Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures

321 Milbank Hall
212-854-5417
amec.barnard.edu
Department Assistant: Mary Missirian 

Mission

The Department’s primary aim is to introduce major Asian and Middle Eastern civilizations and their works and values as a means of expanding knowledge of the varieties and unities of human experience.  Students who major in the Department take a specific number of courses from the Barnard and Columbia curriculum, obtain three years of language proficiency in the language relevant to the world area under study, and hence become regional experts with specific disciplinary skills.  The Department offers three tracks:  the East Asian Track covers China, Japan, and Korea; the South Asian track covers India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; and the Middle Eastern Track covers the Middle East, including Israel, the Gulf States, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, and North Africa.  The Department’s general courses are designed for all students, whatever their major interests, who wish to include knowledge of Asian and Middle Eastern life in their education. Study abroad is encouraged.

Student Learning Outcomes

Faculty in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures hold the following learning outcomes for majors who take advantage of the opportunities offered through the program.  Students will be able to:

  • Speak, write, and read at an intermediate to advanced level in a language of the Middle East, South Asia, or East Asia;
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the history and culture of their chosen area of the world;
  • Exhibit in-depth knowledge of a particular aspect of it, such as the artistic, literary, religious, philosophical, sociological, anthropological, political, or economic elements;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with leading theory on the study of non-Western cultures; and
  • Produce a clearly and critically written senior thesis that draws upon the various aspects of their training – for instance, linguistic, historical, cultural, and political – in investigating a topic in detail and making a contribution to knowledge.

Students who wish to enter Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language courses above the introductory level must pass a language placement test before registering. Placement exams are given during the week before classes begin; contact the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (407 Kent) for exact dates. For placement above the introductory level in Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Hindi-Urdu, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Tibetan, or Turkish, contact the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (401 Knox). All students wishing to enter the Hebrew language program or wishing exemption from the Hebrew language requirement must take a placement test. Contact the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (401 Knox) for details.

Barnard Faculty:

Professor and Chair: David "Max" Moerman
Professor: Rachel Fell McDermott (on leave for the year)
Assistant Professors: Guo Jue, Nicholas Bartlett, Matthew Keegan (arriving Fall 2019)
Associate Professor of Professional Practice: Hisham Matar
Term Assistant Professor: Nathanael Shelley

Other officers of the University offering courses listed below:

Shincho Professor Emeritus: Donald Keene

Professors: Muhsin Al-Musawi, Paul J. Anderer, Gil Anidjar, Charles Armstrong (History), Partha Chatterjee, Myron Cohen (Anthropology), Hamid Dabashi, Vidya Dehejia (Art History), Mamadou Diouf, Bernard Faure, Carol N. Gluck (History), Wael Hallaq, Robert E. Harrist Jr. (Art History), John S. Hawley (Religion), Gil Hochberg, Theodore Hughes, Robert Hymes, Sudipta Kaviraj, Rashid Khalidi, Dorothy Ko (History), Feng Li, Lydia Liu, Mahmood Mamdani, Joseph Massad, Matthew McKelway (Art History), Brinkley M. Messick, Timothy Mitchell, Sheldon Pollock, Anupama Rao (History), Jonathan M. Reynolds (Art History), Morris Rossabi, Conrad Schirokauer (Senior Scholars Program), Wei Shang, Haruo Shirane (EALAC Chair), Michael Stanislawski (History), Tomi Suzuki, Robert A.F. Thurman (Religion), Gauri Vishwanathan (English and Comparative Literature), Pei-yi Wu (Senior Scholars Program), Marc Van De Mieroop (History), Syed Akbar Zaidi, Madeleine Zelin

Associate Professors: Allison Busch, Michael Como (Religion), Aaron Andrew Fox (Music), Najam Haider (Religion), Kai Kresse, Eugenia Lean, David Lurie, Gregory Pflugfelder, Gray Tuttle, Jennifer Wenzel

Assistant Professors: Manan Ahmad (History), Harrison Huang, Mana Kia, Jungwon Kim, Paul Kreitman, Debashree Mukherjee, John Phan, Ying Qian, Zhaohua Yang (Religion)

Requirements for the Major

A student who plans to major in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures is advised to consult a member of the Department in the spring term of her first year in order to be sure to plan for an appropriate sequence of language study.

To major in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, a student will choose to follow one of three tracks, East Asian, Middle Eastern, or South Asian.

The East Asian Track

Major Requirements

The major requires a minimum of 11 courses, including the two senior thesis seminars (if student has already satisfied the language requirement in advance) or more (if she starts the language requirement from the beginning).

The requirements include:

LANGUAGE

3 years of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by a placement examination).

Third-year Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan (completion of the CHNS UN3005 Third-Year Chinese I (W) - CHNS UN3006 Third-Year Chinese II (W) in Chinese, JPNS UN3005 Third-Year Japanese I - JPNS UN3006 Third-Year Japanese II in Japanese, or KORN UN3005 Third-Year Korean I - KORN UN3006 Third-Year Korean II in Korean; or TIBT UN3611 Third Year Modern Colloquial Tibetan I - TIBT UN3612 Third Year Modern Colloquial Tibetan II in Tibetan), or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by placement examination).  Students of Chinese may also complete CHNS UN3003 Third-Year Chinese I (N) - CHNS UN3004 Third-Year Chinese II (N) to meet the third year requirement.

Students who test out of three years or more of a language must take an additional year of that language or another East Asian language in order to satisfy the Barnard language requirement.

*Note that in all East Asian language courses, the minimum grade required to advance from one level to the next is a B-.
 

CORE COURSES

AHUM UN1400 Colloquium on Major Texts: East Asia

Two of the following survey courses:
ASCE UN1359 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China
ASCE UN1361 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Japan
ASCE UN1363 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Korea
ASCE UN1365 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Tibet
ASCE UN1367 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Vietnam
All majors are required to take EAAS UN3990 Approaches to East Asian Studies, which is offered every spring.

DISCIPLINARY COURSES

Three courses in either history, literature, philosophy, religion, art history, anthropology, political science, economics, or some other thematic cluster approved by the adviser. For further information, consult the online catalog or a departmental adviser.

ELECTIVE COURSES

Two courses related to East Asia, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser.

SENIOR THESIS

Each student is expected to prepare, for her senior thesis, a research paper or an annotated English translation of an East Asian text. There will be two tracks for the senior thesis process.  (1) Those who wish to write their senior theses under the aegis of EALAC at Columbia must apply to the Senior Thesis Program at the end of their junior year.   The deadline will be May 1st at 5:00 p.m. [see EALAC’s website for application form], and the application must be delivered in hard copy to the EALAC Academic Coordinator in 407 Kent.  Students must have at least a 3.6 GPA in courses taken in the major at the time of the application.  Decisions will be made by June 1, when grades for the second semester have been received.  All students accepted into the Program are required to enroll in the Senior Thesis Research Workshop (EAAS UN3999) for the fall of their senior year. Students who perform satisfactorily in this workshop, successfully complete a thesis proposal, and find a faculty advisor, will then write the Senior Thesis itself in the spring semester under the direction of the adviser and a graduate student tutor (EAAS UN3901).  Successful completion of the thesis by the April 1 deadline in the spring semester will be necessary but not sufficient for a student to receive Departmental Honors. (Because honors can be awarded to a maximum of 20% of the majors, not all thesis writers will receive honors.)  (2) Students who do not have a 3.6 average in the major OR who wish to write their senior theses at Barnard will do so under the direction of an East Asia faculty member at Barnard.  Such students should enroll in two semesters of independent study (Asian Studies BC 3999) with their faculty adviser.

MINOR REQUIREMENTS

PREREQUISITES:

Students must meet the following prerequisite prior to declaring an AMEC minor in the East Asia Track: Two years of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan.  These must be either taken at Columbia or proficiency proven through a placement examination.

LANGUAGES:

Two semesters of third-year work in the chosen language, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by a placement examination).
Students who test out of the third-year level must take either an additional year of the same language or one year of an additional language in the same East Asia Track.

INTRODUCTORY COURSES (two courses):

AHUM UN1400, Colloquium on Major Texts of East Asia
One civilizations class relating to the language and region of study (China Civ, Japan Civ, Korean Civ, Tibetan Civ, or Vietnamese Civ.)

ELECTIVES (two courses):

Two electives in the world region under study, to be taken in any department in the university at the 3000- or 4000-level, subject to approval by the advisor.

The Middle East or South Asian Track

A minimum of 13 courses is required, including:

  • Asian Humanities: AHUM UN3399 Colloquium on Major Texts: Middle East and South Asia
  • Middle East & South Asia: MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture

Two of the following courses:

  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East: ASCM V2001 Introduction to Major Topics in the Civilizations of the Middle East and India
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East: ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East: ASCM UN2008 Contemporary Islamic Civilization
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East: ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization
  • Asian Civilizations-East Asian: ASCE V2365 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Tibet

The equivalent of six courses (the completion of the 3rd year of advanced language study) of Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish, selected in consultation with the advisor. 

A minimum of five courses chosen as a concentration. The concentration may be in the languages and cultures of ancient Semitic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Indic, Iranian, Persian, or Turkish.

A senior thesis, to be written under the supervision of a faculty member chosen in consultation with the adviser. Students whose sole major is Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures should take two semesters of ASST BC3999 Independent Study with their adviser for the purposes of producing the thesis. Students who are double-majoring in a second department that requires a group seminar should enroll in that seminar and work with the AMEC advisor on the side.

The courses listed under Middle East and South Asia below represent a selection among those required in one or another of the concentrations. Students should consult the office of Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies in 401 Knox Hall for a complete list of course offerings. Graduate courses at the 4000-level may be taken with permission of the instructor. See GSAS catalog for course listings.

