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.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
This is a continuation of First-Year Arabic I. We will complete the study of the Elementary Arabic Al-Kitaab 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.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
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.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
This is a continuation of Second-Year Arabic I. We will complete the study of the Al-Kitaab 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 Senior Lecturer Hassan and Five College Lecturer Weinert.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
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. Fall Semester. Five College Lecturer Arafah.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
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. Spring Semester. Limited to 18 students. Five College Senior Lecturer Hassan.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
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.2022-23: Not offered
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 the 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.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Independent reading course.
Fall and spring semesters. Five College Teachers of Arabic.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as HIST 102 [AS/TE] and ASLC 102) Arguably beginning with the Manchurian Incident in 1931 and ending with Japan's surrender to the Allies in 1945, the Second World War lasted longer in Asia than anywhere else. Yet, histories of the global conflict still tend to focus disproportionately on the European theater. Countering that tendency, this course surveys the Asian theater, asking and answering a number of questions: How did imperialism and the rise of nationalist movements precipitate total war in Asia? What was the character of the warfare and how did it transform politics and societies in Asia? How did the war alter the geopolitical configuration of Asia and give rise to the Cold War? What are the continuing legacies of the war in the region today? While we will use Japan as a fulcrum to engage these questions, the course will attend to the regional dynamics of World War II in Asia. Classes will combine lectures, group work, and discussions. There will be a mid-term, final exam and three topical essays. Three class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 112 [AS/EUCP], ASLC 112, EUST 112 and RUSS 130) In the course of five hundred years, the Russian empire in Eurasia evolved as the largest territorial polity in the world. In this course, we will explore the medieval foundations of the imperial state and look at its predecessors and models (Kievan Rus’ and the empire of the Mongols), discuss ways in which cooperation and resistance shaped the imperial state and society, and study cultural and political entanglements among different ethnic, linguistic and confessional groups in Eurasia. Chronologically, we will cover the period from the tenth century to the crisis of the empire in the early twentieth century. Thematically, we will focus on structures of imperial state and society (the imperial house, peasantry, nobility, confessions, intelligentsia, revolutionary movement) and most important regions of the Russian Empire (Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Baltics, Siberia, Central Asia). Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Five College Associate Professor Glebov.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 114 [ASC] and ASLC 114) How does a study of the Chinese diasporic communities in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the United States, and other parts of the world help us understand the questions of ethnic identity formation, construction, and negotiation? More specifically, how does the study of their history and experiences force us to rethink the concepts of “China” and “Chinese-ness”? How did scholars, officials, and travelers construct the categories of “China” and being “Chinese”? These are the main questions that we seek to answer in this introductory course to the history of the Chinese diaspora. We will begin by looking into the early history of Chinese migration (circa 1500 to 1800) to particular geographical areas in the world, including the United States. The rest of the course will look into the history of selected diasporic communities from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. All throughout the course we will also examine how these diasporic people and their families manipulated and continue to manipulate attempts by dominant groups to control their identities, bodies, and resources, and how their lives challenge the meanings of “China” and “Chinese-ness.” Other questions to be discussed during the course are: What caused people from China to move, and to where? What forms of discrimination and control did they experience? How do their experiences and histories deepen our understanding of “race,” “empire,” and “transnationalism”? Themes to be discussed throughout the course include imperialism, colonialism, race, ethnicity, gender, nationalism, transnationalism, orientalism, hegemony, and globalization. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Five College Associate Professor Chu.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
On August 6, 1945, in the waning days of World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, laying waste to the city and killing perhaps 100,000 people. A second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki a few days later, on August 9, with similarly destructive effects. This course will investigate the literary responses to these calamities. Such works are referred to collectively as genbaku bungaku, or Atomic Bomb Literature. As the only country in history to have been attacked with nuclear weapons, Japan has a unique genre of literature. In order to illuminate this body of writing, we will draw on linguistic and communicative models, trauma theory, and nuclear criticism. We will also examine the larger historical context of the Second World War. The course is structured around three generations of writers, from the immediate aftermath of the bombings to the height of the Cold War. The course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan, and all texts are taught in English translation.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 148 and ASLC 123) A survey of the history of Japanese art from neolithic times to the present. Topics will include Buddhist art and its ritual context, the aristocratic arts of the Heian court, monochromatic ink painting and the arts related to the Zen sect, the prints and paintings of the Floating World and contemporary artists and designers such as Ando Tadao and Miyake Issey. The class will focus on the ways Japan adopts and adapts foreign cultural traditions. There will be field trips to look at works in museums and private collections in the region
Fall semester. Professor Morse.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as HIST 190 [ME/TEP] and ASLC 126) This course surveys the history of the Middle East from the outset of the Islamic period to the beginning of the modern period. It is divided into the following segments: the formative period of Islam, the classical caliphates, the classical courts, the Mongols, and the great empires of the Ottomans and the Safavids. The course is organized chronologically and follows the making and breaking of empires and political centers; however, the focus of the course is on the intellectual, social, cultural and religious developments in these periods. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Ringer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142)
This introductory course explores the art, architecture, and urban planning of the Islamic world, from the origins of Islam in the seventh century C.E. to the contemporary moment. It follows a basic chronology, but is structured primarily around thematic issues central to the study of Islamic visual culture, including, but not limited to: the primacy of the written word, geometry and ornament, optics and perception, sacred and royal space, the image and aniconism, Orientalism, modernity and tradition, and artistic exchange with Europe, China, and beyond. The class will focus on the relationships between visual culture, history, and literature by analyzing cities, buildings, and objects such as the caliphal capitals of Baghdad and Cairo, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Suleymaniye complex in Istanbul, illustrated manuscripts and photography from Iran, and contemporary art from New York City, alongside primary and secondary texts. Films, audio recordings, and field-trips to local museum collections will supplement assigned readings and lectures. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Rice.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 147 and ASLC 143) An introduction to the history of Chinese art from its beginnings in neolithic times until the end of the twentieth century. Topics will include the ritual bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese transformation of the Buddha image, imperial patronage of painting during the Song dynasty and the development of the literati tradition of painting and calligraphy. Particular weight will be given to understanding the cultural context of Chinese art.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 143 and ASLC 144) This course explores central ideas and practices in the religious and intellectual traditions of India up until the medieval period. We consider the range of available archeological, art historical, and textual evidence for religion in this period, though the course focuses mostly on texts. We will read the classic religious and philosophical literature of the traditions we now call Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor M. Heim.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 191 [ME/TC/TE] and ASLC 148) This course surveys the history of the Middle East from 1800 to the present. The focus is threefold: following political, social and intellectual trends as they evolve over time, exploring contemporary historical and methodological debates and analysis, and introducing students to important historical literature of the period. The class is divided into modules: “From Subject to Citizen,” “Engineering a Modern Middle East,” “Nationalism and the Quest for Independence,” “Islamist Opposition,” and “Taking Sovereignty: Contemporary Debates and the Post-Modern Era.” The class is discussion-oriented and writing intensive. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 152 and ASLC 152) This course is an introduction to the diverse ideals, practices, and traditions of Buddhism from its origins in South Asia to its geographical and historical diffusion throughout Asia and, more recently, into the west. We will explore the Three Jewels—the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha—and how they each provide refuge for those suffering in samsara (the endless cycle of rebirth). We will engage in close readings of the literary and philosophical texts central to Buddhism, as well as recent historical and anthropological studies of Buddhist traditions.
