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

Other officers of the University offering courses listed below:

Shincho Professor Emeritus: Donald Keene

Professors: Muhsin Al-Musawi (Arabic Studies), Gil Anidjar (Religion), Charles Armstrong (History), Partha Chatterjee (Anthropology), Myron Cohen (Anthropology), Hamid Dabashi (Iranian), Vidya Dehejia (Art History), Mamadou Diouf (MESAAS CHAIR, African Studies), Bernard Faure (Japanese Religion), Carol N. Gluck (History), Wael Hallaq (Humanities), Robert E. Harrist Jr. (Art History), John S. Hawley (Religion), Gil Hochberg Hebrew), Theodore Hughes (Korean Humanities), Robert P.W. Hymes (Chinese History), Sudipta Kaviraj (Indian Politics), Rashid Khalidi (Modern Arab Studies), Dorothy Ko (History), Feng Li (Early Chinese History & Archaeology), Lydia Liu (Humanities), Mahmood Mamdani (Anthropology), Joseph Massad (Arab Politics), Matthew McKelway (Art History), Brinkley M. Messick (Anthropology), Timothy Mitchell (ME, SA, & African Studies), Sheldon Pollock (South Asian Studies),  Jonathan M. Reynolds (Art History), Wei Shang (Chinese Culture), Haruo Shirane (EALAC CHAIR, Japanese Lit.), Michael Stanislawski (History), Tomi Suzuki (Japanese Lit.), Robert A.F. Thurman (Religion), Gray Tuttle (Modern Tibetan), Gauri Vishwanathan (English and Comparative Literature), Pei-yi Wu (Senior Scholars Program), Marc Van De Mieroop (History), Syed Akbar Zaidi (Intr'l & Public Affairs), Madeleine Zelin (Chinese Studies)

Associate Professors: Alison Busch (Hindi South Asian Lit.), Michael Como (Religion), Aaron Andrew Fox (Music), Najam Haider (Religion), Eugenia Lean (Chinese Modern History), David Lurie (Japanese Hist.&Lit.), Gregory Pflugfelder (History- East Asia), Anupama Rao (History), Jennifer Wenzel (English & MESAAS)

Assistant Professors: Manan Ahmad (History), Sarah R. bin Tyeer (Arabic Literature), Harrison Huang (Chinese Lit.), Mana Kia (Indo-Persian Studies), Jungwon Kim (Korean Studies), Seong Uk Kin (Korean Cult.&Reli.), Paul Kreitman (Japanese History), Debashree Mukherjee (Modern South Asian), John Phan (Vietnamese), Ying Qian (Chinese Cinema), Takuya Tsunoda (Japanese Film&Media), Elaine van Dalen (Islamic Studies), Zhaohua Yang (Religion), Elleni Centine Zeleke (African Studies)

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

CSER UN3905 Asian Americans and the Psychology of Race. 4 points.

This seminar provides an introduction to mental health issues for Asian Americans.  In particular, it focuses on the psychology of Asian Americans as racial/ethnic minorities in the United States by exploring a number of key concepts: immigration, racialization, prejudice, family, identity, pathology, and loss.  We will examine the development of identity in relation to self, family, college, and society.  Quantitative investigation, qualitative research, psychology theories of multiculturalism, and Asian American literature will also be integrated into the course.

Fall 2019: CSER UN3905
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3905 001/57885 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Shinhee Han 4 21/22

CSER UN3922 Race and Representation in Asian American Cinema. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 22.

This seminar focuses on the critical analysis of Asian representation and participation in Hollywood by taking a look at how mainstream American cinema continues to essentialize the Asian and how Asian American filmmakers have responded to Hollywood Orientalist stereotypes. We will analyze various issues confronting the Asian American, including yellowface, white patriarchy, male and female stereotypes, the “model minority” myth, depictions of “Chinatowns,” panethnicity, the changing political interpretations of the term "Asian American" throughout American history, gender and sexuality, and cultural hegemonies and privileging within the Asian community.

Fall 2019: CSER UN3922
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3922 001/57871 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Eric Gamalinda 4 22/22

CSER UN3923 Latina/o and Asian American Memoir. 4 points.