Minor Requirements

Prerequisite:

For Middle East Track:
Students must meet the following prerequisite prior to declaring an AMEC minor: Two years of Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish.  These must be either taken at Columbia or proficiency proven through a placement examination.

For South Asian Track:
Students must meet the following prerequisite prior to declaring an AMEC minor: Two years of Sanskrit, Hindi-Urdu, Bengali, Panjabi, or Tamil.  These must be either taken at Columbia or proficiency proven through a placement examination.

Language Requirement (two courses):

Two semesters of third-year work in the chosen language, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by a placement examination).
Students who test out of the third-year level must take either an additional year of the same language or one year of an additional language in the same Track.

Introductory Courses (two courses):

AHUM UN1399, Colloquium on Major Texts of South Asia and the Middle East
One civilizations class relating to the language and region of study (Indian Civ,  Islamic Civ, or Tibetan Civ)

Electives (two courses):

Two electives in the world region under study, to be taken in any department in the university at the 3000- or 4000-level, subject to approval by the advisor.

Theory, Method, and Writing

EAAS UN3999 Research in East Asian Studies. 1 point.

Introduces students to research and writing techniques and requires the preparation of a senior thesis proposal. Required for majors and concentrators in the East Asian studies major in the spring term of the junior year.

Fall 2018: EAAS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3999 001/70276 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
313 Hamilton Hall
Chloe Estep 1 10/25

East Asian, General and Comparative

HIST UN2580 THE HISTORY OF UNITED STATES RELATIONS WITH EAST ASIA. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This lecture course examines the history of the relationship between the United States and the countries of East Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first half of the course will examine the factors drove the United States to acquire territorial possessions in Asia, to vie for a seat at the imperial table at China’s expense, and to eventual confrontation with Japan over mastery in the Pacific from the turn of the century leading to the Second World War. The second half of the course will explore the impact of U.S. policy toward East Asia during the Cold War when Washington’s policy of containment, which included nation-building, development schemes, and waging war, came up against East Asia’s struggles for decolonization, revolution, and modernization.  Not only will this course focus on state-to-state relations, it will also address a multitude of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese perspectives on the United States and American culture through translated text, oral history, fiction, and memoir.


Participation in weekly discussion sections, which will begin no later than the third week of classes, is mandatory. 

Fall 2018: HIST UN2580
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2580 001/13029 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
602 Hamilton Hall
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 67/75

EAAS UN3322 East Asian Cinema. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course introduces students to major works, genres and waves of East Asian cinema from the Silent era to the present, including films from Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. How has cinema participated in East Asian societies’ distinct and shared experiences of industrial modernity, imperialism and (post)colonialism? How has cinema engaged with questions of class, gender, ethnic and language politics? In what ways has cinema facilitated transnational circulations and mobilizations of peoples and ideas, and how has it interacted with other art forms, such as theatre, painting, photography and music? In this class, we answer these questions by studying cinemas across the region sideby- side, understanding cinema as deeply embedded in the region’s intertwining political, social and cultural histories and circulations of people and ideas. We cover a variety of genres such as melodrama, comedy, historical epic, sci-fi, martial arts and action, and prominent film auteurs such as Yasujirō Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Yu Hyŏnmok, Chen Kaige, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Ann Hui. As cinema is, among other things, a creative practice, in this course, students will be given opportunities to respond to films analytically and creatively, through writing as well as creative visual projects. As a global core course, this class does not assume prior knowledge of East Asian culture or of film studies.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3322
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3322 001/12164 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Takuya Tsunoda 4 18/15

EAAS UN3844 Culture, Health and Healing in East Asia. 3 points.

Why do certain mental illnesses only appear in specific regions of the world? What processes of translation, adaption, and “indigenization” take place when Western psychiatric diagnostic categories, pharmaceutical regimens, and psychodynamic treatments travel to China, South Korea and Japan? How do East Asian therapeutic modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and the practice of qigong destabilize biomedical assumptions about the etiology and treatment of mental illness? This course engages these and other questions through anthropological analysis of the experiences of people struggling with mental illness, the mental health practitioners who treat them, and the broader economic, social and political contexts that shape these interactions.

Fall 2018: EAAS UN3844
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3844 001/05367 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
207 Milbank Hall
Nicholas Bartlett 3 12

HIST UN3866 Wars for Indochina. 4 points.

This seminar will focus on the wars that ravaged Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – the region often referred to as “Indochina” – in the latter half of the 20th Century.  This period in Indochinese history witnessed batttles for decolonization, revolutionary struggles, state and nation-building under the Cold War divide, superpower interventions, and fighting at the local, regional and global levels. Introducing students to the current debates in the field, students will become familiar with the rich historiography on this subject. In addition to weekly readings and discussions, students will write a research paper, based on a deep understanding of the secondary literature as well as a thorough analysis of primary sources. 

Spring 2019: HIST UN3866
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 3866 001/14163 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 8/15

EAAS UN3990 Approaches to East Asian Studies. 4 points.

Enrollment is limited to EALAC and AMEC majors and concentrators only.

This course is intended to provide a focal point for undergraduate majors in East Asian Studies. It introduces students to the analysis of particular objects of East Asian historical, literary, and cultural studies from various disciplinary perspectives. The syllabus is composed of a series of modules, each centered around an object, accompanied by readings that introduce different ways of understanding its meaning.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3990 001/23542 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
707 Hamilton Hall
Robert Hymes 4 25/25

EARL GU4120 Chan/Zen Buddhism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Some background in East Asian Buddhism, or instructor permission required.

Zen has become a household term, but the reality behind this term is not well known. Originating in China around the 6th century C.E., the Chan/Zen tradition became one of the major Buddhist schools and rapidly spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam (and, to a certain extent, Tibet). This course examines some aspects of this tradition, emphasizing its historical development, its mythological elements, and its multifaceted practice, which has for too long been reduced in the Western mind to meditation.

Spring 2019: EARL GU4120
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4120 001/67208 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
301m Fayerweather
Bernard Faure 4 11/15

POLS GU4473 Political Transitions in Southeast Asia. 4 points.

What political direction is Southeast Asia taking? Over the past two decades, Indonesia has been transformed from a military-dominated semi-authoritarian state to the region’s most vigorous and open political order. Meanwhile Thailand has experienced two military coups since 2006, and early patterns of political liberalization seem to be unraveling. And Burma has gone from international pariah to prospective new democracy.

,

Is it possible to see any overall regional trends? Are teleological assumptions of the inexorable rise of democracy being vindicated – or does much of the evident point in just the opposite direction? The module will examine the nature of transitions (and attempted transitions) to more open political systems in Southeast Asia, with a primary focus on Burma, Indonesia, and Thailand. After a brief review of the three cases, the course will adopt a thematic approach, first reviewing the character of the state, including national mythologies, the military and the relations between capital city and provinces. It will then explore aspects of transition, including the changing political economy, the rise of electoral politics, the role of religion and media, and the phenomenon of rally politics. Challenges to national elites from the regions will also be closely scrutinised. These themes and issues have a broader relevance to wider debates in comparative politics, which students will be encouraged to explore in their papers. 

Spring 2019: POLS GU4473
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4473 001/64100 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
212a Lewisohn Hall
Duncan McCargo 4 14/18

RELI GU4513 Buddhism and Neuroscience. 4 points.

With the Dalai Lama's marked interest in recent advances in neuroscience, the question of the compatibility between Buddhist psychology and neuroscience has been raised in a number of conferences and studies. This course will examine the state of the question, look at claims made on both sides, and discuss whether or not there is a convergence between Buddhist discourse about the mind and scientific discourse about the brain.

Spring 2019: RELI GU4513
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4513 001/73173 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Bernard Faure 4 16/20

RELI GU4516 The Politics of Freud in the Postcolony. 4 points.

This seminar examines the legacies of psychoanalysis through a critical exploration of how its concepts, practices and institutes have operated in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Weekly discussions will look at how practicing therapists, activists, anthropologists and others have extended, subverted and displaced psychoanalytic thought within non-European histories and imaginaries. Topics include challenges to the universality of the Oedipus emerging from early 20th century anthropologist’s studies of kinship in Papua New Guinea, legacies of a self-made South Asian psychoanalyst’s challenges to Freudian orthodoxies, and the study of a psychoanalysis of racism forged out of a Martinican psychiatrist’s encounters with colonial neuroses in Algeria. We will also explore how psychoanalytic concepts have been deployed in debates about repression and sexuality in daily life during the Cultural Revolution and the psychic legacies of Maoism in contemporary China. In addition to reading the work of Freud and his critics, we will encounter primary materials—religious texts, movies, novels—that have been subjected to psychoanalytically-inflected interpretations. While attending to the cultural, racial and political assumptions suffusing psychoanalysis, our seminar will also show how variously situated authors have given this tradition new applications and meanings.

Spring 2019: RELI GU4516
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4516 001/17396 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
201 80 Claremont
Nicholas Bartlett, Katherine Pratt Ewing 4 4/20

RELI GU4611 The Lotus Sutra in East Asian Buddhism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: open to students who have taken one previous course in either Buddhism, Chinese religions, or a history course on China or East Asian.

The course examines some central Mahayana Buddhist beliefs and practices through an in-depth study of the Lotus sutra. Schools (Tiantai/Tendai, Nichiren) and cultic practices such as sutra-chanting, meditation, confessional rites, and Guanyin worship based on the scripture. East Asian art and literature inspired by it.