Fall semester. Professor M. Heim.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, decorative arts, and photography of South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan), from 2300 B.C., touching on the present. It considers the role of tradition in the broader history of art in India, but does not see India as "traditional" or unchanging. The Indian sub-continent is the source for multi-cultural civilizations that have lasted and evolved for several thousand years. Its art is as rich and complex as that of Europe, and as diverse. This course attempts to introduce the full range of artistic production in India in relation to the multiple strands that have made the cultural fabric of the sub-continent so rich and long-lasting. Films, musical recordings, and museum field-trips will supplement assigned readings and lectures. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rice.2022-23: Not offered
A survey of the literary and intellectual traditions of premodern China, the course guides students to appreciate a broad array of textual records and literary genres from antiquity to late Imperial China. We will read monumental works such as the records of Shang dynasty oracle bones, the Analects, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Tang poetry, the folk opera Mulian Rescues his Mother, and The Story of the Stone. The course explores the multiple dimensions of the practice of writing and hence reflects on where wen, or “literature,” stood in the premodern Chinese lifeworld.
All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese language or culture is assumed. Requirements include short reflection papers, a medium-length term paper, and a take-home final examination. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Ying.2022-23: Not offered
This course surveys the literary and cultural milestones in late nineteenth-century to twentieth-century China. We will explore a wide range of works from mainland China and the Sinophone world, including critically acclaimed films and theatrical productions. The course highlights the capacity of literature as a form of historical engagement and ethical reasoning as modern Chinese intellectuals braved a violent and perplexing age. Furthermore, it unpacks the multivalence of Chinese literary modernity as well as that of the very term “China.” All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of China or the Chinese language is assumed. Requirements include short reflection papers and two medium-length papers. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Ying.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 171 [ASP/TC/TE] and ASLC 171) This introductory course provides a broad overview of China’s long history and major cultural traditions from its very beginnings to the eve of modernity. No familiarity with China or previous experience in the study of history is assumed or required. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate long-term economic, social, and cultural transformations as well as the great diversity of this enormous part of the world. We will examine a broad array of issues, such as the important role of geography in shaping Chinese history, the glorified antiquity in traditional Chinese political thought, the rise and fall of unified dynastic empires, China’s troubled relationship with the Inner Asian steppe and nomadic people, continuing state penetration of frontier regions and ethnic statecraft, cycles of peasant rebellions and civil wars, the emergence of major philosophical schools and the canonization of Confucian thought, the establishment of the civil examination system and bureaucratic states, the formation of a literati culture, the rise of Buddhism and Daoism and the transformation of the Chinese religious landscape, the evolution of gender, family, and kinship structures, and China’s engagement with the outside world through trade and diplomacy. In this course, students will study a wide range of primary sources—ancient classics, poems, films, paintings, novels, and memoirs—and learn to develop skills in critical analysis and situating these sources in their historical contexts. At several points in the semester, we will also look at how this history has been used and recycled in contemporary politics and popular culture and reflect upon the continuing legacies of this history for China and the world today. Classes will entail lectures combined with close readings and discussions that engage primary texts, interpretive essays, and film. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Qiao.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as HIST 172 [AS/TC/TE] and ASLC 172) This survey of Chinese History examines the matrix of the internal and external forces and movements that have shaped modern China from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. During this period, the Chinese people dispensed with a form of government that had been used for three thousand years to form, despite various complications, a modern nation-state. We will explore major events in Modern China beginning with the Opium War, the Taiping Rebellion, the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of a new Republic, the Republican revolution, the “New Culture” Movement, Communist revolution, War against Japan, the Chinese Civil War, the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China’s role in the Korean War, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, post-Mao economic reform and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, all with comparative references to current events. Readings, which include a wide variety of documents such as religious and revolutionary tracts, eye-witness accounts, memoirs, and letters, are supplemented by interpretive essays and videos. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Qiao.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as HIST 173 [AS/TEP] and ASLC 173) This course introduces major themes and developments in medieval and early modern South Asian history with a focus on the emergence and flourishing of Islamicate regimes in the sub-continent. Commencing with the origins of Islamic polities in South Asia, the course explores the Delhi Sultanates, various syncretistic movements and devotional sects, the Vijayanagara Empire, and the Mughal Empire, as well as politics, religion, literature, art, architecture, and trade within these formations. Readings are drawn from a variety of both primary and secondary sources and combine political, social, and cultural histories. Challenging both colonialist and nationalist views of this vast period as one of religious persecution, tyranny, and stagnation, the course seeks to demonstrate the vitality, hybridity, and dynamism characterizing these centuries of the second millennium. We will therefore lay particular emphasis on the processes of transculturation between the Islamic and Indic distinguishing this period. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 175 [AS/TC/TEP] and ASLC 225) Contrary to images of a uniform and stable culture, the Japanese archipelago possesses a history marked by fragmentation, violent conflict, and dynamic cultural change. This course traces that history from the beginnings of human history on the archipelago to the establishment of one of the most stable and peaceful regimes in human history, the Tokugawa shogunate. Our survey will be organized around a central riddle: why was it so difficult to produce a stable, unified polity on the Japanese archipelago? Placing Japan within the broader regional context of East Asia, we will answer this riddle by following the rise of successive political authorities, from the sacral rulers of the tomb period to the samurai. Prominent themes include the rise of early polities, contact with the Chinese continent and Korean peninsula, the aristocratic culture of the Heian court and its displacement by medieval samurai rule, the role of Buddhist thought and institutions, the “warring states” period of the sixteenth-century and cosmopolitan contact with Christian Europe, and the Tokugawa peace and its urban cultural forms. Throughout, we will read a variety of sources, including eighth-century mythology, aristocratic literature, war chronicles, religious and philosophical texts, as well as modern fiction and film.
