Courses

An introduction in English to the literary tradition of Japan. Representative texts chosen from various periods are studied with attention to their historical background and the aesthetic and cultural values that formed them.

Study of the major themes in Indian mythology and their evolution, including the relation of these myths to philisophy and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Myths are traced from the Vedas of 1500 B.C. to the modern Indian myths. The course will consider the impact of myths on classical Indian literature and art forms, as well as their impact on contemporary art forms such as film, television, and theatre.

Work Load: Students are expected to complete all assigned readings. There will be two midterms and a final, class presentations (oral and/or written), and quizzes. A 5% bonus will be awarded to those who score 75% or higher on the quizzes.

The themes, characters, and plots of Ramayana and Mahabharata are analyzed in detail. The moral dilemmas presented and their sometimes controversial solutions are explored in the context of 'dharma', or righteousness--the central concept of Hiduism. The course will compare the two epics with each other.

This comparative ethnic American cultures course examines how contemporary American comedians, fiction writers, visual artists, independent filmmakers, feminist and transgendered comics deploy the language of comedy to invoke serious social matters in contemporary American life such as racism, immigration, homophobia, class biases against the poor and the undocumented, misogyny, war and other burning issues of the day. We will explore how the ends of comedy are more than laughter and how comedy confronts political issues that are constitutive of and threatening to the U.S. body politic.

Study of the evolution, stucture, and role of representative languages in South Asia. Focus is on multilingualism, lingua francas, national language, contact, convergence, and use, especially in education, administration, business, religion, literature, and the media. Topics may also include language, ethnic identity, and conflict; English in India; globalization and localization; and India's impact on linguistics.

This course examines both writings of Japanese women and writings about Japanese women. It will challenge the application of current Western feminist standards to Japanese culture through the analysis of Japanese literary works. We will begin with Japanese mythology focusing on the stories of the creator goddess and Amaterasu, the sun goddess, from whom the imperial line was descended. We will consider the great Heian Era women writers and their culture, examining the difference between men's and women's writing. From the Heian era we will move to the Meiji Era, when Japan's isolationist period had ended and centuries' worth of Western literature was introduced to Japan. We will concentrate on the writings of Higuchi Ichiyo, noting how the position of women had changed by her day and how it affected her literary style. The course will close with a focus how literature treats Japanese women in our own time. This course is offered as AAS 331 and WST 331.

Work Load: There will be a midterm and a final. These will each consist of two essays. There are quizzes, and a paper. Participation counts towards your grade.

This course examines Japanese literature of the Meiji era, an era unique in the history of the world. Until the 1400s, Japan had no contact with the West due to its geographic location. After a brief and limited exposure to Western literature, Japan closed its doors to the West and remained isolated from approximately 1600 until 1868. During the Meiji Era (1868-1912) Japan was flooded with examples of all the phases of Western literature it had missed, and Japanese writers soon responded to the Western developments. This course will deal with that response, from Tsubouchi Shyoyo's criticism of modern Japanese novels and their lack of appreciation for Realism, to the development of the Japanese I-novel. Due to Japan's literary response to the West, it can also be argued that the Meiji Era marked the end of Japanese literature as a unique entity, and this course will explore this issue as well.

Study of the expanding roles of English in South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. With more non-native speakers than native speakers, and more in Asia than elsewhere, English has acquired new identities. We will study functions of English in colonial and post-colonial times; how it competes with, and complements local languages in business, advertising, media, education, research, administration, judiciary, creative literature, call centers, and on the Internet; the evolution of dynamic new Asian Englishes, such as Indian English, and their social and cultural contexts; controversies regarding English medium education and its impact on local languages, relevance of native English standards, and implications for theory, description, and method in diverse disciplines, such as, business communication, cultural studies, English, lexicography, speech recognition, journalism, media studies, sociolinguistics, teaching English as a second language, and Asian Studies.

Asian and Pacific Islanders in American History is an examination of the historical factors that have molded Asian and Pacific Islander life in the United States. Strongly emphasized themes include imperialism/colonialism, immigration, gender/sexuality, second generation, and images/mass media. This course is offered as both AAS 336 and HIS 338.

Examines Korean history from ancient to modern times. Korea is one of the many ancient, non-European civilizations claiming a cultural influence on the region and one of the main players in the history of East Asia. Reflecting its unique historical experiences, Korean history has raised diverse debatable issues. The primary goal of this course is to provide an overview of Korean history and, at the same time, through introducing multiple debatable issues of historical significance, the course attempts to enhance students' analytical capability in approaching complicated historical issues. This course is offered as both AAS 337 and and HIS 337.

Work Load: Participation will count. There will be two group presentations on readings. Quizzes are weekly. The midterm and final paper are a five page, double spaced paper based on the student's choice of a discussion question from class.

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