Fall 2018: RELI GU4611
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4611 001/02088 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
201 80 Claremont
David Moerman 4 10/20

HSEA GU4813 Early Tibetan History and Its Relations with China. 4 points.

This course is an introduction to the early period of Tibetan history, with an emphasis on its relations with China, using scholarly studies based on Tibetan and Chinese primary sources.

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4813
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4813 001/63597 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
606 Lewisohn Hall
Eveline Yang 4 5/12

East Asian, China

ASCE UN1359 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: NOTE:Students must register for a discussion section, ASCE UN1360

The evolution of Chinese civilization from ancient times to the 20th century, with emphasis on characteristic institutions and traditions.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/15028 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
717 Hamilton Hall
Jian Ming Chang 4 58/80
Spring 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/68821 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Robert Hymes 4 55/90

RELI UN2307 Chinese Religious Traditions. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Historical survey highlighting major developments in Chinese religion: includes selections from the "Warring States" classics, developments in popular Daoism, and an overview of the golden age of Chinese Buddhism. Touches on "Neo-Confucianism," popular literature of the late imperial period, and the impact of Western ideas.

Spring 2019: RELI UN2307
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2307 001/62734 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Kwi Lee 3 60/90

EAAS UN3121 Minority Literature in Modern China. 4 points.

While the rise of China on the world stage has resulted in enormous interest in modern Chinese society, this interest has been directed largely at the culture and concerns of China’s majority ethnicity: the Han. Ethnicity is central to any discussion of society and culture in the West, and this course will seek to place it at the forefront of our understanding of modern China as well.  China is officially a country comprised of 56 distinct peoples or “nationalities” (including the Han Chinese majority). In the literature presented here, translated both from Chinese and minority languages, students will have the opportunity to hear the rich and varied voices of China’s minority writers first hand, and through them gain an understanding of the key issues surrounding ethnicity in modern China. We will cover fiction, poetry, essays, and film by a broad range of different peoples: Tibetans, Mongols, Manchus, the Islamic Uyghur nationality of Xinjiang province, the Yi of southwestern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, the indigenous writers of Taiwan, and others. We will pay close attention to how minority writers explore and assert their identities in a Han-dominated society, how their work can broaden our understanding of the cultural diversity at play in modern China, and how it can challenge our conventional definitions of what constitutes modern Chinese literature and culture. The course begins by considering the role of ethnicity and nation in the birth and development of Chinese literature in the 20th century, before moving on to examine works by specific ethnicities. Finally, we will address certain issues faced by minorities in China that cut across ethnic lines. Throughout, we will address some of the most pressing concerns of minority ethnicities, concerns that are deeply significant not only to our understanding of modern China, but to the modern world at large. Familiarity with Chinese or related cultural context beneficial, but not required.

Fall 2018: EAAS UN3121
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3121 001/76029 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
201 80 Claremont
Christopher Peacock 4 17/15

EAAS UN3230 Labor, Love, and Leisure in Contemporary China. 3 points.

This course offers an introduction to life in Reform era China. We will employ anthropological analysis to examine how Maoist legacies and recent state liberalization efforts shape everyday experiences of labor, romance, and consumption. Scholarly texts will be supplemented with primary materials including political speeches, testimonies, and documentaries.

HSEA UN3898 The Mongols in History. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Study of the role of the Mongols in Eurasian history, focusing on the era of the Great Mongol Empire. The roles of Chinggis and Khubilai Khan and the modern fate of the Mongols to be considered.

Spring 2019: HSEA UN3898
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3898 001/18109 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
311 River Side Church
Morris Rossabi 3 26/25

EAAS UN3971 Technology and Power in Modern China. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Any introductory level course on China or East Asia.

Undergraduate seminar addressing the intersection of technology and politics in the history of modern China, from the 19th century to the present. Main themes include technocratic management of land and environment, scientific representation of nature and Chinese society, and socialist approaches to mass organization and surveillance.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3971
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3971 001/11296 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
401 Hamilton Hall
Jian Ming Chang 4 10/18

CHNS GU4019 History of Chinese Language. 3 points.

Introduces the evolution of Chinese language. It reveals the major changes in Chinese sound, writing and grammar systems, and social and linguistic factors which caused these changes. CC GS EN CE GSAS

Fall 2018: CHNS GU4019
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CHNS 4019 001/28094 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
423 Kent Hall
Zhirong Wang 3 12/12
Spring 2019: CHNS GU4019
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CHNS 4019 001/75150 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
423 Kent Hall
Zhirong Wang 3 10/15

EAAS GU4202 The Dead in Ancient China. 4 points.

What did the dead become? Ancestors, spirits, or ghosts? Are these postmortem categories and roles ontologically distinct and mutually exclusive? How did the dead become ancestors, spirits, or ghosts? Where did the dead go and what kind of "lives after" did they have? With these questions in mind, this course explores the realm of the dead in ancient China (ca. 5000 B.C.E.-600 C.E.) instantiated by the living in rituals, objects, and writings. Focusing on contemporaneous materials obtained through archaeology, facilitated with transmitted history and literature when available, students will read about and learn to analyze a variety of conceptions of the dead and corresponding afterlife options recorded in diverse kinds of sources including material culture, architecture, artifacts, pictorial representations, and texts from ancient China.

HSEA GU4221 Many Belts, Many Roads: China and the Islamic World, c.600AD-Present. 4 points.

This seminar explores historical interactions between China and the Islamic world across the greater Indian Ocean region, sometimes called the "maritime Silk Road." It gives special attention to the millions of Muslims in China itself, who have played an important role bridging these diverse spaces and cultures. Complicating conventional definitions of China, Islam, and the nation-state, this course illuminates many under-studied aspects of Asian and global history, Chinese state and society, and international relations.

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4221
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4221 001/62796 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
308a Lewisohn Hall
John Chen 4 11/15

EAAS GU4232 Trauma and Testimonial Narrative in Post-Mao Chinese Literature. 3 points.

Is the Cultural Revolution the Holocaust of China? Such analogy is often evoked to imply more than a mere rhetoric of accusation. This seminar explores the rise of testimonial literature—known as “Scar Literature”—that began to appear in print immediately after the Cultural Revolution in Mainland China. We will examine how this literature repudiates the repressions, violence and chaos of the Maoist era and speaks to the collective experience of Chinese intellectuals. We will analyze how this body of testimonial literature and related film productions bear witness to the suffering of intellectuals and render it commensurate or not commensurate with the genre of Holocaust literature. Our goal is to achieve a deeper understanding of the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution and its historical roots beyond analogical thinking. Topics of discussion include individual and collective memories, trauma, storytelling, social protest and moral accountability. All readings are in English. 

Fall 2018: EAAS GU4232
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4232 001/66481 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
Yan Wang 3 18/24

EAAS GU4244 Chinese Internet Culture. 4 points.

This course introduces Chinese internet culture by examining interactive literary communities, multimedia platforms, cyber-nationalism, web-based activism, and the possibility of the internet commons in mainland China.  We will pay close attention to the figure of netizen, online piracy, cyberbullying, censorship, and growing addiction to virtual reality among the Chinese youth.  Topics of discussion include, for example, the tension between connectivity and control, between imitation and innovation, and between the real and the virtual.  We will explore these new developments in media technology primarily from social, political, and international perspectives.  The goal is to understand how the rapid proliferation of digital technologies has helped create a new landscape of popular culture across mass media and transformed contemporary Chinese society.

Spring 2019: EAAS GU4244
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4244 001/63521 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Yan Wang 4 12/15

POLS GU4406 Politics in Contemporary China. 4 points.

This course will be taught in Chinese.

This course focuses on the evolution of Chinese politics since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power in 1949. It introduces and discusses the relationship between the two “three decades” (the three decades under Mao and the three decades of “reform and opening up”). More specifically, the course aims to (1) clarify some important historical facts, (2) analyze the ideological consideration of the “official” history sanctioned by the CCP and its epistemological impact, (3) make a comparison between official view and that of independent scholars about the history; (4) try to respond to some urgent problems faced by contemporary China, and (5) provide suggestions and principles for the reconstruction of the historiography of contemporary China. Students will learn how to understand the recent development Chinese politics, how to analyze the complex contemporary history and reality of China, and how to approach issues about China from a systematic perspective.

Spring 2019: POLS GU4406
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4406 001/72108 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
601b Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Boshu Zhang 4 23/25

EAAS GU4840 China and the Politics of Desire. 4 points.

A recent American newspaper headline announced that China has become “the most materialistic country the world.” Globally circulating narratives often interpret Chinese consumers’ demand for commodities as an attempt to fill a void left by the absence of the Maoist state, traditional religious life, and Western-style democracy. But things aren’t as simple as they appear. This course explores the intertwined questions of “Chinese” desire and the desire for China. Avoiding reductionist understandings of desire as either a universal natural human attribute or a particular Chinese cultural trait, we will track the production and management of desire within a complex global field. Drawing on ethnographies, films, short stories, and psychoanalytic and postcolonial theory, this course will explore the shifting figure of desire across the Maoist and post-Maoist eras by examining how academics, government officials, intellectuals, and artists have represented Chinese needs, wants and fantasies. From state leaders’ attempts to improve the “quality” of the country’s population to citizens’ dreams of home ownership, from sexualized desire to hunger for food, drugs and other commodities, we will attend to the continuities and disjunctures of recent Chinese history by tracking how desire in China has been conceptualized and refracted through local and global encounters.

POLS GU4871 China's Foreign Relations. 4 points.

This course will review and analyze the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the present. It will examine Beijing's relations with the Soviet Union, the United States, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Third World during the Cold War, and will discuss Chinese foreign policy in light of the end of the Cold War, changes in the Chinese economy in the reform era, the post-Tiananmen legitimacy crisis in Beijing, and the continuing rise of Chinese power and influence in Asia and beyond.