This is a writing attentive survey of Japan’s history from antiquity through the eighteenth century. It traces political, social, and cultural developments in order to provide basic literacy in pre-modern Japanese history and a basis both for comparative history and further course work in Japanese history. Classes will combine lectures with close readings and discussions of the assigned texts. Requirements include short response papers and topical essays. Three class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
In this course we will explore the past and present of Islamic orthodoxy—the authoritative prescription of the correct (T. Asad). We will examine pre-modern and modern Muslim authors and schools of thought that are engaged in establishing and prescribing normative standards of Islamic ideals and practice. In the course of exploring works of Islamic law, theology, philosophy, mysticism, Qur'anic commentary, and other genres that exhibit an “orthodox-izing" tendency (S. Ahmed), we will pay close attention to the roles played by political authorities and events, social and religious institutions and concepts; and to the ways that these motivate, shape, and guide Islamic discourse that is directed toward establishing authoritative truth. Our objectives are to address several principal questions. Can the emergence of Sunnism be interpreted as the development of orthodoxy? To what degree is Islam directed towards the authoritative establishment of an exclusive truth? Are Muslims perpetual and persistent orthodox-izers? How can interrogating “Sunni" orthodoxy and “sectarian” heresies teach us about how claims to authority are made and how truth is conceptualized in Islam?
Spring semester. Associate Professor Jaffer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 187 and ASLC 187) Islam is a tradition with 1400 years of history and over one billion adherents today in countries around the globe. This course equips students with the basic vocabulary needed to understand the diversity of ideals and practices, sects, and intellectual currents found among Muslims over the course of this history. In the first half of the course, we will engage in close readings from scripture (the Qur’an and hadith), and central texts of biography, law, theology, and mysticism (Sufism) to discover the variety of Islamic ideals and practices. We will emphasize the ways that the meanings of such ideals and practices are contested within the Islamic tradition. In the second half of the course, we will shift to examine early modern and modernist ideals and socio-religious practices by engaging with anthropological and historical studies. In these final modules, we will interrogate the ways that the canonical sources of medieval Islam are deployed, their meanings and significance contested and reinterpreted against the backdrop of geopolitical events and socio-political landscapes as well as in light of personal experiences and European thought.
Omitted 2019-20. Associate Professor Jaffer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 207, ASLC 207, and POSC 207) This course will study South Asian women and gender through key texts in film, literature, history and politics. How did colonialism and nationalism challenge the distinctions between the “home” and the “world” and bring about partitions which splintered once shared cultural practices? What consequences did this have for postcolonial politics? How do ethnic conflicts, religious nationalisms and state repression challenge conceptions of home? How have migrations, globalization and diasporas complicated relations between the home and the world?
Fall semester. Professor Shandilya.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as POSC 208 and ASLC 208) This course provides an introduction to the major institutions, actors, and ideas that shape contemporary Chinese politics. Through an examination of texts from the social sciences as well as historical narratives and film, we will analyze the development of the current party-state, the relationship between the state and society, policy challenges, and prospects for further reform. First, we examine the political history of the People’s Republic, including the Maoist period and the transition to market reforms. Next, we will interrogate the relations between various social groups and the state, through an analysis of contentious politics in China including the ways in which the party-state seeks to maintain social and political stability. Finally, we will examine the major policy challenges in contemporary China including growing inequality, environmental degradation, waning economic growth, and foreign policy conflicts.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Ratigan.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as ASLC 220 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 class 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 the center 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. We will use that complexity to engage in interdisciplinary thinking and to consider a culture different than one’s own.
The seminar will culminate with an 8-day trip to Tokyo, Japan in early January 2020. All students enrolled in the course are expected to participate in the trip. The cost of the trip will be covered by Amherst College. Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Open to sophomores and juniors. Admission with consent of the instructors. Enrollment is by written application only, with an interview process to follow in Spring 2019. Preference given to students who have prior course work in East Asian studies. Fall semester. Professors Maxey and Morse.2022-23: Not offered
The preface to an early-tenth-century Japanese poetry anthology makes extraordinary claims for the power of words: they can move heaven and earth, make the gods feel pity, smooth the relations between men and women, and console the hearts of warriors. To this we might add that words could also express political or religious dissent, the sorrow of exile, and the pain of a broken heart. In surveying the entire sweep of the literature written in classical Japanese, beginning with the oldest extant book in Japan, dating to the early eighth century, we will explore the many and varied uses of words. We will examine the love poetry of the court, 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. A postscript to the course will take us to the end of classical Japanese as the language of literature around 1900. No previous knowledge of Japan is required, and all texts are taught in English translation.
Spring Semester. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
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 re-emergence 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.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ASLC 234 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 2019-20. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as HIST 176 [AS/TC/TE] and ASLC 247) The transformation of the Japanese archipelago from a relatively secluded agrarian polity in the early-nineteenth century into East Asia’s leading economic power with a global footprint by the end of the twentieth century is one of the most dramatic stories of modern history. This course introduces the history of this transformation through two “revolutions”: the formation of an imperialist nation-state and post-World War II creation of a pacifist democracy. We will pay close attention to the political debates and social conflicts that accompanied these revolutions. We will begin with the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate, follow the rise of the modern Japanese nation-state through colonial expansion and total war, and conclude with the postwar economic recovery, democratization, and the socio-political challenges facing the Japanese nation-state in the twenty-first century. Our goal along the way will be to explore in the specific context of Japanese history themes relevant to the history of global modernities: the collapse of a traditional regime, the creation of a nation-state, imperial expansion, industrialization, feminist and socialist critiques, total war, democratization, high economic growth and mass consumer culture. Classes will entail lectures combined with close readings and discussions that engage primary texts, interpretive essays, and film. This is a writing attentive course with requirements including short writing exercises and topical essays. Three class meetings per week.