In this class, we will explore Latino and Asian American memoir, focusing on themes of immigration and duality. How do we construct identity and homeland when we are ‘multiple’? How do we define ourselves and how do others define us? By reading some of the most challenging and exciting memoirs by Latino and Asian Americans, we will attempt to answer these questions and/or at least try to understand these transnational and multicultural experiences. This class combines the critical with the creative—students have to read and critic memoirs as well as write a final 10-page nonfiction creative writing piece. Students will also have the opportunity to speak to some Latino and Asian authors in class or via SKYPE. Students will be asked to prepare questions in advance for the author, whose work(s) we will have read and discussed. This usually arises interesting and thought-provoking conversations and debates. This 'Dialogue Series' within the class exposes students to a wide-range of voices and offers them a deeper understanding of the complexity of duality.

Fall 2019: CSER UN3923
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3923 001/57889 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Nathalie Handal 4 22/22

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 2019: EAAS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3999 001/44404 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
1 12/25

CPLS GU4111 World Philology. 4 points.

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

Philology, broadly defined as the practice of making sense of texts, is a fundamental human activity that has been repeatedly institutionalized in widely separated places and times. In the wake of the formation of the modern academic disciplines in the nineteenth century and their global spread, it became difficult to understand the power and glory of older western philology, and its striking parallels with other pre- and early modern forms of scholarship around the globe. This class seeks to create a new comparative framework for understanding how earlier generations made sense of the texts that they valued, and how their practices provide still-vital models for us at a time of upheaval in the format and media of texts and in our scholarly approaches to them. Students will encounter key fields of philology—textual criticism, lexicography, grammar, and, above all, commentary—not in the abstract but as instantiated in relation to four foundational works—the Confucian Analects, the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, the Aeneid, and the Tale of Genji—and the scholarly traditions that grew up around them. We are never alone when we grapple with the basic question of how to read texts whose meaning is unclear to us. Over the course of the semester, this class will foster a global understanding of the deep roots and strange parallels linking contemporary reading and interpretation to the practices of the past.

Fall 2019: CPLS GU4111
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CPLS 4111 001/58853 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
David Lurie 4 22/20

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 2019: HIST UN2580
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2580 001/36486 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 84/110

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
Fall 2019: EAAS UN3322
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3322 001/44532 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Ying Qian 4 50/50

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 2019: EAAS UN3844
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3844 001/07113 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Nicholas Bartlett 3 98/90

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
Fall 2019: EAAS UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3990 001/44521 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Feng Li 4 21/25

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.

Spring 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/68821 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Robert Hymes 4 54/90
Fall 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/44383 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Ulug Kuzuoglu 4 85/90

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

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
Fall 2019: CHNS GU4019
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CHNS 4019 001/44401 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Zhirong Wang 3 6/12

HSEA GU4222 China's Global Histories: People, Space, and Power. 4 points.

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

This seminar asks what Chinese history tells us about global history and vice versa. Taking a long-term and multiregional approach, it invites you to develop your own answers to this question from perspectives such as trade and economy, migration and immigration, empire and imperialism, war, religion, science, gender, ideology, and modern state- and nation-building, and contemporary international relations. We will not only challenge Eurocentric and Sinocentric methodologies, but push toward new conceptual vocabularies that aspire to the genuinely global.

EAAS GU4226 Gender, Class and Real Estate in Urbanizing China. 4 points.

This is a seminar for advanced undergraduates and master’s degree students, which explores the socioeconomic consequences of China’s development of a boom, urban residential real-estate market since the privatization of housing at the end of the 1990s. We will use the intersecting lenses of gender/sexuality, class and race/ethnicity to analyze the dramatic new inequalities created in arguably the largest and fastest accumulation of residential-real estate wealth in history. We will examine topics such as how skyrocketing home prices and state-led urbanization have created winners and losers based on gender, sexuality, class, race/ethnicity and location (hukou), as China strives to transform from a predominantly rural population to one that is 60 percent urban by 2020. We explore the vastly divergent effects of urban real-estate development on Chinese citizens, from the most marginaliz4d communities in remote regions of Tibet and Xinjiang to hyper-wealthy investors in Manhattan. Although this course has no formal prerequisites, it assumes some basic knowledge of Chinese history. If you have never taken a course on China before, please ask me for guidance on whether or not this class is suitable for you. The syllabus is preliminary and subject to change based on breaking news events and the needs of the class.