,

This lecture course will analyze the causes and consequences of Beijing's foreign policies from 1949 to the present.

Spring 2019: POLS GU4871
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4871 001/25892 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
417 International Affairs Bldg
Thomas Christensen 4 57/160

HSEA GU4880 History of Modern China I. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

China’s transformation under its last imperial rulers, with special emphasis on economic, legal, political, and cultural change.

Fall 2018: HSEA GU4880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4880 001/29475 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
413 Kent Hall
Ulug Kuzuoglu 3 50/60

HSEA GU4882 History of Modern China II. 3 points.

China's transformation under its last imperial rulers, with special emphasis on economic, legal, political, and cultural change.

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4882
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4882 001/28439 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
5ab Kraft Center
Eugenia Lean 3 28/50

East Asian, Japan

ASCE UN1361 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Japan. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: NOTE: Students must register for a discussion section ASCE UN1371

A survey of important events and individuals, prominent literary and artistic works, and recurring themes in the history of Japan, from prehistory to the 20th century.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/26580 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
329 Pupin Laboratories
Paul Kreitman 4 84/90
Spring 2019: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/16983 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Gregory Pflugfelder 4 75/90

EAAS UN3343 Japanese Contemporary Cinema and Media Culture. 4 points.

In this course, we will look at the contemporary history and theory of cinema and media culture in Japan.  To be more specific, the course will closely examine 1) the various traits of postmodern Japanese cinemas in the 1980s and the 1990s after the phase of global cinematic modernism, 2) contemporary media phenomena such as media convergence and the media ecologies of anime, 3) media activism after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and beyond.  We will proceed through careful analysis of films, anime, and digital media, while also addressing larger questions of historiography in general.  In other words, this course asks, what is it to study Japanese cinema and media (outside Japan)?  What would be a heuristic narrative mode to examine the (trans-)national history of Japanese cinema and media?  Such inquiries will be integrated into the ways we analyze and discuss the films and media works selected for our weekly screenings.


The readings will extend the realm of the course topics to include broader cultural criticism in an attempt to surface the interrelation of (audio-)visual media and culture in Japan.

Fall 2018: EAAS UN3343
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3343 001/80779 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Takuya Tsunoda 4 12/15

HSEA UN3871 Modern Japan: Images and Words. 3 points.

This course relies primarily on visual materials to familiarize students with the history of Japan from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the present. It follows a chronological order, introducing students to various realms of Japanese visual culture—from woodblock prints to film, anime, and manga—along with the historical contexts that they were shaped by, and in turn helped shape. Special attention will paid to the visual technologies of nation-building, war, and empire; to historical interactions between Japanese and Euro-American visual culture; to the operations of still versus moving images; and to the mass production of visual commodities for the global marketplace. Students who take the course will emerge not only with a better understanding of Japan’s modern historical experience, but also with a more discerning eye for the ways that images convey meaning and offer access to the past.

Spring 2019: HSEA UN3871
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3871 001/68314 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
212a Lewisohn Hall
Gregory Pflugfelder 3 13/18

EAAS GU4122 Japanese New Wave and Cinematic Modernism. 4 points.

This course will delve into an analytical reconsideration of postwar Japanese cinema specifically from the perspective of the Japanese New Wave.  While we will aim to capture the exhilaration of the Japanese New Wave by closely analyzing existing studies on some of its key makers and their works, special attention will be given to what is left out of the category as it is conventionally understood, drawing on marginalized works and genres, such as educational and industrial films as well as pink films.

Fall 2018: EAAS GU4122
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4122 001/91646 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
Takuya Tsunoda 4 15/15

EAAS GU4727 Soseki and World Literature. 4 points.

This seminar will focus on the writings, especially the novels, of Natsume Soseki (1868-1915), the pivotal author of early twentieth century Japan. His work inherited, and further spawned, a complex legacy: the prose and poetry of pre-modern Japan; a long tradition of translating of "writing" Chinese literary texts into Japanese; and, by the mid-nineteenth century, other waves of translation from several European languages (for Soseki, the most significant one being English). Soseki came of age and began to write in the period between the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, during which he received modest government support to be as scholar in residence in London. In his criticism, and even more deeply in his fiction, he grappled with issues of unsettlement, displacement, and betrayal, as Japan was moving from a secure sense of itself within an East Asian frame of cultural reference, toward one dominated by Western standards of taste and value. Later Japanese writers, as different as Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Abe Kobo, Oe Kenzaburo, and Murakami Haruki, all acknowledge their debt to Soseki, for the power of his writing about characters without a "country" home or a stable sense of their own selves, amid a global clash of civilizations, and of empire-building strife. 

Spring 2019: EAAS GU4727
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4727 001/71657 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Paul Anderer 4 8/15

HSEA GU4847 Modern Japan. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course explores the history of Japan between 1800 and the present, with a particular focus on the 20th century. The course draws upon a combination of primary source materials (political documents, memoirs, oral histories, journalism, fiction, film) and scholarly writings in order to gain insight into the complex and tumultuous process by which Japan became an industrialized society, a modern nation-state, and a world power.

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4847
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4847 001/21912 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
624 Kent Hall
Paul Kreitman 4 12/25

East Asian, Korea

EAAS UN3207 Lights, Camera, Action: The Visual Culture of K-pop. 4 points.

In this course, we will explore the total political economy of culture that is K-pop, simultaneously a State-sponsored industry, an agency-generated cultural product, and a fandom-distributed community. In the recent years, scholars in various sectors have been actively demystifying the many social performances entailing K-pop through the frames of globalization and transnationalism. To see K-pop as transnationalism in performance is to construe it not as unidirectional or monolithic, but as a constant interpellation between national export and transnational transaction, each utterance refracted a mile a minute by its "glocal (global and local)" performers through social and web-based media. Paying particular attention to how such identities are negotiated within the portmanteau "K-pop," we will engage with the critical frames of Korean studies, performance studies, and media & visual culture to explore its major topics and defining moments in rigorously discussion-based seminars.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3207
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3207 001/22048 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
507 Philosophy Hall
So-Rim Lee 4 13/15

EAAS UN3412 Conflict and Culture in Korean History. 4 points.

This course considers how accounts of conflict in Korean history reflect the development of core values, ethical priorities and emotions, and perceptions among Koreans from the late sixteenth century to the late twentieth century. By carefully examining the narrative and rhetorical styles of major accounts of problems such as wars, political strife, family tensions, and intellectual and personal tribulations at a given cultural and historical time, students will not only understand how Koreans have dealt with conflict throughout history but will also develop reading strategies for primary sources contested by and narrated in a multiplicity of ideologies, genres, and voices.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3412
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3412 001/74529 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
411 Hamilton Hall
Jungwon Kim 4 15/18

EARL GU4320 Buddhism and Korean Culture. 4 points.

Since Buddhism was introduced to Korea 1,600 years ago, the religion has had great impact on almost all aspects of the Korean society, making significant contributions to the distinct development of Korean culture. In this course, we will explore how Buddhism has influenced and interacted with various fields of Korean culture such as art, architecture, literature, philosophy, politics, religions, and popular culture. Buddhist scriptures, written in classical Chinese, with their colorful imaginations, have stimulated the development of Korean literature. Buddhist art, sculpture, and architecture have also catalyzed the Korean counterparts to bloom. The sophisticated philosophy and worldview of Buddhism, along with its diverse religious practices and rituals have added richness to the spiritual life of Korean people. Buddhism also attracted a significant number of followers, often playing important roles in politics. Throughout the course, we will not only investigate the influence of Buddhism on diverse aspects of Korean culture on their forms and at their depths, but also examine the interactions between Buddhism and other religions, as well as politics. Students will learn how Korean people have formed and reformed Korean culture through the medium of Buddhism

Spring 2019: EARL GU4320
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4320 001/75900 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
607 Hamilton Hall
Seong-Uk Kim 4 11/15

HSEA GU4860 Culture and Society of Choson Korea, 1392-1910. 3 points.

Major cultural, political, social, economic and literary issues in the history of this 500-year long period. Reading and discussion of primary texts (in translation) and major scholarly works. All readings will be in English.

Fall 2018: HSEA GU4860
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4860 001/20826 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
424 Pupin Laboratories
Jungwon Kim 3 17/20

East Asian, Tibet

HSEA GU4700 Rise of Modern Tibet: History and Society, 1600-1913. 4 points.

Rise of Modern Tibet

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4700
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4700 001/64697 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
C01 80 Claremont
Gray Tuttle 4 13/20

HSEA GU4712 Local History in Tibet. 4 points.

Tibetan culture covers an area roughly the size of Western Europe, yet most regions have not been the subject of sustained historical study. This course is designed for students interested in studying approaches to local history that attempt to ask large questions of relatively small places. Historiographic works from Tibetan studies (where they exist) will be examined in comparison with approaches drawn mainly from European and Chinese studies, as well as theories drawn from North/South American and Southeast Asian contexts. Given the centrality of Buddhist monasteries to Tibetan history (as “urban” centers, banks, governments, educational institutions, etc.) much of the course will deal with these.

Spring 2019: HSEA GU4712
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4712 001/19091 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
224 Pupin Laboratories
Gray Tuttle 4 13/20


East Asian, Vietnam

HIST UN2881 Vietnam in the World. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This lecture course examines the history of Vietnam in the World. This course explores how war – ranging from civil, imperial, global, decolonization, and superpower interventions – have shaped the course of modern Vietnamese history and its interaction with the wider world. Participation in weekly discussion sections, which will begin no later than the third week of classes, is mandatory.