Spring Semester. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 249 and ASLC 248) How is Buddhism engaged in the world? How does contemporary Buddhism promote and inhibit social justice? This course explores how Buddhism addresses contemporary issues such as human rights, environmentalism, economic development, and gender relations in Asia and the United States. Sectarian violence, particularly between Buddhists and Muslims, will be studied as an obstacle to implementing social justice. The historical development and application of Buddhism in relation to social justice will be examined in light of traditional Buddhist concepts of morality, interdependence and liberation in comparison with Western ideas of freedom, human rights, and democracy. Case studies from Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tibet, India, and the U.S. within their broader cultural, historical, and political contexts provide examples of both progressive and conservative responses to social justice. We will consider how globalization and cultural traditions influence the process of religious and cultural change as people deal with social problems. Prior knowledge or experience with Buddhism or Asian studies is recommended.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Darlington.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 261 and ASLC 260) Visual imagery plays a central role in the Buddhist faith. As the religion developed and spread throughout Asia it took many forms. This course will first examine the appearance of the earliest aniconic traditions in ancient India, the development of the Buddha image, and early monastic centers. It will then trace the dissemination and transformation of Buddhist art as the religion reached South-East Asia, Central Asia, and eventually East Asia. In each region indigenous cultural practices and artistic traditions influenced Buddhist art. Among the topics the course will address are the nature of the Buddha image, the political uses of Buddhist art, the development of illustrated hagiographies, and the importance of pilgrimage, both in the past and the present.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267) The book has played (and continues to play) a central role in the Islamic world. As a technology, it gives physical form to the Qur’an, an orally proclaimed text, allowing Islam’s scripture to be read, touched, held, and easily transported. It is a carrier of divine blessing, but also of wisdom, authority, tradition, and affiliation. The earliest Islamic books were either very fragile, being made of papyrus, or expensive, being made of animal skin (parchment). Knowledge of papermaking, which traveled westward from its place of origin in China, revolutionized the production of manuscripts in royal and intellectual hubs like Samarqand, Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba. Books on geography, history, poetry, and science soon proliferated, many of them filled with fantastic paintings made of gold leaf, ground minerals, and carbon-based inks. We will study the history of the Islamic book, from manuscripts of the Qur’an, which often bear calligraphy but almost never include illustrations, to historical, astrological, and poetic works—like the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings)—that contain images of various types and sizes. We will pay special attention to who produced, collected, and circulated these books, and ask how and according to which criteria they were conceived, used, and evaluated. We will bring to our objects of study a close-viewing lens, but also explore the use of computational tools drawn from the Digital Humanities. Visits to view book materials in local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Fall semester. Professor Rice.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 271 [AS/TS] and ASLC 271) This course explores how caste was politicized over the course of colonial and post-colonial periods in India. It focuses on the emergence and development of various movements opposed to caste-based inequality and injustice, as well as the ongoing search for social justice. The course reviews scholarly debates about understanding this form of identification and social hierarchy, and examines the complex ways in which caste articulates with other social phenomena, like gender, class, religion, and nationality. It lays emphasis on the writings and work of key anti-caste thinkers and activists, in particular, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the preeminent leader of the Dalits, and a key figure in drafting the Constitution of India. Based on close readings of various kinds of primary sources, as well as an engagement with secondary literature in history, political science, sociology, anthropology and literary studies, the course follows the story of the struggle to “annihilate” caste. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 272 [AS/TE] and ASLC 272) Political and social movements in South Africa, the United States of America, Germany, Myanmar, India, and elsewhere, have drawn inspiration from the non-violent political techniques advocated by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during his leadership of the anti-colonial struggle for Indian freedom from British colonial rule. This course charts a global history of Gandhi’s thought about non-violence and its expression in civil disobedience and resistance movements both in India and the world. Organized in three modules, the first situates Gandhi through consideration of the diverse sources of his own historical and ideological formation; the second examines the historical contexts and practices through which non-violence acquired meaning for him; the third considers the various afterlives of Gandhian politics in movements throughout the world. We will examine autobiography and biography, Gandhi's collected works, various types of primary source, political, social, and intellectual history, and audio-visual materials. In addition to widely disseminated narratives of Gandhi as a symbol of non-violence, the course will also closely attend to the deep contradictions concerning race, caste, gender, and class that characterized his thought and action. By unsettling conventional accounts of his significance, we will grapple with the problem of how to make sense of his troubled legacy. Prior familiarity with the subject matter is not required. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as LJST 277 and ASLC 277) Islamic constitutionalism is now a global phenomenon. References to Islam or Islamic law have been incorporated into more than two dozen constitutions. Many states that are constitutionally Islamic also espouse commitments to liberal rights such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, and nondiscrimination. Rather than rehearse common binarisms that assess the compatibility of Islam and liberalism, this course considers the dilemmas that emerge in societies where individuals are subject to multiple normative orders. We will consider how classical Islamic law varies from its modern codification, as well as how colonial inheritances such as British common law and French civil law shape legal systems in post-independence states. Drawing on an array of case studies, we will address issues like religious liberty, criminal sentencing, and personal status. How do judges adjudicate between various and often competing sources of authority? What discursive resources become available to complainants, litigators, and jurists living under these hybrid legal regimes? How does Islamic constitutionalism compare with other varieties of religious establishment?
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Oraby.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 281, ARCH 281, and ASLC 281) This course examines artistic exchanges and encounters in the Islamic world during the early modern period. We will focus on the movement of artists, objects, and systems of knowledge between and beyond the Mamluk, Ottoman, Timurid, Safavid, and Mughal courts, placing special emphasis upon encounters with the arts of Europe and East Asia. Among the topics to be considered are the design, circulation, and trade of textiles; the arts of diplomacy and gift exchange; the nature of curiosity and wonder; and artists’ responses to the “other.” This course aims to challenge conventional, essentialist binaries (e.g., East vs. West, Islamic vs. European), and to re-assess the standard art historical narratives from a more culturally, geographically, and economically interconnected perspective.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Rice.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 281 [TC], ASLC 282 and RELI 281) A study of eminent Muslim reformers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, hailing from diverse Islamic cultures and geographical locations including South Asia, West Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Iran, Central Asia, and the Ottoman Empire. We will examine ways in which religion intersected with social and political reform projects, explore thematic conversations among these reformers that transcend time and place, and look at ways in which many of these issues continue to resonate to the present day.
Limited to 25 students. Spring Semester. Professor Ringer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 382 and ASLC 287) In this course we will study the foundational texts that were composed within the intellectual traditions of Islam (800–1200) and which have stimulated intellectual discourse in Islamic cultures until today. Our primary goal will be to understand the nature and significance of the debates that took place within pre-modern Islamic societies and to grasp the issues at stake in them.
We will discuss the ways that Muslim intellectuals responded to specific philosophical questions: How did the universe come into being? Does it have a beginning? What is the nature of the soul? Is there an afterlife? Further, we will explore the way that prophecy, dreams, prayer, miracles, magic, and sacred objects—all of which were part of the social reality of Islamic societies—were explained using “reasoned” arguments and concepts. We will discuss the theories of language and revelation that Muslims developed to explain the Qur’an: What does it mean to receive revelation from a supernatural agent? And we will discuss the controversies that surrounded heresy and apostasy: Who counts as a heretic or an unbeliever and why?
In the course of examining the above issues, we will be attentive to the social and political forces that shaped intellectual activity in Islamic culture by considering the cross-cultural migration of ideas. We will study the ways that philosophical and scientific knowledge migrated from ancient Greece to Islamic lands, and the ways that such knowledge was refined, altered, interpreted, and advanced. Further, we will examine the process through which such knowledge was transmitted to western Europe and the ways that it stimulated intellectual activity there, leading to the Renaissance.
