Barnard Faculty:

Professor and Chair: David "Max" Moerman

Professor: Rachel McDermott
Assistant Professors: Nicholas Bartlett (on leave for the year 2021-22),  Matthew L. Keegan (on leave for the year 2022-23)
Associate Professor of Professional Practice: Hisham Matar (Spring only)
Term Assistant Professors: Nathanael Shelley

Other officers of the University offering courses listed below:

Professors: Muhsin Al-Musawi (Arabic Studies/MESAAS), Gil Anidjar (Religion/MESAAS), Partha Chatterjee (Emeritus/Anthropology/MESAAS), Myron Cohen (Anthropology), Hamid Dabashi (MESAAS--DUS), Vidya Dehejia (Art History), Mamadou Diouf (African Studies/MESAAS), Laura Fair (MESAAS), Bernard Faure (EALAC & Religion--on leave Fall 2022), Carol N. Gluck (History), Najam Haider (Religion), Wael Hallaq (MESAAS), Robert E. Harrist Jr. (Art History), John S. Hawley (Religion), Gil Hochberg (MESAAS, CHAIR), Theodore Hughes (EALAC), Robert P.W. Hymes (EALAC), Sudipta Kaviraj (MESAAS), Rashid Khalidi (MESSAS/History), Dorothy Ko (History), Eugenia Lean (EALAC), Feng Li (EALAC), Lydia Liu (EALAC--on leave Fall 2022), Lening Liu (EALAC), Mahmood Mamdani (Anthropology/MESAAS), Joseph Massad (MESAAS), Matthew McKelway (Art History), Brinkley M. Messick (Anthropology/MESAAS), Timothy Mitchell (MESAAS), Sheldon Pollock (MESAAS--Emeritus), Anupama Rao (History/MESAAS), Jonathan M. Reynolds (Art History), Wei Shang (EALAC--CHAIR), Haruo Shirane (EALAC-- Vice-Chair--on leave Fall 2022), Michael Stanislawski (History), Tomi Suzuki (EALAC--on leave Fall 2022), Gray Tuttle (EALAC), Gauri Viswanathan (English & CompLit),  Marc Van De Mieroop (History), Jennifer Wenzel (English & MESAAS), Madeleine Zelin (EALAC)

Associate Professors: Manan Ahmad (History), Michael Como (EALAC and Religion), Aaron Andrew Fox (Music), Mana Kia (MESAAS), David Lurie (EALAC.), Debashree Mukherjee (MESAAS), Lien-Hang Nguyen (EALAC and History--on leave Fall 2022), Gregory Pflugfelder (EALAC), Alison Vacca (MESAAS)

Assistant Professors: Sarah R. bin Tyeer (MESAAS), Isabel Huacuja Alonso (MESAAS), Jungwon Kim (EALAC--DUS), Seong Uk Kim (EALAC), Lu Kou (EALAC), Paul Kreitman (EALAC), John Phan (EALAC), Ying Qian (EALAC--on leave Fall 2022), Takuya Tsunoda (EALAC--on leave Fall 2022), Elaine van Dalen (MESAAS), Zhaohua Yang (Religion and EALAC), Elleni Centime Zeleke (MESAAS)

Requirements for the Major

You need a total of 45 points, minimum, across all three tracks of our major.  Note that most students, especially if you are not already at an advanced level of language study, will need to take far more courses, and hence points.

6 points for two language classes
4 points for Asian Humanities
8 points for two Civilization classes
4 points for a required theory course
5 x 3 point courses = 15 points for five courses in the major
8 points total for the thesis

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 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 - CHNS UN3004 THIRD YEAR CHINESE II 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 INTRO EAST ASIAN CIV: JPN
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 UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East: ASCM UN2008 CONTEMP 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, Bengali, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Turkish, or Urdu 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

MDES UN1001 CRITICAL THEORY: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. 4.00 points.

