East Asian Studies

  • Korean Travel Narratives, 1100s-1930s

    Knowledge about the world has assumed a variety of forms over history. This course, centered on travel writings by Koreans and about Korea, pursues two interrelated goals. First of all, we will look into the epistemic coordinates that structure travelogue as a genre of perception. Secondly, we will learn about the changing political and cultural contexts around Korea, which defined the modes of mobility and experience of travel in different historical periods. This, in turn, provides us with a concrete historical location, from which we can look out onto the structures of the larger world.
  • Empire to Nation: 20th Century Japanese Fiction and Film

    This course will examine modern Japanese fiction and film that engaged with Japan's shift from "empire" to "nation" (roughly from 1930s to 1960s) with a specific focus on identity formation via race, ethnicity, and nationalism.
  • Cinematic Translation, Generic Adaptation: Melodrama, Horror, Action

    This course centers on a set on cinematic genres-melodrama, horror, and action-that have proven to be particularly suitable to global adaptation and appropriation. Their mobility may stem from the physical responses (tears, fright, violence) they represent or elicit. We will examine films from Hollywood, European, and East Asian cinemas to interrogate the question of cultural translatability, while at the same time reconsidering the social and cultural effects of genre itself.
  • Seeing the Interior: Cinema, Media, Inverse Visuality

    From the invention of microscope, X-rays, to psychoanalysis and cinema, the world is increasingly mediated and constituted by visual technologies and new forms of visualities that collapse the boundaries between visibility and invisibility. This seminar explores visual representations of the "interior" and their mediating roles in the historical and social processes of colonialism, infrastructural revolution, (post-)socialism, and global capitalism in the East Asian and global context.
  • Empire to Nation: 20th Century Japanese Fiction and Film

    This course will examine modern Japanese fiction and film that engaged with Japan's shift from "empire" to "nation" (roughly from 1930s to 1960s) with a specific focus on identity formation via race, ethnicity, and nationalism.
  • Cinematic Translation, Generic Adaptation: Melodrama, Horror, Action

    This course centers on a set on cinematic genres-melodrama, horror, and action-that have proven to be particularly suitable to global adaptation and appropriation. Their mobility may stem from the physical responses (tears, fright, violence) they represent or elicit. We will examine films from Hollywood, European, and East Asian cinemas to interrogate the question of cultural translatability, while at the same time reconsidering the social and cultural effects of genre itself.
  • Seeing the Interior: Cinema, Media, Inverse Visuality

    From the invention of microscope, X-rays, to psychoanalysis and cinema, the world is increasingly mediated and constituted by visual technologies and new forms of visualities that collapse the boundaries between visibility and invisibility. This seminar explores visual representations of the "interior" and their mediating roles in the historical and social processes of colonialism, infrastructural revolution, (post-)socialism, and global capitalism in the East Asian and global context.
  • Tokyo as a Literary Topos

    In this course, we will examine the varying representations of Tokyo thematized in literary texts written since the alleged beginning of modern Japan. We will pay attention to the transforming metropolis, its repeated destruction and reconstruction, its changing roles in the lives of the people living within and without Tokyo. We will see how Tokyo at once becomes a site of nostalgia and suffering, desire and struggle. Our inquiries will also extend themselves to differing social status and gender roles in the city.
  • Postwar Japanese Narrative: Modern to Postmodern

    This course examines postwar Japanese experience through major literary, cinematic, and intellectual achievements. The objective is first to analyze a multitude of struggles in the aftermath of the Asia-Pacific War, and then to inquire into the nature of post-industrial prosperity in capitalist consumerism and the emergence of postmodernism. The course will cover representative postwar figures such as, Oe Kenzaburo, Dazai Osamu, Mishima Yukio, as well as contemporary writers such as Murakami Haruki.

  • Dangerous Bodies: Cross-Dressing, Asia, Transgression

    This course examines "dangerous bodies" - bodies that transgress existing gender and racial norms in Chinese and Sinophone cultures. Situated at the intersection of literary, film, performance, gender and ethnic studies, this course provides an introduction to the shifting social meanings of the body in relation to historical masculinity, femininity, and Chineseness.

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