Fall 2019: EAAS GU4226
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4226 001/44524 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Leta Hong Fincher 4 14/25

RELI GU4617 Image Theories in Chinese Religions. 4 points.

What does “image” mean in Chinese intellectual traditions? How did proponents of different religious persuasions construe the relationship between images and their referents differently and how did such construal change over time? Why did the practice of fashioning images often give rise to controversies in Chinese history? What makes images the object of adoration as well as destruction? Throughout the course, we will tackle these questions from diverse perspectives. The first half of the course examines a variety of accounts from Chinese indigenous classics and treatises. The second half looks at how discourses of the image further diversified after the arrival of Buddhism in China. 

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 2019: HSEA GU4880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4880 001/44472 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Madeleine Zelin 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 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.

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 70/90
Fall 2019: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/44438 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
David Lurie 4 99/90

AHIS UN2601 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 2019: AHIS UN2601
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2601 001/07028 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Jonathan Reynolds 3 86

EAAS UN3338 Cultural History of Japanese Monsters. 3 points.

Priority is given to EALAC and History majors, as well as to those who have done previous coursework on Japan.

From Godzilla to Pokemon (literally, "pocket monster") toys, Japanese monsters have become a staple commodity of late-capitalist global pop culture. This course seeks to place this phenomenon within a longer historical, as well as a broader cross-cultural, context. Through an examination of texts and images spanning over thirteen centuries of Japanese history, along with comparable productions from other cultures, students will gain an understanding not only of different conceptions and representations of monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures in Japan, but also of the role of the "monstrous" in the cultural imagination more generally. The course draws on various media and genres of representation, ranging from written works, both literary and scholarly, to the visual arts, material culture, drama, and cinema. Readings average 100-150 pages per week. Several film and video screenings are scheduled in addition to the regular class meetings. Seating is limited, with final admission based on a written essay and other information to be submitted to the instructor before the beginning of the semester.

Fall 2019: EAAS UN3338
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3338 001/44511 T Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Gregory Pflugfelder 3 10/13

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 2019: EAAS UN3343
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3343 001/44369 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Takuya Tsunoda 4 30/30

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
Room TBA
Gregory Pflugfelder 3 11/18
Fall 2019: HSEA UN3871
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3871 001/44516 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Gregory Pflugfelder 3 14/18

EAAS GU4123 Japanese Documentary Films. 4 points.

This course investigates the theories and practices of documentary film in Japan. Spanning from the 1920s to the present, we will engage in rigorous examination of the transformations of cinematic forms and contents, and of the social, cultural, and political elements bound up with those transformations. We will also juxtapose aspects of Japanese documentary film with global movements, and wider theories of documentary and non-fiction.

HSEA GU4875 Japanese Imperialism in East Asia. 4 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Fall 2019: HSEA GU4875
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4875 001/13421 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
James Gerien-Chen 4 3/22

East Asian, Korea

EARL GU4324 Religion and Politics in Korea. 4 points.

This course explores diverse aspects of the interactions between religion and politics in modern, pre-modern, and contemporary Korea. It focuses on how Korean religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and new religions have influenced and been influenced by politics, thereby leading to the mutual transformation of the two major social phenomena.

Fall 2019: EARL GU4324
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4324 001/44523 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Seong-Uk Kim 4 9/15

East Asian, Tibet

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 2019: ASCE UN1365
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1365 001/44512 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Patrick Booz 4 83/90

HSEA GU4814 Space and Place in Urbanizing Tibet: Indigenous Experiences in China. 4 points.

This course engages with approaches from anthropology, geography, and indigenous studies to analyze contemporary urban transitions on the Tibetan plateau.