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

The purpose of this foundational course is to introduce Columbia undergraduate students, in the context of their Global Core curriculum, to the seminal field of critical theory. The historical domain of this course is within the last century and its geographical spectrum is global. European critical thinkers are included in this course but not privileged. Thinkers from Asia, Africa, Europe, North, South, and Latin America, are examined here in chronological order and in equal democratic footing with each other. This course as a result is decidedly cross-cultural, one step forward towards de-alienating critical thinkers from around the globe and the issues they address without pigeonholing them as something “other” or “different.” The course is designed and offered in the true spirit of the “Global Core.” The purpose of the course is to reach for the common denominator of serious critical thinking about the fate of our humanity and the health of our social relations in an increasingly fragile world—where the false binaries of “the West” and “the Rest” no longer hold. The roster of critical thinkers we will examine is by no means exhaustive but representative. Any number of other critical thinkers can be added to this roster but none of those we will examine can be excluded from them. The course is divided into thirteen successive weeks and for each week a number of seminal, original, and groundbreaking texts are identified. Each week we will examine selected passages from these texts. The course is designed as a lecture course, and my lectures are based on the totality of these texts but students will be assigned specific shorter passages to read

MDES UN1002 CRITICAL THEORY:G.P.-DISC. 0.00 points.

Corequisites: MDES UN1001. Discussion sections (TWO) to accompany the course MDES UN1001, Critical Theory: A Global Perspective

MDES UN3000 Theory and Culture. 4 points.

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

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. 

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.

CSER UN3922 Asian American Cinema. 4 points.

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

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.

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.

East Asian, General and Comparative

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

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

V3399 and V3400 form a sequence but either may be taken separately. V3399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with Asian Humanities V3830. Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese origin, including (V3399) the Quran, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras, Indian epics and drama, Gandhi's Autobiography; (V3400) the Analects of Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Lotus Sutra, Dream of the Red Chamber, Tale of Genji, Zen literature, Noh plays, bunraku (puppet) plays, Chinese and Japanese poetry.

RELI UN2308 Buddhism: East Asian. 4 points.

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

Lecture and discussion. An introductory survey that studies East Asian Buddhism as an integral , living religious tradition. Emphasis on the reading of original treatises and historiographies in translation, while historical events are discussed in terms of their relevance to contemporary problems confronted by Buddhism.  There is a mandatory weekly discussion session.

RELI UN2309 Hinduism. 3 points.

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

Considers efforts since 1900 to synthesize a coherent understanding of what "Hinduism" entails, sometimes under the heading of sanatana dharma. Using a rubric provided by the Bhagavad Gita, explores philosophical/theological (jnana), ritual (karma), and devotional (bhakti) aspects of Hindu life and thought.

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. 

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.

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

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

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.

EAAS UN3844 CULTURE, MENTAL HEALTH, AND HEALING IN EAST ASIA. 4.00 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

HIST UN3866 WARS OF INDOCHINA. 3.00 points.

Saigon and Hanoi served as competing capitals of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) in the south and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) in the north (1954-1975). They were symbols of warring states, one home to a fledgling republic, the other the seat of communist power. Since the late 19th century, they have also been sites of Vietnam’s most dramatic transformations. As such, they occupy an important place in the historiography of modern Vietnam, not least in ongoing debates over the Indochina wars, Vietnamese nationalism, and regional difference. This course examines Saigon and Hanoi as social, political, and cultural spaces, and as representations of their respective states during the war. We first consider the significance of regionalism in fashioning “new ways of being Vietnamese” and examine how colonial rule reinforced those distinctions. We devote the rest of the semester to reading an array of works on the history of these cities. For the colonial period, we examine colonial urbanism, the lives of the poor, intellectuals and their ideas, as well as currents of political agitation and cultural iconoclasm. For the post-World War II period, we will focus on the distinct political cultures that took shape in the RVN and DRV. Finally, we end by looking at Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi in the post-war era, particularly after the Socialist Republic of Vietnam instituted sweeping economic reforms in the 1980s. Each week, we will discuss works social, cultural, and political history of Saigon and Hanoi, all the while keeping in mind their divergent trajectories in the three decades following World War II

HSEA UN3898 The Mongols in History. 3 points.

