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
Room TBA
1 9/25

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
Room TBA
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 75/75

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
Room TBA
Nicholas Bartlett 3 12

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 M W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
David Moerman 4 11/20

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 V2360
Corequisites: NOTE:Students must register for a discussion section, ASCE V2360

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

Spring 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/24276 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
501 Northwest Corner
Harrison Huang 4 73/90
Fall 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/15028 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
4 80/80

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
Room TBA
Christopher Peacock 4 15/15

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 5/12

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
Room TBA
Yan Wang 3 13/20

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.

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
Room TBA
3 60/60

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 V2371
Corequisites: NOTE: Students must register for a discussion section ASCE V2371

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.

Spring 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/17200 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Paul Kreitman 4 86/90
Fall 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/26580 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Paul Kreitman 4 90/90

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
Room TBA
Takuya Tsunoda 4 15/15

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
Room TBA
Takuya Tsunoda 4 13/15

East Asian, Korea

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

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
Room TBA
Jungwon Kim 3 14/20

East Asian, Tibet

South Asian

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
Room TBA
Elizabeth Green 4 14/31

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 21/40

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
Room TBA
Najam Haider 4 51/60

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 4 220/200

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
Room TBA
Gil Hochberg 4 65/80

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
Room TBA
Lila Abu-Lughod 3 67/75

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
Room TBA
Joseph Massad 3 14/24

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
Room TBA
Brinkley Messick 4 40/40

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.

Spring 2018: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/10681 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Kai Kresse 4 4/20
Fall 2018: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/20565 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Timothy Mitchell 4 8/20

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
Room TBA
Sudipta Kaviraj 4 2/20

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 20/20

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 29/26

Asian Civilizations

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 V2360
Corequisites: NOTE:Students must register for a discussion section, ASCE V2360

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

Spring 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/24276 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
501 Northwest Corner
Harrison Huang 4 73/90
Fall 2018: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/15028 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
4 80/80

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 V2371
Corequisites: NOTE: Students must register for a discussion section ASCE V2371

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.

Spring 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/17200 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Paul Kreitman 4 86/90
Fall 2018: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/26580 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Paul Kreitman 4 90/90

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
Room TBA
Patrick Booz 4 105/105

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

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

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
Room TBA
John Phan 4 45/60

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
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 89/90

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.

Fall 2018: ASCM UN2357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2357 001/17198 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
3 6/70

Asian Art Humanities

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.

Spring 2018: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/60846 M W 7:40pm - 8:55pm
832 Schermerhorn Hall
Seher Agarwala 4 14/22
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 64/67

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 37/50

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 4/20

Asian Humanities

AHUM UN1399 Major Texts: Middle East/India. 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
Room TBA
Wael Hallaq 4 20/20
AHUM 1399 002/09452 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 16/16

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.

Spring 2018: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/28477 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Hl-2 Heyman Center For Humanities
Conrad Schirokauer 4 24/24
AHUM 1400 002/15398 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
602 Lewisohn Hall
Itsuki Hayashi 4 27/24
AHUM 1400 003/23384 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Michael Como 4 21/22
Fall 2018: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/19259 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Itsuki Hayashi 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 002/05400 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Jue Guo 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 003/75134 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
David Moerman 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 005/24297 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 006/64054 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Conrad Schirokauer 4 23/24

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
3 25/25
AHMM 3321 002/64782 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
Eben Graves 3 25/25

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
Room TBA
Mahmood Mamdani 4 35/90

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
Room TBA
Mamadou Diouf 4 30/30