HSEA GU4815 Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism. 4 points.

Religious claims to political power are a global phenomenon, and Tibetan Buddhism once offered a divine means to power and legitimacy to rule. This class will explore the intersection of politics, religion, and art in Tibetan Buddhism--the force of religion to claim political power. Images were one of the primary means of political propagation, integral to magical tantric rites, and embodiments of power.


East Asian, Vietnam

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 2019: ASCE UN1367
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1367 001/44384 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 60/60

South Asian

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 4 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. Discussion section is required.

Fall 2019: ASCM UN2357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2357 001/07120 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Rachel McDermott 4 23/80

MDES UN3046 Religion in Modern South Asia: Concepts and Histories. 3 points.

Instead of taking our understanding of ‘religion’ for granted, this course explores precisely that concept and its history. It asks: is religion a universal category that has remained unchanged across time periods and in all societies? Are the relations between various ‘religions’ equal? How do debates around the question of religion inform other categories in our social life - race, gender, community history? Mainstream Western theories tend to focus on faith, scriptures, holy texts and rituals as universal components of all religions. However, a body of critical scholarship, demonstrates how the various orientalist and colonial encounters between the west and the non-west produces ‘religion’ as a universal, constant which can be found in all societies. This course will explore both the mainstream and the critical scholarship on religion, as well as examine what role this critical re-formulation of religion plays in questions of race, gender, caste, culture, secularism and history-writing in South Asia.  

MDES UN3445 Societies & Cultures Across the Indian Ocean. 3 points.

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

The course is designed to introduce the Indian Ocean as a region linking the Middle East, East Africa, South and Southeast Asia. With a focus on both continuities and rupture from the medieval to the modern period, we study select cultures and societies brought into contact through interregional migration and travel from the 10th to 20th centuries. Different types of people - nobles, merchants, soldiers, statesmen, sailors, scholars, slaves - experienced mobility in different ways. How did different groups of people represent such mobilities? What kinds of cooperation, accommodation or conflict did different Indian Ocean encounters engender? Using an array of different primary sources, we look at particular case studies and their broader social and cultural contexts.

Fall 2019: MDES UN3445
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3445 001/41261 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Mana Kia 3 4/30

MDES UN3644 Visual Cultures of Modern South Asia. 3 points.

This lecture course introduces students to the power and meaning of popular visual cultures of South Asia. Visual culture is a crucial arena for the enactment of social transformations and the creation of collective imaginaries. We will track such varied modern media types as calendar art, photography, film, architecture, clothing, and religious festivals, loosely following key chronological signposts in the shared histories of the subcontinent. Together, we will practice a new way of understanding history and society – a visual way that will make us aware of the diversity of hopes, fears, and dreams that comprise South Asia. Designed for students with a basic understanding of South Asian history, the course aims to familiarize you with key methodological approaches in visual culture studies and current debates in South Asian art history and media theory.

Fall 2019: MDES UN3644
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3644 001/10371 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Debashree Mukherjee 3 5/30

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

Middle Eastern

HIST UN1002 Ancient History of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. 4 points.

A survey of the political and cultural history of Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Iran from prehistory to the disappearance of the cuneiform documentation, with special emphasis on Mesopotamia. Groups(s): A

Fall 2019: HIST UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 1002 001/36479 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Marc Van De Mieroop 4 27/75

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.

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 21/25
Fall 2019: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/41146 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Elaine van Dalen 4 19/20
AHUM 1399 002/00108 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 18/20
AHUM 1399 003/00109 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 18/20

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 2019: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/41147 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Matthew Keegan 4 51/90

MDES UN2650 Gandhi and His Interlocutors. 4 points.