Spring 2019: HIST UN2881
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2881 001/19229 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
633 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 33/60

EAAS UN3710 Fiction, Film, and the Making of Modern Vietnams. 4 points.

This course examines film, tv, and a variety of short fiction as vehicles for the production of Vietnamese cultural identities in the modern era.

Spring 2019: EAAS UN3710
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3710 001/97947 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
4c Kraft Center
John Phan 4 12/15

South Asian

ANTH UN2007 Indian and Nigerian Film Cultures. 3 points.

This class places into comparative focus one of the oldest and one of the newest forms of global cinema outside of the U.S. It introduces and examines these film industries - their platforms, histories, aesthetics, and place in postcolonial life. We will explore how nonwestern contexts of film production and exhibition offer alternative histories of film. Topics include: aesthetics and genre; space and urbanization; colonialism and postcolonialism, shifting platforms of media exhibition, globalization, the notion of the popular and its relation to art.

RELI UN2205 Buddhism: Indo-Tibetan. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Historical introduction to Buddhist thought, scriptures, practices, and institutions. Attention given to Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric Buddhism in India, as well as selected non-Indian forms.

Spring 2019: RELI UN2205
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2205 001/12222 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Thomas Yarnall 4 63/120

POLS UN3556 The Rise of India & China. 3 points.

This course examines the rise of India and China since the mid-twentieth century in terms of interaction of states, markets and globalization as our conceptual framework. It examines the emergence of two distinct developmental pathways in the two countries, focusing on their political economies, in comparative historical perspective. It also evaluates the implications of the rise of China and India on the global economy.

Spring 2019: POLS UN3556
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3556 001/12560 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
303 Hamilton Hall
Rumela Sen 3 27/40

ANTH UN3661 South Asia: Anthropological Approaches. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course draws on ethnography, history, fiction, and other genres to think about diverse peoples and places in the region known as South Asia. Rather than attempt to fix or define "South Asia" as a singular category, we will explore how particular social and scholarly categories through which dimensions of South Asian life have come to be known (such as caste, class, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, and kinship) are experienced, negotiated, and reworked by actual persons in specific situations. By examining both categories and practices, we will ask: What kinds of relationships exist between the messiness of everyday life and the classifications used by both scholars and "local" people to describe and make sense of it? How do scholarly and bureaucratic ideas not merely reflect but also shape lived realities? How do lived realities affect the ways in which categories are named and understood? In addressing such questions, categories sometimes thought of as stable or timeless emerge as, in fact, contingent and embodied. 

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3661
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3661 001/01215 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Elizabeth Green 4 14/31

RELI GU4228 South Asia and the Secular. 4 points.

This seminar explores different contestations and inflections of the secular in South Asia.We will begin by tracing a genealogy of the secular, which gave rise to a particular discursive grammar. Grounding ourselves in this formative space of the secular, we will study the constitutive nature of imperialism within the secular by examining the disciplining and conscripting role of Orientalism and the colonial state. Though noting these changes produced by colonial rule, this course also explores the arguments scholars of South Asia have made distinguishing between “secularisms” and the production of a tolerant and cosmopolitan South Asian orientation. In conjunction and against these possibilities, rather than consider the religious retrograde or communal, we will consider the continual striving toward political autonomy through disputation in the parameters of a given tradition—which resist incorporation into a broader pluralist or syncretic Indic model.

Spring 2019: RELI GU4228
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4228 001/61780 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Rajbir Judge 4 11/20

MDES GU4654 Gender, Power and Culture in Early Modern India. 4 points.

Explores gender, culture, power in India, c. 1500-1800 by reading theoretical works on gender and sexuality, historical scholarship relevant to early modern India, and a variety of primary sources. Topics include morality, mysticism, devotion, desire, kingship, heroism, homosocial relations, and homoerotic practices. The focus is largely on Persianate contexts, in conversation with broader South Asian and Islamic studies. This discussion seminar is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students, with some previous background in South Asian, Islamic, or gender studies.

Spring 2019: MDES GU4654
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4654 001/15919 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Mana Kia 4 16/20

Southeast Asian

Middle Eastern

MUSI UN2030 Jewish Music of New York. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Music Humanities (Columbia University) or An Introduction to Music (Barnard).

With the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in New York in the mid-1600s until today, Jewish music in the City has oscillated between preserving traditions and introducing innovative ideas. This course explores the variety of ways people have used music to describe, inscribe, symbolize, and editorialize their Jewish experience. Along these lines, it draws upon genres of art music, popular music, and non-Western traditions, as well as practices that synthesize various styles and genres, from hazzanut to hiphop. Diverse musical experiences will serve as a window to address wider questions of identity, memory, and dislocation. We will also experience the Jewish soundscape of New York’s dynamic and eclectic music culture by visiting various venues and meeting key players in today’s music scene, and thus engage in the ongoing dialogues that define Jewishness in New York. A basic familiarity with Judaism and Jewish culture is helpful for this course, but it is by no means required. You do not need to know Jewish history to take this class, nor do you need to be able to read music. Translations from Hebrew and Yiddish will be provided, and musical analysis will be well explained.

Fall 2018: MUSI UN2030
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MUSI 2030 001/19275 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
814 Dodge Building
Tina Fruehauf 3 15/40

RELI UN2305 Islam. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

An introduction to the Islamic religion in its premodern and modern manifestations.  The first half of the course concentrates on “classical” Islam, beginning with the life of the Prophet, and extending to ritual, jurisprudence, theology, and mysticism.  The second half examines how Muslims have articulated Islam in light of colonization and the rise of a secular modernity.  The course ends with a discussion of American and European Muslim attempts at carving out distinct spheres of identity in the larger global Muslim community.  

Fall 2018: RELI UN2305
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2305 001/04539 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Ll103 Diana Center
Najam Haider 4 35/60

HIST UN2719 History of the Modern Middle East. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Graduate students must register for HIST G6998 version of this course.

This course will cover the history of the Middle East from the 18th century until the present, examining the region ranging from Morocco to Iran and including the Ottoman Empire. It will focus on transformations in the states of the region, external intervention, and the emergence of modern nation-states, as well as aspects of social, economic, cultural and intellectual history of the region. Field(s): ME

Fall 2018: HIST UN2719
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2719 001/60061 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
417 International Affairs Bldg
Rashid Khalidi 4 173/200

MDES UN1001 Critical Theory: A Global Perspective. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

The purpose of this foundational course is to introduce Columbia undergraduate students, in the context of their Global Core curriculum, to the seminal field of critical theory.  The historical domain of this course is within the last century and its geographical spectrum is global.  European critical thinkers are included in this course but not privileged.  Thinkers from Asia, Africa, Europe, North, South, and Latin America, are examined here in chronological order and in equal democratic footing with each other.  This course as a result is decidedly cross-cultural, one step forward towards de-alienating critical thinkers from around the globe and the issues they address without pigeonholing them as something “other” or “different.” 


The course is designed and offered in the true spirit of the “Global Core.”  The purpose of the course is to reach for the common denominator of serious critical thinking about the fate of our humanity and the health of our social relations in an increasingly fragile world—where the false binaries of “the West” and “the Rest” no longer hold.  The roster of critical thinkers we will examine is by no means exhaustive but representative.  Any number of other critical thinkers can be added to this roster but none of those we will examine can be excluded from them. 


The course is divided into thirteen successive weeks and for each week a number of seminal, original, and groundbreaking texts are identified.  Each week we will examine selected passages from these texts.  The course is designed as a lecture course, and my lectures are based on the totality of these texts but students will be assigned specific shorter passages to read. 

Spring 2019: MDES UN1001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1001 001/67908 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
833 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Hamid Dabashi 4 84/120

HSME UN2811 South Asia: Empire and Its Aftermath. 4 points.

Prerequisites: None.

(No prerequisite.) We begin with the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire, and examine why and how the East India Company came to rule India in the eighteenth century. As the term progresses, we will investigate the objectives of British colonial rule in India and we will explore the nature of colonial modernity. The course then turns to a discussion of anti-colonial sentiment, both in the form of outright revolt, and critiques by early nationalists. This is followed by a discussion of Gandhi, his thought and his leadership of the nationalist movement. Finally, the course explores the partition of British India in 1947, examining the long-term consequences of the process of partition for the states of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We will focus in particular on the flowing themes: non-Western state formation; debates about whether British rule impoverished India; the structure and ideology of anti-colonial thought; identity formation and its connection to political, economic and cultural structures. The class relies extensively on primary texts, and aims to expose students to multiple historiographical perspectives for understanding South Asia's past.

Spring 2019: HSME UN2811
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSME 2811 001/00376 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
405 Milbank Hall
Anupama Rao 4 79/110

MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement, Discussion Section Required

Required of all majors. Introduces theories of culture particularly related to the Middle East, South Asia. and Africa. Theoretical debates on the nature and function of culture as a symbolic reading of human collectivities. Examines critical cultural studies of the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Enables students to articulate their emerging knowledge of Middle East, South Asian, and African cultures in a theoretically informed language. 

Fall 2018: MDES UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3000 001/17836 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
313 Fayerweather
Gil Hochberg 4 56/80

MDES UN3042 Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society. 4 points.

The History of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala) in 19th century Europe and the development of Zionism through the current "peace process" between the state of Israel and the Arab states and the Palestinian national movement. Provides a historical overview of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict to familiarize undergraduates with the background of the current situation. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.