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

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

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.

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.

EARL GU4023 Women in Buddhism. 4.00 points.

This course examines a broad array of topics related to the nature of women in Buddhism, both as presented in historical and religious texts as well as in the lives of female Buddhist practitioners. Our aim will be to consider these rules and traditions within the context of their creation as well as their subsequent use. We will also look to the words and examples of women Buddhist practitioners directly, including in modern Western Buddhism

HSEA GU4110 Histories of Science & Technology in East Asia. 4 points.

This course explores the life of scientific and technological artifacts in East Asia. We will examine everyday objects alongside core literature from Science and Technology and Society (STS) studies to raise new historical questions and methodological approaches. From clocks to paper, from pregnancy to immortality, we will take on a close reading of objects and ideas by directly engaging with the circumstances under which they were made.

EARL GU4120 Chan/Zen Buddhism. 4 points.

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

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

HSEA GU4220 ISLAM IN CHINA AND INNER ASIA. 4.00 points.

This seminar surveys the history of Islam, both in the Chinese interior and neighboring Inner Asia (primarily Xinjiang), from its arrival to the present day. Beginning with the first legendary accounts of migration from the Middle East to China, we trace the growth of an identifiable Muslimcommunity in the age of the Mongol empire, then look at Ming China’s interactions with the Islamic world, the Qing expansion into Inner Asia, and conclude by discussing modernist and nationalist trends of the twentieth-century

RELI GU4307 BUDDHISM & DAOISM IN CHINA. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: one course on Buddhism or Chinese religious traditions is recommended, but not required, as background.
In recent decades, the study of the so-called “Buddho-Daoism” has become a burgeoning field that breaks down the traditional boundary lines drawn between the two Chinese religious traditions. In this course we will read secondary scholarship in English that probes the complex relationships between Buddhism and Daoism in the past two millennia. Students are required not only to be aware of the tensions and complementarity between them, but to be alert to the nature of claims to either religious purity or mixing and the ways those claims were put forward under specific religio-historical circumstances. The course is organized thematically rather than chronologically. We will address topics on terminology, doctrine, cosmology, eschatology, soteriology, exorcism, scriptural productions, ritual performance, miracle tales and visual representations that arose in the interactions of the two religions, with particular attention paid to critiquing terms such as “influence,” “encounter,” “dialogue,” “hybridity,” “syncretism,” and “repertoire.” The course is designed for both advanced undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of East Asian religion, literature, history, art history, sociology and anthropology. One course on Buddhism or Chinese religious traditions is recommended, but not required, as background

EAAS GU4445 Proletarian Asia - working-class culture from 1930s to present. 4.00 points.

From Bong Joon-ho’s runaway success Parasite, to manga adaptations of Kobayashi Takiji’s novel The Crab Cannery Ship, to the proliferation of Chinese migrant worker poetry, recent developments in the cultural landscape of East Asia have seen a renewed concern with the plight of workers and other sections of the oppressed under conditions of late capitalism. This course offers students the opportunity to situate these developments within an extended historical trajectory as the basis on which to think about the relation of radical histories to our present and possible future. It does so by integrating contemporary cultural texts with earlier cultural experiments that arose amidst the political turbulence of the 1930s across a range of locations in East Asia

RELI GU4513 Buddhism and Neuroscience. 4 points.

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

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

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

RELI GU4535 Ancient Jewish Texts. 4 points.

May be repeated.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

Close reading in the original languages of ancient Jewish texts including Aristeas, 1 and 2 Maccabees, selections from Philo and Josephus, selected tractates from Mishnah, Tosefta, Palestinian Talmud and early midrash collections.

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.

MDES GU4627 Significant Others. 4.00 points.