Omitted 2019-20. Associate Professor Jaffer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 288, ASLC 288 and FAMS 321) Overblown cinematic spectacles, meandering storylines, and distracting dance numbers commonly characterize Indian commercial cinema known as Bollywood. The course is organized to study Bollywood as what scholar Lalitha Gopalan has called a “constellation of interruptions” and proposes that these features contribute to a consistent narrative structure developed within a distinctive visual and cinematic tradition. We will analyze a selection of feature-length films closely, debate scholarly articles, write guided assignments, and pursue independent research papers. We will develop provocative historical and theoretical perspectives that locate Indian films in a critical relation to other traditions of world cinema. Two 80 minute classes and one 180 minute screening.
Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2019-20. Visiting Professor Sinha.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 317 and ASLC 317) This course teaches students how to design research projects and analyze data about people in China. Students will read about and discuss previous findings from the instructor’s longitudinal project about Chinese only-children and their families, and findings from comparable projects in China and elsewhere. Course assignments will be tailored to the interests, skills, and academic background of each student, so first-year students, sophomores, and students with no Chinese language skills are welcome and just as likely to succeed as juniors, seniors, and students with Chinese language skills. Each student will work not only on assignments suitable for his/her current skills and interests, but also read the work of other students with different skills, interests, and disciplinary knowledge and participate in discussions of their work, so all students will learn about the many different kinds of skills and research methods that can help them gain a better understanding of China.
Requisite: ANTH 115. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Fong.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 318 and ASLC 318) This course examines Chinese childrearing, focusing primarily on childrearing in mainland China. We will look at differences as well as similarities between childrearing in Chinese families of different socioeconomic status within China, as well as between childrearing in mainland China and in childrearing in Chinese and non-Chinese families worldwide. We will also look at dominant discourses within and outside of China about the nature of Chinese childrearing and ask about relationships between those discourses and the experiences of Chinese families. Students will work together to conduct original research about childrearing in China, drawing on data from the instructor’s research projects. Course assignments will be tailored to the interests, skills, and academic background of each student, so first-years, sophomores, and students with no Chinese language skills are welcome and just as likely to succeed as juniors, seniors, and students with Chinese language skills.
Requisite: ANTH 115, 288, 317, 323, or 332. Limited to 20 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Fong.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as ARHA 383 and ASLC 319) An examination of the history of chanoyu, the tea ceremony, from its origins in the fifteenth century to the practice of tea today. The class will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment-the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, the forms of tea utensils, and the elements of the kaiseki meal. Through a study of the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture, the course will also trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West. There will be field trips to visit tea ware collections, potters and tea masters. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Morse.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as HIST 319 [ME/TC/TEC], ASLC 320 and RELI 322) Conceptions of the religious and the secular that continue to resonate today assumed global significance in the course of the nineteenth century as colonial empires and nascent nation-states negotiated how they would govern heterogeneous populations and interact with each other. Drawing on scholarship from a number of disciplines that historicize the categories of religion and secularity, this course will examine the political function of the religious and the secular as conceptual and regulatory categories in the 19th century. Colonial administrations, for example, employed the conceit of secularism to neutralize religious difference while individuals and communities attempted to reform and modernize local traditions as “religion” in order to navigate global hierarchies. We will begin with a historiographic and theoretical survey, covering topics that include the academic creation of “World Religions,” the politics of conversion within the British Empire, and the discourse of Orientalist spiritualism. The second half of the course will apply these historiographic and theoretical concerns to East Asia and Japan in particular. Requirements will include two topical essays and one longer paper entailing modest research. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 325 and ASLC 325) An examination of the construction, use, and interpretation of images and icons. The primary focus will be on images and icons in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths; however, the class will also make comparisons with those in Christianity and the religions of Africa and New Guinea. Some of the topics to be covered will include the relationship between icons and deities, the authentication and animation of images, the connections between icons and political authority, the ritual use of images, and aniconism and iconoclasm. The class is designed to focus on art historical writing.
Limited to 18 students to facilitate class discussion. Spring semester. Prof. Morse.2022-23: Not offered
Written over one thousand years ago by the court lady, Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is the supreme masterpiece of Japanese literature and a work whose influence on subsequent arts and letters in the country cannot be overestimated. As the world’s earliest extant prose narrative by a woman writer, the Genji has received much attention in world literature and women’s studies programs and, with its rich psychological portraits of desire, guilt, and memory, has gained for itself a reputation as “the world’s oldest novel.” In this course, we will read the entire Tale of Genji in English translation and engage fully with its sophistication and complexity by employing diverse critical perspectives. We will investigate the tenth-century prose experiments that made the work possible and examine a number of later works in different genres so as to gain awareness of the impact of the Genji on the culture of every historical era since its composition. We will also have occasion to consider the reception of Murasaki’s masterpiece in the English-speaking world.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369) In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either country.
Spring 2020. Professor Van Compernolle and Professor Katsaros.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 331 and ASLC 341) In an era where “terrorism” has eclipsed the nuclear fears of the Cold War and become associated with a radicalism that is portrayed as at once militant, anti-Western, and bound to a particular region (the Middle East) and religion (Islam), the task of this seminar—to examine the everyday realities of people living throughout the Middle East—has become all the more critical. Beginning with an historical eye toward the ways that the “West” has discovered, translated, and written about the “Orient,” this seminar will use anthropological readings, documentary film, and literary accounts to consider a range of perspectives on the region commonly referred to as the Middle East. Rather than attempting a survey of the entire region, the course will take a thematic approach and explore such topics as: Islam and secularism, colonialism and postcoloniality, gender and political mobilization, media and globalization, and the politics and ethics of nation building. As an anthropology course, the class will take up these themes through richly contextualized accounts of life within the region. While it is recognized that the Middle East is incredibly heterogeneous, particular attention will be given to the influence and role of Islam. By the end of the seminar, students will have gained a broad understanding of some of the most pressing issues faced within the area, while at the same time grappling with advanced theoretical readings. No previous knowledge of the Middle East is assumed.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor C. Dole.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 393 [MEP] and ASLC 355) This course examines in depth the formative period of Islam between c. 500-680. Using predominantly primary material, we will chart the emergence, success, and evolution of Islam, the Islamic community, and the Islamic polity. The focus of this course is on understanding the changing nature over time of peoples’ understanding of and conception of what Islam was and what Islam implied socially, religiously, culturally and politically. We concentrate on exploring the growth of the historical tradition of Islam and its continued contestations amongst scholars today. This course will familiarize students with the events, persons, ideas, texts and historical debates concerning this period. It is not a course on the religion or beliefs of Islam, but a historical deconstruction and analysis of the period. This class is writing intensive. Two class meetings per week.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Ringer.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as HIST 392 [ME/TC/TE] and ALSC 359) This seminar explores contemporary Iran from a historical and interdisciplinary perspective. The aim of the course is both to provide an overall understanding of the history of Iran, as well as those key elements of religion, literature, legend, and politics that together shape Iran's understanding of itself. We will utilize a wide variety of sources, including Islamic and local histories, Persian literature, architecture, painting and ceramics, film, political treatises, Shiite theological writing, foreign travel accounts, and U.S. state department documents, in addition to secondary sources. Two class meetings per week.
