanji) will be part of the course. The class will be conducted mostly in Japanese. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 201 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Tawa and Senior Lecturer Kayama.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

209H Conquering Kanji I

Japanese uses three different writing systems, one of which is called Kanji, with characters that were borrowed from China. A linguist, R.A. Miller (1986) in his book Nihongo (Japanese), writes: “The Japanese writing system is, without question, the most complicated and involved system of script employed today by any nation on earth; it is also one of the most complex orthographies ever employed by any culture anywhere at any time in human history.” The difficulty lies not merely in the number of characters that students must learn (roughly a couple of thousand), but also in the unpredictable nature of the ways these characters are used in Japanese. It is not possible in regular Japanese language classes to spend very much time on the writing system because the students must learn other aspects of the language in a limited number of class hours. This writing system is, however, not impossible to learn. In this half course, the students will learn the Japanese writing system historically and metacognitively, in group as well as individual sessions, and aim to overcome preconceived notions of difficulty related to the learning of Kanji. Each student in this class is expected to master roughly 500 Kanji that are used in different contexts.

Requisite: JAPA 104 or its equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Tawa.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

210H Conquering Kanji II

This half course serves either as continuation of JAPA 209H or the equivalent of 209H. See JAPA 209H for the course content.

Requisite: JAPA 104 or its equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Tawa.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

301 Introduction to Different Genres of Japanese Writing and Film

This course will introduce different genres of writing: short novels, essays, newspaper and magazine articles, poems, expository prose, scientific writings, and others. Various genres of films will also be introduced. Development of higher speaking and writing proficiency levels will be focused upon as well. The class will be conducted entirely in Japanese. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 202 or equivalent.  Fall semester.  Five College Lecturer Brown and Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

302 Moving From "Learning to Read" to "Reading to Learn" in Japanese

This course will be a continuation of JAPA 301. Various genres of writing and film, of longer and increased difficulty levels, will be used to develop a high proficiency level of reading, writing, speaking, and listening throughout the semester. At this level, the students should gradually be moving from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” This important progression will be guided carefully by the instructor. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Students will be required to practice with the materials that are on the course website at the college. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 301 or equivalent. Spring semester. Five College Lecturer Brown and Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

401 Introduction to Thematic Reading and Writing

This course is designed for the advanced students of Japanese who are interested in readings and writings on topics that are relevant to their interests. Each student will learn how to search for the relevant material, read it, and summarize it in writing in a technical manner. The course will also focus on the development of a high level of speaking proficiency. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 302 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

402 Thematic Reading and Writing

This course is a continuation of JAPA 401. In addition to learning how to search for the relevant material, read it with comprehension, and produce a high level of writing, the students will learn to conduct a small research project in this semester. The course will also focus on the development of a high level of speaking proficiency through discussions with classmates and the instructor. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 401 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

411 Introduction to Great Books and Films in the Original

This course is designed for students who possess a high proficiency level of speaking but need training in cover-to-cover book reading or film comprehension. Class materials will be selected from well-known books and films. Writing assignments will be given to develop critical and creative writing skills in Japanese. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 402 or equivalent. Fall semester.  Professor Tawa.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

412 Great Books and Films in the Original

This course is a continuation of JAPA 411. The course is designed for students who possess a high proficiency level of speaking but need training in cover-to-cover reading or film comprehension. Class materials will be selected from well-known books and films. Writing assignments will be given to develop critical and creative writing skills in Japanese. Small groups based on the students’ proficiency levels will be formed, so that instruction accords with the needs of each group. Two group meetings and two individualized or small group evaluations per week are normally required throughout the semester.

Requisite: JAPA 411 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Tawa. 

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

490, 490H Special Topics

Half course.  Fall and spring semesters.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025