Spring 2019: MDES UN3042
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3042 001/15718 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
313 Fayerweather
Joseph Massad 4 16/60

MDES UN3121 Literature and Cultures of Struggle in South Africa. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Generations of resistance have shaped contemporary life in South Africa -- in struggles against colonialism, segregation, the legislated racism known as apartheid, and the entrenched inequalities of the post-apartheid era. Two constants in this history of struggle have been youth as a vanguard of liberation movements and culture as a "weapon of struggle." As new generation of South African youth -- the "born frees" -- has now taken to the streets and social media to "decolonize" the university and claim their education as a meaningful right, this course traces the ways that generations of writers, artists, and activists have faced censorship, exile, and repression in an ongoing struggle to dismantle apartheid and to free the mind, "the most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor" according to Black Consciousness activist Steve Biko. This course traces the profoundly important roles that literature and other cultural production (music, photography, film, comics, Twitter hashtags like #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall) have played in struggle against apartheid and its lingering afterlife. Although many of our texts were originally written in English, we will also discuss the historical forces, including nineteenth-century Christian missions and Bantu Education, as well as South Africa's post-1994 commitment to being a multilingual democracy, that have shaped the linguistic texture of South African cultural life.

Spring 2019: MDES UN3121
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3121 001/68159 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
503 Hamilton Hall
Jennifer Wenzel 3 38/54

MDES UN3251 The Ancient Sciences in Medieval Islamic World. 3 points.

“ʿUlūm al-awāʾil”, or the “Science of the Ancients” was one of the many names given to the body of knowledge that the Islamic civilization inherited from the Ancient Greek nature-knowledge system. By the end of the 10th century CE the Islamic civilization had appropriated many branches of the Greek knowledge, including cosmological philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, music, and medicine among other disciplines. While some of these disciplines, such as cosmological philosophy, were heavily opposed by proponents of traditional sciences (Qur’anic exegesis, Hadith scholarship, Arabic grammar, etc.), many of them became legitimate fields of knowledge for Muslim intellectuals and scholars for many centuries until the dawn of modern science. With the advent of modern science, some of these disciplines, such as mathematics and astronomy, were absorbed in the new scientific paradigm as “exact sciences”; many others were relegated to the domain of “occult sciences”. This course aims at surveying the “Ancient sciences” in medieval Islam by studying several of these disciplines, both “exact” and “occult”.

Spring 2019: MDES UN3251
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3251 001/77746 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
104 Knox Hall
Mohammad Sadegh Ansari 3 11/15

MDES UN3260 Rethinking Middle East Politics. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course examines a set of questions that have shaped the study of the politics of the modern Middle East. It looks at the main ways those questions have been answered, exploring debates both in Western academic scholarship and among scholars and intellectuals in the region itself. For each question, the course offers new ways of thinking about the issue or ways of framing it in different terms. The topics covered in the course include: the kinds of modern state that emerged in the Middle East and the ways its forms of power and authority were shaped; the birth of economic development as a way of describing the function and measuring the success of the state, and the changing metrics of this success; the influence of oil on the politics of the region; the nature and role of Islamic political movements; the transformation of the countryside and the city and the role of rural populations and of urban protest in modern politics; and the politics of armed force and political violence in the region, and the ways in which this has been understood. The focus of the course will be on the politics of the twentieth century, but many topics will be traced back into developments that occurred in earlier periods, and several will be explored up to the present. The course is divided into four parts, each ending with a paper or exam in which participants are asked to analyze the material covered. Each part of the course has a geographical focus on a country or group of countries and a thematic focus on a particular set of questions of historical and political analysis.

Spring 2019: MDES UN3260
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3260 001/25694 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
313 Fayerweather
Timothy Mitchell 4 50/70

MDES UN3331 Urban Space and Conflict in the Middle East. 3 points.

This course explores how civil war, revolution, militarization, mass violence, refugee crises, and terrorism impact urban spaces, and how city dwellers engage in urban resilience, negotiate and attempt to reclaim their right to the city. Through case studies of Beirut (1975-present), Baghdad (2003-present), Cairo (2011-present), Diyarbakir (1914-present), Aleppo (1914-present), and Jerusalem (1914-present), this course traces how urban life adjusted to destruction (and post-conflict reconstruction), violence, and anarchy; how neighborhoods were reshaped; and how local ethnic, religious, and political dynamics played out in these cities and metropolises. Relying on multi-disciplinary and post-disciplinary scholarship, and employing a wealth of audiovisual material, literary works, and interviews conducted by the instructor, the course scrutinizes how conflicts have impacted urban life in the Middle East, and how civilians react to, confront, and resist militarization in urban spaces.

 

Spring 2019: MDES UN3331
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3331 001/69647 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
413 Kent Hall
Khatchig Mouradian 3 41/60

ANTH UN3465 Women and Gender Politics in the Muslim World. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Practices like veiling that are central to Western images of women and Islam are also contested issues throughout the Muslim world. Examines debates about Islam and gender and explores the interplay of cultural, political, and economic factors in shaping women's lives in the Muslim world, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3465
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3465 001/65089 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
313 Fayerweather
Lila Abu-Lughod 3 48/75

MDES UN3920 Contemporary Culture in the Modern Arab World. 3 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

This seminar, designed for seniors, aims to acquaint students with the notion and theoretical understanding of culture and to introduce them to a critical method by which they can study and appreciate contemporary culture in the Arab World. The seminar will survey examples of written and cinematic culture (fiction and autobiography), as well as music, dance, and literary criticism in the contemporary Arab world. Students will be reading novels, autobioghraphies and literary criticism, as well as watch films and listen to music as part of the syllabus. All material will be in translation. Films will be subtitled. Songs will be in Arabic.

Fall 2018: MDES UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3920 001/20646 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Joseph Massad 3 8/24

ANTH UN3933 Arabia Imagined. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course explores Arabia as a global phenomenon. It is organized around primary texts read in English translation. The site of the revelation of the Quran and the location of the sacred precincts of Islam, Arabia is the destination of pilgrimage and the direction of prayer for Muslims worldwide. It also is the locus of cultural expression ranging from the literature of the 1001 Nights to the broadcasts of Al Jazeera. We begin with themes of contemporary youth culture and political movements associated with the Arab Spring. Seminar paper.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3933
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3933 001/14692 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
963 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Brinkley Messick 4 32/40

MDES UN3960 MESAAS Honors Thesis Seminar. 4 points.

Open to seniors who have declared MESAAS as their major only.

Prerequisites: minimum GPA of 3.5 in MESAAS courses.

The MESAAS honors seminar offers students the opportunity to undertake a sustained research project under close faculty supervision. The DUS advises on general issues of project design, format, approach, general research methodologies, and timetable. In addition, students work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of the thesis and can advise on the specifics of method and content. The thesis will be jointly evaluated by the adviser, the DUS, and the honors thesis TA. The DUS will lead students through a variety of exercises that are directly geared to facilitating the thesis. Students build their research, interpretive, and writing skills; discuss methodological approaches; write an annotated bibliography; learn to give constructive feedback to peers and respond to feedback effectively. The final product is a polished research paper in the range of 40-60 pages. Please note: This is a one-year course that begins in the fall semester (1 point) and continues through the spring semester (3 points). Only students who have completed both semesters will receive the full 4 points of credit.

Fall 2018: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/20565 W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
208 Knox Hall
Timothy Mitchell 4 9/20
Spring 2019: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/23367 W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
208 Knox Hall
Timothy Mitchell 4 9/20

MDES GU4057 Subaltern Studies and Problems of Historiography. 4 points.

The aim of this course will be two-fold: first to initiate a detailed study of the school of Indian  history called Subaltern Studies which achieved immense attention and popularity starting from the 1980s; secondly, to study, through these writings, the epistemological problems of critical historical and social science scholarship. The discussions will be on two levels – every week there will be a reading from the subaltern studies history, but this would be linked to thinking about some specific theoretical issue, and the historiographic difficulties of investigating the history of social groups and actors who were conventionally kept outside mainstream histories. It will track the intellectual trajectory of  subaltern studies intellectual work as it expanded , moving  from histories of the peasantry, the working class, tribals, women, lower castes, subordinate nations, to raising larger theoretical and methodological questions about critiques of nationalist history, of European history and social science to the general question of knowledge about the modern world and the languages in which it should be examined. In the last section, we shall discuss if SS contains a promise of similar forms of critical knowledge in other parts of the world, and whether it can be used to examine the conceptual structures of modern social sciences in general.

Fall 2018: MDES GU4057
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4057 001/26282 T 4:00pm - 6:00pm
104 Knox Hall
Sudipta Kaviraj 4 5/20

MDES GU4152 Rethinking Freedom in Africa. 4 points.

Through the study of a set of key theoretical and fictional texts that range from the late 1960s to the present we will attempt to understand the “pitfalls of national consciousness” within historically existing African emancipatory projects. The texts that we will read will help us comprehend the nature of race, racism, ethnicity, and class struggle within the struggle for African freedom. Overall, the course will unfold in four sequences. In the first sequence we will examine the new debates that have emerged from within the Afro-pessimist literature. Here we will be concerned with the assertion within this body of writing about the impossibility of a collective African emancipatory project in this world. Secondly, because the Afro-pessimist literature is primarily concerned with rethinking freedom in Africa through Frantz Fanon, the course will then turn to the most recent secondary literature on Fanon from Africa (broadly conceived). Our objective here is twofold: to stage a debate regarding stakes between this secondary literature and the Afro-pessimist literature and to pose the question more generally of what it has meant to think of freedom from within Africa. The third sequence of the course will then turn to a rereading of classic texts associated with African emancipatory projects including the writings of Fanon, Amìlcar Cabral, and Steve Biko as a way to ground our thinking within these debates. Lastly, we will turn to the novels of Ben Okri so as to potentially identify and rethink the limits of contemporary debates about the prospects for freedom in Africa today.