Recommended requisite: a survey course on the modern Middle East. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Ringer.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
What does it entail, and feel like, to embrace the modern world from a Buddhist perspective? The course examines key issues that have shaped the development of modern Buddhism across East Asia, while fostering a critical assessment of some fundamental assumptions in the making of the modern age. Threading through the entire course is a provocative dialogue between, on the one hand, modern events and intellectual currents such as scientific rationalism, secularization, imperialism, nationalism, feminism, and environmentalism, and on the other hand, seminal Buddhist teachings that stand profoundly persuasive across time and space. We unpack this dialogue through stories, which are drawn from China, Japan, Taiwan, Tibet, Vietnam, and occasionally from Europe and the United States. The seminar highlights literature as a vehicle for spiritual reflection especially in a global and postsecular world. All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Buddhism is assumed. Requirements include weekly reflection papers, an oral presentation, and a final paper. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Ying.2022-23: Not offered
This course is an invitation to the literary world of Lu Xun, the iconic writer of twentieth-century China, a relentless critic and a man of spiritual anguish. Besides delving into Lu Xun’s different periods and genres of writing, we will also read a constellation of writers who have been in dialogue with Lu Xun: his younger brother and the humanist flag-bearer Zhou Zuoren, the gifted female writer Xiao Hong, the storyteller of China’s southwest hinterland Shen Congwen, and the Taiwanese Marxist writer Guo Songfen. In taking a close look at select authors, the course helps students gain methodological awareness in the study of modern China.
All readings are in English. Prior knowledge of modern China is preferred but not required. Requirements include short reflection papers, an oral presentation, a book review, and a final paper. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Ying.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 367 [AS/TE] and ASLC 367) This seminar introduces students to the major historical scholarship and debates on the state, society, and economy in China during the Ming-Qing era, the last two imperial dynasties. The purpose of the course is to not only familiarize students with important issues in late imperial Chinese history, but also engage them in representative work by successive generations of scholars in order to understand how historical interpretations (including theoretical orientations, methodology, and use of sources) have developed over time. We will focus on the following key topics: the respective features of the Ming and Qing imperial states; frontier expansion and ethnic statecraft; the structure of local government and rural control; the law in society; heterodoxy, collective violence, and peasant rebellion; the evolution of the Chinese family and lineage system; the nature of the Chinese “gentry” and the foundations of their power; civil examinations and their role in fostering social mobility, elite reproduction, and stable imperial rule; commercial expansion and the rise of an urban culture; the role of merchants in society, the organizations of commerce and industry, and “sprouts of capitalism”; cities and the debate over whether a “civil society” or “public sphere” existed in late imperial China; the flow of silver and China’s participation in the early modern global maritime trade; and the rival approaches to understanding that most controversial of topics, the late imperial Chinese economy and the “Great Divergence” debate. All of these topics have provoked intense debates and fostered an important and growing body of scholarship. This is a reading intensive and writing attentive course. Requirements include short response papers, book reviews, and topical essays. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Qiao.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as HIST 368 and ASLC 368) This seminar examines the role of various frontier regions and borderlands in the long span of Chinese history. Ever since the ancient times, the development of agricultural communities, dynastic states, and Sinitic cultures in China was deeply intertwined with the fate of the societies on its borders such as Mongolia, Manchuria, Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and the mountainous southwestern regions. In this course, we will read both classic and cutting edge scholarship on China’s frontier regions and critically engage a number of major historiographical issues in Chinese history such as empire building, frontier expansion, borderland society, cross-cultural trade, environmental changes, the construction of ethnicity, and Chinese nationalism. At the end of the course, students will not only learn about the history of China’s frontier regions, but also gain deep insights into China’s persistent problems in its borderland areas.
Some knowledge of Chinese history and culture is helpful but not necessary to do well in this course. Spring semester. Professor Qiao.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 370 [AS/TE/TS] and ASLC 370) Japan emerged as the only non-Western multi-ethnic empire in the second half of the nineteenth century. Comparing that empire to others across the globe, this course will consider how Japanese imperialism facilitated the complex circulation of goods, ideas, people and practices in modern Asia. We will ask how that complex circulation shaped Japan, as well as the colonial modernities of Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria. Topics will include the formation of a regional imperial order in Asia, colony and metropole relations, gender and imperialism, regional migration, empire and total war, decolonization, and history and memory. Requirements include short response papers and topical essays. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 375 [AS/TC/TE], ANTH 375 and ASLC 375) This course explores the intervention made by the Subaltern Studies Collective in the discipline of history-writing, particularly in the context of South Asia. Dissatisfied that previous histories of Indian nationalism were all in some sense “elitist,” this group of historians, anthropologists, and literary theorists sought to investigate how various marginalized communities—women, workers, peasants, adivasis—contributed in their own terms to the making of modern South Asia. Their project thus engaged broader methodological questions and problems about how to write histories of the marginal. Combining theoretical statements with selections from the 12-volume series as well as individual monographs, our readings and discussion will chart the overall trajectory of Subaltern Studies from its initial moorings in the works of the Italian Marxian theorist Antonio Gramsci to its later grounding in the critique of colonial discourse. The objective is to understand how this school of history-writing transformed the understanding of modern South Asian history. Our discussion will engage with the critiques and debates generated in response to the project and the life of the analytical category, “subalternity,” outside South Asia. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 377 [AS/TE] and ASLC 377) This course examines the rise, establishment, and decline of British colonialism in India. Originating with the profound transitions underway in the mid-eighteenth century, the colonial state extended its reach over much of the subcontinent over the following century, yet crumbled by the middle of the twentieth. How do we understand these great revolutions in society and politics historically? What did they mean for those whose lives were transformed by them? How does the legacy of colonialism endure? Structured by the most important debates colonial rule generated both historically and historiographically, the course offers the opportunity to ask the old riddle, what was colonialism? In consultation with the instructor, students may choose to write the seminar-paper required for the History major in this course. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 388 and ASLC 383) This course will survey the Chinese pictorial and calligraphic traditions from the Neolithic era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the period from the Northern Song to the Qing dynasties and the development of the landscape idiom, but the course will also address the figure, bird and flower, and narrative traditions as well. It will conclude with an exploration of the ways contemporary artists engage the legacy of China’s cultural heritage. Special attention will be given to the differences between Western methodological approaches to Chinese painting and the theories of painting developed by the Chinese themselves.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This course will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The course will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The course will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.