What is the relationship between homoeroticism and homosociality? How does this relationship form conceptions of gender and sexuality in ways that might be historically unfamiliar and culturally or regionally specific? We pursue these questions through the lens of friendship and its relationship to ideas and expressions of desire, love, and loyalty in pre-modern times. We begin by considering the intellectual basis of the modern idea of friendship as a private, personal relationship, and trace it back to earlier times when it was often a public relationship of social and political significance. Some of these relationships were between social equals, while many were unequal forms (like patronage) that could bridge social, political or parochial differences. Thinking through the relationships and possible distinctions between erotic love, romantic love and amity (love between friends), we will draw on scholarly works from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, particularly philosophy, sociology, political theory, literature, history, and art history. We will attend to friendship’s work in constituting, maintaining and challenging various social and political orders in a variety of Asian contexts (West, Central, South and East Asian), with comparative reference to scholarship on European and East Asian contexts. Primary source materials will include philosophy, religious manuals, autobiographies, popular love stories, heroic epics, mystical poetry, mirror for princes, paintings, material objects of exchange, and architectural monuments, largely from Islamic and Asian contexts

ASRL GU4831 Post/socialist Cosmologies in Asia. 4.00 points.

Why have spiritual worlds returned or persisted in post/socialist Asia where people once thought they would disappear? What does religiosity look like in socialist and postsocialist contexts today? According to secularization theorists, religion was destined to fade with the passage of modern progressive time. In Asia and elsewhere, socialist states were known for embracing atheism and curtailing or banishing institutions and practices they deemed religious or superstitious. Yet, engagements with spirited worlds—including those with ghosts and ancestors, spirit mediumship and possession, Buddhism, Daoism, and Abrahamic religions—did not vanish. In this class, we will read social and political theories of communism/socialism, postsocialism, religion, and secularism, alongside contemporary ethnographies of China, Vietnam, Mongolia, and elsewhere, to consider how global communities live out spirited worlds amid post-Cold War geographies

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.

HIST BC2865 Gender and Power in China. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).

This course explores the power dynamics of gender relations in Chinese history and contemporary society. Specifically, we seek to understand how a range of women--rulers, mothers, teachers, workers, prostitutes, and activists--exercised power by utilizing available resources to overcome institutional constraints.

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.

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

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

EAAS UN3310 Social Problems in Contemporary China. 3 points.

In this undergraduate course, we will explore problems in contemporary Chinese society through reading and discussion. We will focus primarily on the market reform period in the People's Republic of China following 1979, examining topics such as social inequality, gender and sexuality, class, ethnicity and religion, urbanization and migration, the environment, the Internet, and population challenges. Since society changes so rapidly in China, I will often assign recent news reports or videos in addition to the formal readings so that we can discuss current events related to course themes. We will adopt a social scientific perspective to think critically about how individual lives in contemporary China are shaped by the social structures around them, as well as how individuals can take action to change their environment. This course has no prerequisites, but some background knowledge of Chinese history or society is helpful. If you have never taken a course on China before, please ask me for guidance. The syllabus is preliminary and subject to change based on the needs of the class.

EAAS UN3313 Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema. 4 points.

What is “cinema” in the Chinese-speaking world, and how have the aesthetics, politics and practice of cinema evolved over time? In what ways has cinema interacted with its sister arts, such as painting, photography, theatre, architecture, and music? And in what capacities has cinema represented and intervened into the social and political worlds of its production and reception?  This course is an introductory course on Chinese-language cinema from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, featuring landmark films from the 1930s to the present, with emphasis on contemporary films produced in the past three decades. We cover major genres such as melodrama, historical epic, comedy, musical, martial arts and documentary films, and study works by film auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chen Kaige, Ann Hui and Jia Zhangke. Besides the questions mentioned above, topics also include cinema’s approaches to history and memory, and its engagement with questions of gender, ethnicity, class and language politics.

EAAS UN3435 Chinese Revolution, Asian Revolution, World Revolution: Revolution and Radicalism in the Long Twentieth Century. 4.00 points.