Spring 2019: MDES GU4152
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4152 001/27347 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
613 Hamilton Hall
Elleni Zeleke 4 12/20

CLME GU4226 Arabic Autobiography: Global Dimensions. 4 points.

This course draws a map of Arab thought and culture in its multiple engagements with other cultures. It works globally along two lines: a theoretical one that accommodates conceptualizations of self-narrative in relation to shifting categories of center and margin; and a thematic one that selects a number of Arabic autobiographical texts with strong thematic concerns that cut across multiple cultures. Although Europe sounds at times more conspicuous in early 20th century autobiography, the Afro-Asian and Latin American topographical and historical itinerary and context are no less so, especially in writings we associate with societal and cultural transformations. More than historical accounts, these intellectual itineraries speak for the successes and failures of the secular ideology of the Arab nation-state. They convey the struggle of intellectuals-- as self-styled leaders, for an ideal state on the ruins of the past. The course studies a number of autobiographical works; memoirs and reminiscences that are meant to rationalize and reproduce a writer’s experience. Probably self-censored, these serve nevertheless as trajectories for a secular journey rather than one from denial to affirmation. Staunchly established in modernity and its nahdah paradigms, most of these writings are secular itineraries that rarely end in a search for faith. They are the journeys of a generation of Arab intellectuals who are facing many crises, but not the crisis of faith. They provide another look at the making of the Arab intelligentsia- and probably the Afro-Asian and Latin American one, since the early 20th century, and help us discern not only achievements on the level of education and public service , but also the mounting discontent with failures that have been wrapping the formation of the nation state.No prior knowledge of Arabic language is required.

Fall 2018: CLME GU4226
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 4226 001/72475 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4 13/15

CLME GU4231 Cold War Arab Culture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course studies the effects and strategies of the cold war on Arab writing, education, arts and translation, and the counter movement in Arab culture to have its own identities. As the cold war functioned and still functions on a global scale, thematic and methodological comparisons are drawn with Latin America, India and Africa.

Fall 2018: CLME GU4231
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 4231 001/26028 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4 12/18

MDES GU4263 Colonial Encounters: Thinking through Time and Space. 4 points.

This course focuses on issues related to colonial encounters over time, space and geographies. The course is organized around issues that emerge from thinking about the past and present of colonialism and how those encounters affect and frame epistemological as well as ontological questions. We will explore the themes and lines of thought that are helpful in thinking about our contemporary conditions in terms of colonial history. As such, this course examines different types of colonialisms in their various forms and iterations over time and space and their attendant narrations and stories regarding the relationship to the past and present. This course is also about the various ways, means and methods that colonized people(s) confront(ed) colonial violence, domination, and other forms of power. Throughout the semester we ask questions related to histories of colonialisms, comparative colonial settings, settler colonial trajectories, and indigenous responses to settler power. The course will travel in theory and space, in terms of geography and temporality, while prioritizing a focus on the Middle East. 

Spring 2019: MDES GU4263
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4263 001/60825 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Rena Barakat 4 14/20

MDES GU4357 WAR,GENOCIDE,& AFTERMATH COMP PERSPECTIV. 3 points.

This 4000-level course examines how societies grapple with the legacy of mass violence, through an exploration of historical texts, memoirs, textbooks, litigation, and media reports and debates on confronting the past. Focusing on case studies of the Herero Genocide, the Armenian genocide during WWI, and the Holocaust and the Comfort Women during WWII, students investigate the crime and its sequelae, looking at how societies deal with skeletons in their closets ( engaging in silence, trivialization, rationalization, and denial to acknowledgment, apology, and repair); surveying responses of survivors and their descendants (with particular attention to intergeneration transmission of trauma, forgiveness, resentment, and the pursuit of redress); and dissecting public debates on modern day issues that harken back to past atrocities. 

Spring 2019: MDES GU4357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4357 001/26851 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
227 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Khatchig Mouradian 3 25/45

JWST GU4537 Modernism, Nationalism, Revival: Readings in Modern Hebrew Literature. 4 points.

Exploring a rich variety of literary prose fiction, this course focuses on the emergence of modernism in Hebrew literature at the turn of the 20th century. Ever since the 19th century Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), Hebrew literature has played a major role in the processes of permutation and transition within Jewish society, articulating new modes of thinking on matters such as body, identity, sexuality and language. In both its themes and aesthetics, Hebrew literature not only reflected these processes, but in fact created and shaped the public sphere within which these new ideas emerged. Identifying literature as an institution of the modern, intertwined with the rise of nationalism, this course examines the coincidence, as well as the discrepancy, between modernist poetics and the nationalist imagination. It asks how literature constructs national consciousness and whether, and in what ways, it ever exceeds it.


Our weekly sessions will be dedicated to reading diverse texts (short stories, essays, novels and literary theory) and tackling some of the recurring issues they raise, including gender and sexuality, ideology, psychological narratives, secularization and immigration. We will acquire methodologies of literary analysis, pay attention to rhetoric and style and practice close reading. The course will use digital media and interactive online platforms including films, photos, recordings and other audiovisuals, as well as an interactive discussion board. No prior knowledge of Hebrew is required. All texts are available in English translation.

Spring 2019: JWST GU4537
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
JWST 4537 001/89676 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
304 Hamilton Hall
Roni Henig 4 17/25

POLS GU4845 National Security Strategies of the Middle East: A Comparative Perspective. 4 points.

At the crossroads of three continents, the Middle East is home to many diverse peoples, with ancient and proud cultures, in varying stages of political and socio-economic development, often in conflict. Following the Arab Spring and subsequent upheaval in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and more, the region is in a state of historic flux. The Sunni-Shia rivalry, especially between Saudi Arabia and Iran, growing Iranian-Israeli conflict, population explosion, poverty and authoritarian control, Russian ascendance and US retrenchment, are the primary regional drivers today. Together, these factors have transformed the Middle Eastern landscape, with great consequence for the national security of the countries of the region and their foreign relations. The primary source of the world's energy resources, the Middle East remains the locus of the terror-WMD-fundamentalist nexus, which continues to pose a significant threat to both regional and international security.,The course surveys the national security challenges facing the region's primary players (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians and Turkey,) and how the convolutions of recent years have affected them. Unlike many Middle East courses, which focus on US policy in the region, the course concentrates on the regional players' perceptions of the threats and opportunities they face and the strategies they have adopted to deal with them. It thus provides an essential vantage point for those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of a region, which stands at the center of many of the foreign policy issues of our era. The course is designed for those with a general interest in the Middle East, especially those interested in national security issues, students of comparative politics and future practitioners, with an interest in "real world" international relations and national security

Spring 2019: POLS GU4845
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4845 001/87529 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
607 Hamilton Hall
Charles Freilich 4 16/20

Asian Civilizations

ASCE UN1002 Introduction to Major Topics in Asian Civilizations: East Asia. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

An interdisciplinary and topical approach to the major issues and phases of East Asian civilizations and their role in the contemporary world. 

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1002 001/16216 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
304 Hamilton Hall
John Chen 4 14/20
Spring 2019: ASCE UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1002 001/28852 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
327 Seeley W. Mudd Building
John Thompson III, Elizabeth Reynolds 4 20/25

ASCE UN1359 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: NOTE:Students must register for a discussion section, ASCE UN1360

The evolution of Chinese civilization from ancient times to the 20th century, with emphasis on characteristic institutions and traditions.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/15028 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
717 Hamilton Hall
Jian Ming Chang 4 58/80
Spring 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/68821 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Robert Hymes 4 55/90

ASCE UN1361 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Japan. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: NOTE: Students must register for a discussion section ASCE UN1371

A survey of important events and individuals, prominent literary and artistic works, and recurring themes in the history of Japan, from prehistory to the 20th century.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/26580 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
329 Pupin Laboratories
Paul Kreitman 4 84/90
Spring 2019: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/16983 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Gregory Pflugfelder 4 75/90

ASCE UN1363 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Korea. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: NOTE:Students must register for a discussion section, ASCE UN1366

The evolution of Korean society and culture, with special attention to Korean values as reflected in thought, literature, and the arts.

Spring 2019: ASCE UN1363
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1363 001/28668 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
633 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Charles Armstrong 4 52/60

ASCE UN1365 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Tibet. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course seeks to introduce the sweep of Tibetan civilization and its history from its earliest recorded origins to the present. The course examines what civilizational forces shaped Tibet, especially the contributions of Indian Buddhism, sciences and literature, but also Chinese statecraft and sciences. Alongside the chronological history of Tibet, we will explore aspects of social life and culture.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1365
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1365 001/28760 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Patrick Booz 4 79/105

ASCE UN1367 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Vietnam. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Corequisites: ASCE UN1377

This course provides a survey of Vietnamese civilization from prehistoric origins to the French colonization in the 19th century, with special emphasis on the rise and development of independent kingship over the 2nd millennium CE.  We begin by exploring ethnolinguistic diversity of the Red River plain over the first millenium BCE, culminating in the material bronze culture known as the Dong Son.  We then turn towards the introduction of high sinitic culture, and the region's long membership within successive Chinese empires.  We pay special attention to the rise of an independent state out of the crumbling Tang Dynasty, and the specific nation-building effects of war with the Mongols and the Ming Dynasty, in the 14th and 15th centuries respectively.  Our class ends with the French colonization of the region, and the dramatic cultural and intellectual transformations that were triggered as a result.  Our course will interrogate Vietnamese culture as a protean object, one that is defined and redefined at virtually every level, throughout a history marked by foreign interest, influence, and invasion.