Omitted 2019-20. Professor Morse.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 385, ASLC 385 and ENGL 301) Islam is a religion with over one billion adherents across the globe. The Qur'ān and Prophetic Traditions inform Muslim belief, socio-religious practices and rituals. They are the foundation of Islamic law and ethics; the main inspiration behind Islamic mysticism and arts; and motivations for Islamic piety. The Qur'ān has served as a model for theories of the Islamic state, fundamentalism and ideology. As one of the most widely read and recited books in the history of humankind, it has given rise to a tradition of interpretation that spans well over a thousand years and encompasses commentaries composed in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Malay, Javanese, and Swahili. We will study the Qur'ān’s thought world, including its major ideas, themes and symbols; the Qur'ān’s literary style and structure; the Qur'ān’s engagement with Jewish and Christian traditions; the historical process through which the Qur'ān became the first Arabic book; the process through which it became a scripture vested with authority; and the divergent ways that Muslims have venerated and interpreted the Qur'ān. We will focus on several salient questions: How did Muslims try to explain the seemingly contradictory material within the Qur'ān? How did they try to explain the Qur'ān’s proclamation that it is of supernatural origin? What methods of reasoning, literary devices, and sources of religious authority did Muslims invoke in order to fulfill the need for scriptural interpretation? How does the Qur'ān conceive of itself as a scripture and of revelation? How does it engage with and respond to earlier scriptures such as the Bible?
Recommended requisite: One course in RELI. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Associate Professor Jaffer.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
(Offered as ASLC 436 and FAMS 422) 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. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as ASLC 437 and FAMS 437) Japanese animation (popularly known as anime) is ubiquitous in today’s world. This seminar traces the history of animation in Japan, from the earliest known work in 1907, stenciled directly onto a strip of celluloid, to the media convergence of the present. Animation allows us access to a larger history of media in Japan, including cinema, television, and today’s hybrid “contents industry.” Animation is also shaped by these many media forms. Topics include the relationship between animation and the state during wartime, the rise of a commercial industry, the analog revolution of the multi-plane camera, the digital revolution of the computer, and the stream of experimental animation across the twentieth century, among others. Course materials include films, television shows, computer entertainments, technical readings, and theoretical essays. Assignments, centered on a final research paper, are designed to cultivate research skills that can be applied to popular culture texts.
Limited to 25 students. Fall Semester. Professor Van Compernolle.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 469, ASLC 452, and FAMS 322) How do we define the word “feminism”? Can the term be used to define cinematic texts outside the Euro-American world? In this course we will study a range of issues that have been integral to feminist theory—the body, domesticity, same sex desire, gendered constructions of the nation, feminist utopias and dystopias—through a range of South Asian cinematic texts. Through our viewings and readings we will consider whether the term “feminist” can be applied to these texts, and we will experiment with new theoretical lenses for exploring these films. Films will range from Satyajit Ray’s classic masterpiece Charulata to Gurinder Chadha’s trendy diasporic film, Bend It Like Beckham. Attendance for screenings on Monday is compulsory.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Shandilya.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 470 [AS/TC] and ASLC 470) The rise of Shanghai as a cosmopolitan modern city in the nineteenth century and the vicissitude of its fortune in the twentieth century closely paralleled China’s modern history–in fact, many of China’s most important modern transformations first took place in the metropolis. Shanghai was the largest treaty port with the first foreign concessions in China, and thus emerged as the primary conduit for western ideas and culture. It witnessed the rise of China’s first bourgeoisie and urban middle class, and along with them, a modern consumer culture, popular media, modern aesthetics and new forms of art. It was also the origin of the workers’ movement and communist revolution and where the Chinese Communist Party held its first meetings. During the Mao era, Shanghai was not only the preeminent industrial city in the country, but also a major political center where the cultural revolution was plotted. Thanks to its key role in China’s modernity, the history of Shanghai has generated a substantial and impressive body of scholarship over the past few decades. In this research seminar, we will examine the various scholarly approaches to Shanghai’s history and grapple with a number of important theoretical and historiographic issues that are central to the study of modern Chinese history. In this seminar, we will develop research and writing skills in order to conduct a research project. This course requires some familiarity with modern Chinese history, but command of Chinese language is not necessary. Assignments include research exercises, short response papers, presentations, a research prospectus, and a final paper. Students wishing to fulfill the seminar paper requirement may opt to write a research paper. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Qiao.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 474 [AS/TE] and ASLC 474) Anti-colonial nationalism in India was one of the first major movements towards the decolonization of the global south. This reading and writing intensive research seminar examines the story of the Indian nationalist movement and the effort to liberate the subcontinent and its peoples from British colonial rule. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources, the course chronologically explores the rise and development of nationalist ideology and practice, and introduces students to four broadly conceived historiographical schools and their interpretations of this movement—nationalist, Marxist, Cambridge, and Subaltern Studies. Students will thereby engage with a number of prominent historiographical debates about Indian nationalism and gain an in-depth appreciation of the triumphs, contradictions, and failures that marked the struggle for freedom in India, as well as its troubled legacies. Writing assignments are designed to culminate in a substantial research paper. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Sen.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 477 [AS/TE/TS] and ASLC 462) The fifteen years of war initiated by Japan—variously referred to as the Pacific War, the Great East Asian War, the Fifteen-year War, World War II, and the Asian-Pacific War—continue to shape the politics and diplomacy of Asia. This seminar examines the historiographic challenges that arise from the war in the memory and history of Japan, East Asia, and the United States. The principal questions guiding the seminar will be: What is the relationship between history and memory in our media-saturated world? How are the memory and history of war intertwined in both national and international politics? What forms of memory have been included and excluded from dominant historical narratives and commemorative devices? What role can the academic discipline of history play in these controversies? The goal of the seminar will be to immerse ourselves in a critical conversation and to produce archival research projects. To that end, scholarly monographs, edited volumes, oral history, literature, and film will guide our discussions. Active class participation, ungraded writing exercises, and one research paper (20~25 pages) will be required. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. ;Omitted 2019-20. Professor Maxey.2022-23: Not offered
Independent reading course.