This course examines the Chinese Revolution as a global event, one that provided new possibilities for understanding the future not only of China, but Asia and the world. In doing so, it refuses any notion of the Chinese Revolution as a merely "Chinese" event and instead marks the ways in which diverse sets of activists and revolutionaries from across Asia not only contributed towards the formation of Chinese revolutionary politics but also responded on their own terms. The Chinese Revolution thereby emerges as a truly global event and one that transformed political imagination. The course focuses largely on the responses and trajectories of Asian revolutionaries, especially from Vietnam and Japan, whose intellectual and political paths intersected with those of Chinese activists. Students can expect to work through the diverse intellectual interventions of pan-Asian diasporic communities in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century, read interwar proletarian fiction from Chinese and Japanese authors, compare Chinese and Vietnamese conceptualizations of "people's war" as an anti-colonial military strategy. They will emerge with a new understanding of the porousness and complexity of basic categories such as China, Asia and revolution

EAAS UN3575 Approaching Cities and Life in Chinese Cultural History. 4.00 points.

Italo Calvino's imagined Marco Polo cautions against commemorating the lived experience of a city, "Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased." How shall we modern students of the past retrieve the ways in which foreign men and women dwelled in everyday practice? This seminar will take you on a tour of some key topoi — as both physical and literary constructs — throughout Chinese history, availing of a selection of textual, visual, and cinematic materials that shape and are shaped by the palimpsests of changing Chinese urban life

HSEA UN3642 Peripheries of the Sinitic World through History. 3.00 points.

This course surveys the southern and western peripheries of the political entities we today call China from the turn of the 1st millennium CE to the early 20th century. It does so primarily through translations of primary sources - travelogues and geographies- up to the 16th century, at which point it turns its attention to recently published monographs of varying breadth that can cover more ground, given the sheer number of available primary sources from that time on. No prerequisites but Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Tibet, China, or Vietnam is recommended

HSEA UN3851 GODS, GHOSTS, AND ANCESTORS: RELIGION IN CHINESE CULTURE AND SOCIETY. 3.00 points.

Examines the social and cultural place of Chinese religions through time, focusing on Chinese ideas of the relation between humans and spirits, and the expression of those ideas in practice. Problems will include the long-term displacement of ancestors by gods in Chinese history; the varying and changing social functions of rituals, and the different views of the same ritual taken by different participants; the growth of religious commerce from early modern times on. Topics will be organized roughly chronologically but the emphasis is on broad change rather than historical coverage

HIST BC3864 Feast/Famine: Food Environment China. 4.00 points.

Food has always been a central concern in Chinese politics, religion, medicine, and culture. This course takes an ecological approach to the provision, preparation, and consumption of food in Chinese history, from the Neolithic times to the post-socialist era today. In examining Chinese approaches to soil fertility, healthy diet, and culinary pleasures, we explore alternative food systems for a more sustainable future

EAAS UN3927 China in the Modern World. 3 points.

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

The rise of China has impacted world politics and economy in significant ways. How did it happen? This course introduces some unique angles of self-understanding as suggested by Chinese writers, intellectuals, and artists who have participated in the making of modern China and provided illuminating and critical analyses of their own culture, history, and the world. Readings cover a wide selection of modern Chinese fiction and poetry, autobiographical writing, photography, documentary film, artworks, and music with emphasis on the interplays of art/literature, history, and politics. Close attention is paid to the role of storytelling, the mediating powers of technology, new forms of visuality and sense experience, and the emergence of critical consciousness in response to global modernity. In the course of the semester, a number of contemporary Chinese artists, filmmakers, and writers are invited to answer students’ questions.   This course draws on cross-disciplinary methods from art history, film studies, anthropology, and history in approaching texts and other works. The goal is to develop critical reading skills and gain in-depth understanding of modern China and its engagement with the modern world beyond the cold war rhetoric. Our topics of discussion include historical rupture, loss and melancholy, exile, freedom, migration, social bonding and identity, capitalism, nationalism, and the world revolution. All works are read in English translation.

EAAS UN3935 The Fantastic in Pre-Modern China: Ghosts, Animals, and Other Worlds. 4 points.