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

Gandhi is in two senses an extraordinary figure: he was the most important leader of anti-imperialist movements in the twentieth century; yet, his ideas about modernity, the state, the industrial economy, technology, humanity’s place in nature, the presence of God – were all highly idiosyncratic, sometimes at odds with the main trends of modern civilization. How did a man with such views come to have such an immense effect on history? In some ways, Gandhi is an excellent entry into the complex history of modern India – its contradictions, achievements, failures, possibilities. This course will be primarily a course on social theory, focusing on texts and discursive exchanges between various perceptions of modernity in India. It will have two parts: the first part will be based on reading Gandhi’s own writings; the second, on the writings of his main interlocutors. It is hoped that through these exchanges students will get a vivid picture of the intellectual ferment in modern India, and the main lines of social and political thought that define its intellectual culture. The study in this course can be followed up by taking related courses in Indian political thought, or Indian politics or modern history. This course may not be taken as Pass/D/Fail.

Fall 2019: MDES UN2650
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2650 001/10367 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Sudipta Kaviraj 4 4/60

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 2019: HIST UN2719
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2719 001/36492 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Rashid Khalidi 4 240/220

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 2019: MDES UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3000 001/41191 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Gil Hochberg 4 39/80

MDES UN3046 Religion in Modern South Asia: Concepts and Histories. 3 points.

Instead of taking our understanding of ‘religion’ for granted, this course explores precisely that concept and its history. It asks: is religion a universal category that has remained unchanged across time periods and in all societies? Are the relations between various ‘religions’ equal? How do debates around the question of religion inform other categories in our social life - race, gender, community history? Mainstream Western theories tend to focus on faith, scriptures, holy texts and rituals as universal components of all religions. However, a body of critical scholarship, demonstrates how the various orientalist and colonial encounters between the west and the non-west produces ‘religion’ as a universal, constant which can be found in all societies. This course will explore both the mainstream and the critical scholarship on religion, as well as examine what role this critical re-formulation of religion plays in questions of race, gender, caste, culture, secularism and history-writing in South Asia.  

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 2019: MDES UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3920 001/41198 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Joseph Massad 3 18/24

MDES UN3923 Central Questions in Islamic Law. 3 points.

Through detailed discussions of certain landmarks in Islamic legal history (e.g., origins; early formation; sources of law; intellectual make-up; the workings of court; legal change; women in the law; legal effects of colonialism; modernity and legal reform, etc.), the course aims at providing an introductory but integrated view of Islamic law, a definition, so to speak, of what it was/is. Please note, this course must be taken for a letter grade.

Fall 2019: MDES UN3923
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3923 001/10230 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Wael Hallaq 3 14/20

HIST UN3930 The Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age. 4 points.

This course presents a comparative study of the histories of Egypt, the Near East, Anatolia and the Aegean world in the period from c. 1500-1100 BC, when several of the states provide a rich set of textual and archaeological data. It will focus on the region as a system with numerous participants whose histories will be studied in an international context. The course is a seminar: students are asked to investigate a topic (e.g., diplomacy, kingship, aspects of the economy, etc.) in several of the states involved and present their research in class and as a paper.

Fall 2019: HIST UN3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 3930 001/36502 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Marc Van De Mieroop 4 4/15

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 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
Fall 2019: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/41129 T 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Timothy Mitchell 4 5/20

CLME GU4241 Sufism: Primary Texts and Contexts. 4 points.

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

This course studies Sufism as it has emerged, developed, and assumed its presence in Sufi autobiographies and religious and literary writings. The Sufi Path is traced in these writings that include poems like ibn al-Farid’s Poem of the Way. Sufi States and Stations are analyzed to understand this Path that reaches its culmination in an ecstatic sense of Oneness. Sufism is also a social and political phenomenon that unsettles formal theologies and involves Sufis in controversies that often end with their imprisonment and death.

Fall 2019: CLME GU4241
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 4241 001/10148 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4 12/20

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. 

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 19/25

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.

Spring 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/68821 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Robert Hymes 4 54/90
Fall 2019: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/44383 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Ulug Kuzuoglu 4 85/90

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.

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 70/90
Fall 2019: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/44438 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
David Lurie 4 99/90

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 51/60

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 2019: ASCE UN1365
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1365 001/44512 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Patrick Booz 4 83/90

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 2019: ASCE UN1367
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1367 001/44384 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 60/60

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 2019: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/41147 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Matthew Keegan 4 51/90

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 63/90

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 4 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. Discussion section is required.