Fall 2018: ASCE UN1367
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1367 001/74924 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
313 Fayerweather
John Phan 4 43/60

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic intellectual, political, social, and cultural traditions up through 1800.

Fall 2018: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/75279 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
310 Fayerweather
Nathanael Shelley 4 63/96

ASCM UN2008 Contemporary Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Lecture and recitation. No previous study of Islam is required. The contemporary Islamic world studied through freshly translated texts; recorded interviews with religious, political, and intellectual leaders; and films highlighting the main artistic and cultural currents. Topics include religion and society, religion and politics, issues of development, theories of government, gender issues, East-West confrontation, theatre, arts, films, poetry, music, and the short novel.

Spring 2019: ASCM UN2008
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2008 001/61229 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
310 Fayerweather
Nathanael Shelley 4 64/90

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduction to Indian civilization with attention to both its unity and its diversity across the Indian subcontinent. Consideration of its origins, formative development, fundamental social institutions, religious thought and practice (Vedic, Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh), literary and artistic achievements, and modern challenges.

Asian Art Humanities

AHIS UN2602 The Arts of Japan. 3 points.

Introduction to the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Japan from the Neolithic period through the present. Discussion focuses on key monuments within their historical and cultural contexts.

Fall 2018: AHIS UN2602
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2602 001/86496 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 3 15/30
Spring 2019: AHIS UN2602
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2602 001/70967 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Miriam Chusid 3 30/35

AHIS UN2612 A History of China in 27 Objects. 3 points.

This course introduces twenty-seven significant monuments and objects comprising a selective overview of 4000 years of traditional Chinese culture. Through these twenty-seven objects, we will think about historical currents, consider materials (clay, stone, bronze, lacquer, paper, silk, ink, and wood), how things were made, how these objects were used among the living, and why some of them were buried with the dead. Because analogy and metaphor is fundamental to Chinese language, we will examine visual symbols, auspicious imagery and rhetoric of resistance that had their origins in literature. The goal of the course is to raise awareness of visual clues in Chinese art and to establish basic visual literacy. After successfully completing this course you will be better able to articulate a research question, read more critically, write a visual analysis, and impress friends and family as you name a painting used in restaurant décor.

Spring 2019: AHIS UN2612
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2612 001/63046 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Alfreda Murck 3 39/55

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/81529 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 67/67
Spring 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 002/14582 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Tara Kuruvilla 4 21/22

AHIS UN3610 Visualizing Japanese Buddhism. 4 points.

It has long been recognized that Buddhism is a religion whose tenets are constantly being absorbed, reinterpreted, and disseminated through images. While artworks exist as compliments to doctrinal thought, they are also integral components to ritual and belief, and can even underpin and inspire new forms of religious thought. This course provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Buddhist art in Japan. Each week, we will focus on one group of related images, studying and analyzing their basic design or composition and material. Then, we will think about their original use, how they served specific ritual functions, or how they promoted certain Buddhist teachings. Themes to be considered include the development of Japanese Buddhist art in relation to the broader East Asian context and to indigenous Japanese religions (Shinto), the role of art and architecture in promulgating larger belief systems, women as Buddhist practitioners and as commissioners of religious art projects, and the deification of historical figures. By the end of this course, students will acquire an understanding of the multiple ways people in the Japanese archipelago interpreted Buddhist art over time, and will learn to evaluate and analyze religious artworks within specific ideological frameworks.

AHIS GU4011 Art and Archaeology of Mesopotamia. 3 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course surveys the art and architecture of Mesopotamia from the rise of the first cities, the invention of writing, and the development of monumental art and architecture in the fourth millennium BC through the Parthian- Roman era (3rd century AD). Within this historical framework the lectures will focus on the revolutionary ancient developments in art and architecture, including the origins of narrative representation, the first emergence of historical public monuments, and sacred architecture. We will also study some ancient texts on the making and uses of images and monuments, including rituals of animating statues, building rituals, treatment of images in wars, and visual performativity. At the same time, small scale and personal arts will be considered in the context of private ownership and the practices of daily life.

Fall 2018: AHIS GU4011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4011 001/70506 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Zainab Bahrani 3 37/60

MDES GU4347 Origins of Armenian Art: Creating an Identity. 4 points.

Organized around the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s international loan exhibition Armenia!  that will be held during the fall semester 2018, the course will be an interdisciplinary exploration of the creation of a sense of self-identity for the Armenian people through its material culture. Manuscript illuminations, liturgical objects, architectural sculpture, ceramics, textiles and other media will be studied to determine the means by which the Armenian people at the level of elite and popular culture identified themselves and positioned themselves in terms of neighboring, or dominating, cultures and on the trade routes they established across the globe. Emphasis will be laid on the role of religion in Armenian self-identification. Relevant works from other cultures in the Museum’s encyclopedic collections will be used for comparative study. Students will do a paper on an Armenian work selected from the exhibition and present an aspect of their research in class. Hands on experience with the Museum’s works of art will allow consideration of means of manufacture as well as style and iconography.

Fall 2018: MDES GU4347
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4347 001/23800 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Helen Evans 4 8/20

Asian Humanities

AHUM UN1399 Colloquium on Major Texts: Middle East and South Asia. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings may include the Qur'an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi's Autobiography.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/71816 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
414 Pupin Laboratories
Wael Hallaq 4 19/20
AHUM 1399 002/09452 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
214 Milbank Hall
Nathanael Shelley 4 16/20
Spring 2019: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/07964 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
101 Knox Hall
Elaine van Dalen 4 22/25

AHUM UN1400 Colloquium on Major Texts: East Asia. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course explores the core classical literature in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Humanities. The main objective of the course is to discover the meanings that these literature offer, not just for the original audience or for the respective cultures, but for us. As such, it is not a survey or a lecture-based course. Rather than being taught what meanings are to be derived from the texts, we explore meanings together, informed by in-depth reading and thorough ongoing discussion.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/19259 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
402 Hamilton Hall
Itsuki Hayashi 4 24/22
AHUM 1400 002/05400 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Jue Guo 4 18/22
AHUM 1400 003/75134 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
303 Altschul Hall
David Moerman 4 16/22
AHUM 1400 005/24297 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
307 Pupin Laboratories
John Phan 4 21/22
Spring 2019: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/25108 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Paul Anderer 4 20/22
AHUM 1400 002/68388 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Michael Como 4 19/22
AHUM 1400 003/65702 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
313 Hamilton Hall
Itsuki Hayashi 4 27/22
AHUM 1400 004/29600 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
224 Pupin Laboratories
Seong-Uk Kim 4 21/22

AHUM UN2604 Art In China, Japan, and Korea. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduces distinctive aesthetic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea--their similarities and differences--through an examination of the visual significance of selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts in relation to the history, culture, and religions of East Asia.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/78460 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Ja Lee 3 19/22
AHUM 2604 003/16498 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 17/22
Spring 2019: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/20940 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Ja Lee 3 23/22
AHUM 2604 003/14449 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 24/22

AHUM UN2901 Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Introduction to 2000 years of art on the Indian subcontinent. The course covers the early art of Buddhism, rock-cut architecture of the Buddhists and Hindus, the development of the Hindu temple, Mughal and Rajput painting and architecture, art of the colonial period, and the emergence of the Modern.

Fall 2018: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/81529 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 67/67
Spring 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 002/14582 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Tara Kuruvilla 4 21/22

AHMM UN3320 Introduction To the Musics of East Asia and Southeast Asia. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: The Visual and Performing Arts (ART)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

A topical approach to the concepts and practices of music in relation to other arts in the development of Asian civilizations.

Spring 2019: AHMM UN3320
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHMM 3320 001/64096 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
620 Dodge Building
Rachel Chung 3 24/25
AHMM 3320 002/19901 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
Yun Wang 3 25/25
AHMM 3320 003/12049 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
622 Dodge Building
Jesse Chevan 3 27/25

Asian Music Humanities

AHMM UN3321 Introduction To the Musics of India and West Asia. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: The Visual and Performing Arts (ART)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

A topical approach to the concepts and practices of music in relation to other arts in the development of Asian civilizations.

Fall 2018: AHMM UN3321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHMM 3321 001/12848 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
620 Dodge Building
Nandini Banerjee 3 22/25
AHMM 3321 002/64782 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
Daniel Ferguson, Eben Graves 3 20/25
AHMM 3321 003/88962 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
622 Dodge Building
Jesse Chevan 3 22/25

African History

MDES UN2030 Major Debates in the Study of Africa. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course will focus on key debates that have shaped the study of Africa in the post-colonial African academy. We will cover seven key debates: (1) Historiography; (2) Slavery and slave trades; (3) State Formation; (4) Colonialism; (5) Underdevelopment; (6) Nationalism and the anti-colonial struggle; (7) Political Identity and political violence in the post-colony. Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.

Fall 2018: MDES UN2030
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2030 001/26343 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
330 River Side Church
Mahmood Mamdani 4 38/65

HSME UN2915 Africa Before Colonialism: From Prehistory to the Birth of the Atlantic World. 4 points.

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the precolonial history of the African continent. It investigates in-depth the political, social, cultural and economic developments of different Africa communities, covering various regions and periods, from prehistory to the formation of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic worlds. Its focus is the intersection of politics, economics, culture and society. Using world history and Africa’s location in the production of history as key analytical frames, it pays special attention to social, political and cultural changes that shaped the various individual and collective experiences of African peoples and states and the historical discourses associated to them.

Fall 2018: HSME UN2915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSME 2915 001/27635 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
337 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Mamadou Diouf 4 19/30