This course concentrates on various strange beings, places, and relationships that are represented in works written in China and are usually categorized as the supernatural by modern readers. Presenting students with a picture different from the rational world, we ask questions: How does the supernatural constitute human experiences? In what sense is the supernatural real to us? How does our view of the supernatural resemble or conflict with views engendered in pre-modern society? The course deals with these questions in hopes of deepening the understanding of the supernatural in contrast to our material reality. It situates the Chinese notion of the supernatural in the Western cultural framework in order to gain new perspectives to understand Chinese culture. All readings are in English.

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

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

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

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.

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

EAAS GU4027 Disability in East Asia and Beyond. 4 points.

“The world isn’t built with a ramp,” writes disabled adventurer Walt Balenovich in his book Travels in a Blue Chair. Neither is the world built with any universal understanding of disability. This course examines what it means to be disabled in both theory and practice, especially in East Asian contexts. We begin by closely examining the concept of “disability” and its various connotations, then look at permutations of disability in Japan, China, and the Koreas before ending with recent, more radical ways of thinking about disability. This interdisciplinary course is framed by feminist approaches to definitions and applications of disability theory, drawing further on literary and technological approaches to representation of minority subjects. Multimedia engagement with issues ranging from guide dogs to nanotechnology will aid in understanding overlaps between, and barriers of, disability on an international scale, while also building a critical toolkit for understanding “able-bodied” assumptions in ourselves.

EAAS GU4031 Introduction to the History of Chinese Literature. 3 points.

An introduction to the major narrative genres, forms, and works from 900 C.E. to the end of the nineteenth century.  Readings in English.

EAAS GU4111 Modern Chinese Poetry in a Global Context. 4.00 points.

In this course, we will take modern Chinese poetry as a crucible in which we can observe the interacting forces of literary history and social change. From diplomats who saw poetry as a medium for cultural translation between China and the world, to revolutionaries who enlisted poetry in the project of social transformation, we will examine the lives and works of some of China’s most prominent poets and ask, what can we learn about modern China from reading their poetry? In addition to poems, the course will include fiction, essays, photographs, and films by both Chinese and non-Chinese artists that place our poets in a broader context; topics of discussion include national identity, revolution, translation, gender, the body, ethnicity, and technology

EAAS GU4217 CHINA ON STAGE. 4.00 points.

This course explores how Chinese identity and society have been staged in theatre productions over the past century. Course content includes play scripts in English translation, videos, photographs, archival materials, and English-language books and articles about Chinese theater

HSEA GU4220 ISLAM IN CHINA AND INNER ASIA. 4.00 points.

This seminar surveys the history of Islam, both in the Chinese interior and neighboring Inner Asia (primarily Xinjiang), from its arrival to the present day. Beginning with the first legendary accounts of migration from the Middle East to China, we trace the growth of an identifiable Muslimcommunity in the age of the Mongol empire, then look at Ming China’s interactions with the Islamic world, the Qing expansion into Inner Asia, and conclude by discussing modernist and nationalist trends of the twentieth-century

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

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

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.

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. 

EAAS GU4244 Chinese Internet Culture. 4 points.

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

EAAS GU4352 The Fantastic World of Knights-Errant in Chinese Literature. 4.00 points.

This course approaches the Chinese knight-errant, often seen in the Kungfu films (most recently Mulan 2020), both as a historical fact and a literary imagination. It provides students with a broad overview of Chinese literature until the twentieth century, to familiarize students with the most prominent literary genres of each time period, from official history to classical poetry, from classical tale to vernacular fiction, from drama to film. Through reading/viewing the knight-errant literature, we will discuss issues including translation and comparative studies, "history" writing and forming, literary genre and media, gender boundary and transgression, national and trans-national

RELI GU4526 Food and Sex in Premodern Chinese Buddhism. 4 points.