Fall 2019: ASCM UN2357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2357 001/07120 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Rachel McDermott 4 23/80

Asian Art Humanities

AHIS UN2601 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 2019: AHIS UN2601
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2601 001/07028 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Jonathan Reynolds 3 86

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.

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 22/22
AHUM 2604 003/14449 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 23/22
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/99178 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 22/22

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.

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
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/99094 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 62/67

AHIS UN3611 Korean Art in the Age of Global Encounters. 4 points.

This seminar explores the artistic developments in Korea with a focus on its encounter with the arts of China, Japan, and Europe from the fifteenth century to the present. Each class examines case studies the works of a particular artist—to examine the way in which Korean artists developed their distinctive style and established the aesthetic values in response to specific historical junctures. There will be two field trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.

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.

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 21/25
Fall 2019: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/41146 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Elaine van Dalen 4 19/20
AHUM 1399 002/00108 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 18/20
AHUM 1399 003/00109 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Nathanael Shelley 4 18/20

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 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 19/22
AHUM 1400 002/68388 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Michael Como 4 18/22
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 20/22
Fall 2019: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/44432 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Seong-Uk Kim 4 21/22
AHUM 1400 002/07112 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Jue Guo 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 003/44433 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 22/22
AHUM 1400 004/10216 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
4 15/20

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.

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 22/22
AHUM 2604 003/14449 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 23/22
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 002/99178 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Daria Melnikova 3 22/22

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.

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
Fall 2019: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/99094 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Vidya Dehejia 4 62/67

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 24/25
AHMM 3320 003/12049 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Jesse Chevan 3 26/25

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 2019: AHMM UN3321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHMM 3321 001/99508 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
620 Dodge Building
3 23/25
AHMM 3321 002/99507 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
3 22/25
AHMM 3321 003/99506 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
622 Dodge Building
3 21/25

MUSI UN3343 Shades of Brown: Music in the South Asian Diaspora . 3 points.

This course explores the musical world of the South Asian diaspora in Europe and North America. We will read ethnographic accounts of diasporic musics and experiences and develop methods for analysis and interpretation of such accounts, situating the songs of the South Asian diaspora within its broader social history. We will address the concepts of belonging and identity, nostalgia and affect, and the dismantling or upholding of dominant discourses such as gender, race, and caste. Our focus will be on the last half century, although deeper histories will need to be considered. Students will learn to analyze instrumentation and lyrics in various genres and traditions of South Asian music, including both art, folkloric, and popular idioms, and to correlate these with aspects of the social context of diaspora. While the specific focus of the course is on a particular diasporic history, the class will help students understand and think critically about the broader phenomenon of “diaspora” and its cultural dimensions, and through this to engage critically with important aspects of cultural globalization and migration.  


Students from all departments are welcome. Reading music not required.

African History

HIST UN2772 West African History. 3 points.

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

This course offers a survey of main themes in West African history over the last millenium, with particular emphasis on the period from the mid-15th through the 20th century. Themes include the age of West African empires (Ghana, Mali, Songhay); re-alignments of economic and political energies towards the Atlantic coast; the rise and decline of the trans-Atlantic trade in slaves; the advent and demise of colonial rule; and internal displacement, migrations, and revolutions. In the latter part of the course, we will appraise the continuities and ruptures of the colonial and post-colonial eras. Group(s): C Field(s): AFR 

Fall 2019: HIST UN2772
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2772 001/36494 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Gregory Mann 3 48/75

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 2019: HSME UN2915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSME 2915 001/41063 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Mamadou Diouf 4 10/30

HIST BC3776 Mapping the Ekopolitan Project: A Spatial Approach to Pan-African Circulations. 4 points.

*In this course, we will be studying African migrations to Africa, and within the continent, in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will be reading scholarly works on spatial history, African migrations, and ‘Back-to-Africa’ movements.


*We will also be analyzing primary sources on African migrations, which shall form the bases of a series of digital scholarship workshops.  These workshops will cover mapping with ArcGIS, translating qualitative knowledge into quantitative data, and effective digital storytelling.