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
(Offered as HIST 493 [ME/TC/TE/TS] and ASLC 493) Mustafa Kemal "Ataturk" looms large in Turkish historical memory. As a national hero and Turkey’s first President from 1923 until his death in 1938, Ataturk symbolizes a shift from empire to republic, from subject to citizen. He is remembered for promoting the secularization, democratization and Westernization of Turkey. Turkey’s current President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has now served as head of the Turkish Republic for nearly as long as Ataturk. Supporters point to Erdogan's policies of democratization as the fulfillment of Ataturk’s intentions, while his opponents argue that Erdogan is deliberately dismantling the foundations of Ataturk’s secular and western-oriented republic. This seminar focuses on how these two leaders are variously imagined and claimed, as a window onto contemporary debates surrounding secularism and the place of religion, nationalism and minority rights, the tensions between authoritarianism and democracy, and the ways in which competing visions of the Ottoman past surround alternative constructions of Turkey’s future. Two course meetings per week.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Preference given to students who have taken HIST 191. Omitted 2019-20. Professor Ringer.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 494 [ME], ANTH 431, and ASLC 494) At different points in its nearly 2000-year history, the city now known as Istanbul has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. Alternately branded as a “global city” and selected as the “Cultural Capital of Europe,” Istanbul continues to thrive as a complex urban landscape of intersecting economies, histories, and ideas. Over its long history, millions of people and multiple communities have called Istanbul their home—each shaping the city with distinct visions of the past and longings for the future. As innumerable identities (communal, religious, national, ethnic) have been both claimed and erased to serve a variety of political, economic, and social ideologies, Istanbul stands today as a city where the meanings of space and place are contested like few others. This seminar explores the connections between contemporary politics and society in Turkey through the contested histories of space and place-making in Istanbul, with special attention to the varied historical legacy of architecture of the city. Two 80 minute class meetings per week.
The seminar will culminate with a 12-day trip to Istanbul, Turkey. All students enrolled in the course are expected to participate in the trip. The trip will begin immediately after the final exam period, departing on May 12 and returning on May 23. The cost of the trip will be covered by the College.
Recommended requisite: Prior course work in Middle East studies. Limited to 12 Amherst College students. Open to sophomores and juniors. Admission with consent of the instructors. Enrollment is by written application only, with an interview process to follow. Omitted 2019-20. Professors Dole and Ringer.2022-23: Not offered
Fall semester. The Department.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
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 course meets five times per week (lectures on MWF and drill sessions on TTh).
Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Teng.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
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 course 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. Discussion sections limited to 8 students. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Teng.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
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. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Li.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
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. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Li.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
This course, alongside Chinese 302 in the spring semester, is our third-year class offered for students who have completed the first two years of Mandarin Chinese. We continue to emphasize pronunciation and intonation, practice listening and speaking, and work to improve our command of grammar with more complex syntax structures. The class will see a switch from textbook materials to selective authentic texts for the general Chinese reader, and introduce the students to a variety of topics, genres, and speech types ranging from literary works to media and popular cultural materials. Exposed to a significantly larger vocabulary, the students read and write with the aid of a dictionary as the class prepares them to become independent readers of idiomatic Chinese for the fourth-year level. The course meets five times per week (lectures on MWF and drill sessions on TTh).
Requisite: CHIN 202 or equivalent. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
This course, as the continuation of Chinese 301 in the fall semester, is our third-year class offered for students who have completed the first two years of Mandarin Chinese. We continue to emphasize pronunciation and intonation, practice listening and speaking, and work to improve our command of grammar with more complex syntax structures. The class will see a switch from textbook materials to selective authentic texts for the general Chinese reader, and introduce the students to a variety of topics, genres, and speech types ranging from literary works to media and popular cultural materials. Exposed to a significantly larger vocabulary, the students read and write with the aid of a dictionary as the class prepares them to become independent readers of idiomatic Chinese for the fourth-year level. The course meets five times per week (lectures on MWF and drill sessions on TTh).
Requisite: CHIN 301 or equivalent. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
This course, along with Chinese 402 in the spring semester, is the most advanced class in our Chinese language curriculum. Giving consistent emphasis to listening, speaking, writing, and grammar, the course focuses on advanced reading of authentic and idiomatic texts of Mandarin Chinese. With a balanced consideration to various topics, genres, and speech types, literary works will make up the principal part of the fourth-year reading materials. Exposed to a large and sophisticated vocabulary, and with the aid of a dictionary, the students read independently as they become sensitive to the linguistic nuances and cultural references in the texts, and able to appreciate the aesthetic shades of the language. The course meets three times per week (MWF).
Requisite: CHIN 302 or equivalent. Fall semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
This course, as the continuation of Chinese 401 in the fall semester, is the most advanced class in our Chinese language curriculum. Giving consistent emphasis to listening, speaking, writing, and grammar, the course focuses on advanced reading of authentic and idiomatic texts of Mandarin Chinese. With a balanced consideration to various topics, genres, and speech types, literary works will make up the principal part of the fourth-year reading materials. Exposed to a large and sophisticated vocabulary, and with the aid of a dictionary, the students read independently as they become sensitive to the linguistic nuances and cultural references in the texts, and able to appreciate the aesthetic shades of the language. In this semester, we will also spend three weeks doing a selective introduction to classical Chinese as part of our four-year curriculum at Amherst. The course meets three times per week (MWF).
Requisite: CHIN 401 or equivalent. Spring semester. Senior Lecturer Shen.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Independent Reading Course.
Fall and spring semester. Members of the Department.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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. Other course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Brown and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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. Other course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Requisite: Some Japanese instruction in high school, home, or college. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Brown and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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. Course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Requisite: JAPA 102 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturers Brown and Kayama and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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 multiple 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. Other course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Requisite: JAPA 103 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Miyama and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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. Other course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Requisite: JAPA 201, or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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. Other course materials may be purchased at a reduced price through the department.
Requisite: JAPA 202 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Miyama and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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 courses 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 course is expected to master roughly 500 Kanji that are used in different contexts.
Requisite: JAPA 103 or its equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
This half course serves either as a continuation of JAPA 209H or the equivalent of 209H. See JAPA 209H for the course content.
Requisite: JAPA 103 or its equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
Independent reading course.
Full course. Fall and spring semesters.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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.
Requisite: JAPA 203 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Kayama and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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.
Requisite: JAPA 301 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Senior Lecturer Kayama and Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
This course is designed for 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.
Requisite: JAPA 302 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa and Senior Lecturer Miyama.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
This course is a continuation of JAPA 401. In addition to learning how to search for relevant material, read it with comprehension, and produce a high level of writing, 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.
Requisite: JAPA 401 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa and Senior Lecturer Miyama.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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.
Requisite: JAPA 402 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
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.
Requisite: JAPA 411 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Tawa.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023