This course is an upper-level seminar on appetite and its management, designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Our focus will be on the appetites of food hunger and sexual desire, and how Chinese Buddhist teachings propose to manage these. Food and sex are separate domains of experience, but as the primary objects of bodily appetites, they are analogous. Eating and sex both involve a direct and substantive interaction with the material world that is driven by powerful desires. In Buddhist teachings, these desires are said to bind us to the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra) and to shape the actions (karma), both mental and corporeal, that constitute our moral engagement with the phenomenal world. Hence it is important to know how a Buddhist on the path out of suffering is to manage these activities. What do monastic codes stipulate? What disciplines did lay Buddhists undertake? How are transgressions identified and handled? How do ancient Chinese and Daoist ideas inform the development of Chinese Buddhist attitudes toward sex and diet? How did Chinese Buddhist monastics come to adopt a meatless diet? How do religions use food and sex as tools for determining one's ritual purity (i.e., moral worth)? We will explore these and related topics. Despite the common perception of Buddhism as a world-denying religion focused on transcending bodily needs, Chinese Buddhists (and their Indian or Central Asian counterparts) engaged in numerous body practices with worldly benefit, while at the same time mitigating the dangers of desire through various doctrinal and practical means. This course is an exploration of those means. 

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 GU4625 Socialist China in the Western Gaze (1949-1978). 4.00 points.

This seminar attempts to historicize China’s contemporary cultural diplomacy initiatives by examining the nation’s place in the world from the 1950s to the 1970s. Topics include China’s role in the socialist world of the 1950s and 1960s, global Maoist political movements, socialist China in the imagination of Western intellectuals, Western fascination with Maoist “people’s” science, and controversies over the depiction of China in 1970s European documentary cinema

EAAS GU4730 Science and Technology in Chinese Media Cultures. 4.00 points.

Covering a period from the late 19th century to the present, this class explores how ideas and practices in science and technology have historically entered popular imagination, social organization and political contestation, as they become mediated by various media forms and technologies such as photography, cinema, novels, television, video, internet platforms and data algorithms. In particular, we focus on how science and technology have shaped our understandings of the human body, and impacted on the various bodily experiences, from perception, cognition, to emotion and connection with others in the environment. This class helps students read media artefacts in a historically grounded and conceptually generative way, understanding media artefacts as historically conditioned, yet offering us resources for envisioning the future

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.

HSEA GU4882 History of Modern China I. 3 points.

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

HSEA GU4891 LAW IN CHINESE HISTORY. 4 points.

An introduction to major issues of concern to legal historians as viewed through the lens of Chinese legal history.  Issues covered include civil and criminal law, formal and informal justice, law and the family, law and the economy, the search for law beyond state-made law and legal codes, and the question of rule of law in China.  Chinese codes and course case records and other primary materials in translation will be analyzed to develop a sense of the legal system in theory and in practice.

East Asian, Japan

ASCE UN1361 INTRO EAST ASIAN CIV: JPN. 4.00 points.

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

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

EAAS UN3313 Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema. 4 points.

What is “cinema” in the Chinese-speaking world, and how have the aesthetics, politics and practice of cinema evolved over time? In what ways has cinema interacted with its sister arts, such as painting, photography, theatre, architecture, and music? And in what capacities has cinema represented and intervened into the social and political worlds of its production and reception?  This course is an introductory course on Chinese-language cinema from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, featuring landmark films from the 1930s to the present, with emphasis on contemporary films produced in the past three decades. We cover major genres such as melodrama, historical epic, comedy, musical, martial arts and documentary films, and study works by film auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chen Kaige, Ann Hui and Jia Zhangke. Besides the questions mentioned above, topics also include cinema’s approaches to history and memory, and its engagement with questions of gender, ethnicity, class and language politics.

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.

EAAS UN3343 JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY CINEMA & MEDIA CULTURE. 4.00 points.

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

EAAS UN3575 Approaching Cities and Life in Chinese Cultural History. 4.00 points.

Italo Calvino's imagined Marco Polo cautions against commemorating the lived experience of a city, "Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased." How shall we modern students of the past retrieve the ways in which foreign men and women dwelled in everyday practice? This seminar will take you on a tour of some key topoi — as both physical and literary constructs — throughout Chinese history, availing of a selection of textual, visual, and cinematic materials that shape and are shaped by the palimpsests of changing Chinese urban life

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.

EAAS UN3935 The Fantastic in Pre-Modern China: Ghosts, Animals, and Other Worlds. 4 points.

This course concentrates on various strange beings, places, and relationships that are represented in works written in China and are usually categorized as the supernatural by modern readers. Presenting students with a picture different from the rational world, we ask questions: How does the supernatural constitute human experiences? In what sense is the supernatural real to us? How does our view of the supernatural resemble or conflict with views engendered in pre-modern society? The course deals with these questions in hopes of deepening the understanding of the supernatural in contrast to our material reality. It situates the Chinese notion of the supernatural in the Western cultural framework in order to gain new perspectives to understand Chinese culture. All readings are in English.

ANTH UN3939 ANIME EFFECT: JAPANESE MEDIA. 4.00 points.

Culture, technology, and media in contemporary Japan. Theoretical and ethnographic engagements with forms of mass mediation, including anime, manga, video, and cell-phone novels. Considers larger global economic and political contexts, including post-Fukushima transformations. Prerequisites: the instructor's permission

EARL GU4011 LOTUS SUTRA/E ASIAN BUDDHISM. 4.00 points.

EAAS GU4027 Disability in East Asia and Beyond. 4 points.

“The world isn’t built with a ramp,” writes disabled adventurer Walt Balenovich in his book Travels in a Blue Chair. Neither is the world built with any universal understanding of disability. This course examines what it means to be disabled in both theory and practice, especially in East Asian contexts. We begin by closely examining the concept of “disability” and its various connotations, then look at permutations of disability in Japan, China, and the Koreas before ending with recent, more radical ways of thinking about disability. This interdisciplinary course is framed by feminist approaches to definitions and applications of disability theory, drawing further on literary and technological approaches to representation of minority subjects. Multimedia engagement with issues ranging from guide dogs to nanotechnology will aid in understanding overlaps between, and barriers of, disability on an international scale, while also building a critical toolkit for understanding “able-bodied” assumptions in ourselves.

EAAS GU4031 Introduction to the History of Chinese Literature. 3 points.

An introduction to the major narrative genres, forms, and works from 900 C.E. to the end of the nineteenth century.  Readings in English.

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.

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.

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.

EAAS GU4334 Supernatural in Japanese Culture: Ghosts, Gods, and Animals. 4.00 points.

Covering a period from the 7th century to the present, this class draws on Japanese literature, folklore, painting, performance, and anime, to explore the world of the supernatural, particularly the role of ghosts, gods, demons, animals, and nature. Students are introduced to various strands of popular religion, including Buddhist cosmologies and native beliefs about nature and human life, with special attention to the relationship between the living and the dead, and explore the role of human intermediaries. The course looks at these texts and media in relationship to the local community, gender, social and occupational status, environment (both natural and urban), and historical period, exploring issues of social identity and power

EAAS GU4425 Women, Body, and Borders in Japanese Literature and Culture. 4.00 points.

The aim of this course is to examine the interrelated concepts of body, borders, gender construction, and sexuality as expressed in Japanese literature, religion, and culture from the premodern period to the present. We will use a variety of media including oral literature, narrative fiction, noh play, early modern comic literature, novel, film, and anime

EAAS GU4777 A Thousand-Year Old Romance: Reading The Tale of Genji Across the Ages, Media, and Genres. 4.00 points.

This course presents a synchronous and diachronous exploration of The Tale of Genji, a masterpiece of Japanese literature. During the first half of the course, students will read the entire English translation of the tale, as well as a number of other primary texts from roughly the same time period in order to gain an understanding of the sociohistorical and literary context in which the tale came about, while the second half of the course is devoted to the reception and adaptations of the tale across various media, genres, and time periods, ranging from commentaries, noh plays, traditional paintings and even “fan fiction” to modern novels and manga. The aim of the course is to provide the students with an understanding of The Tale of Genji’s place within the Japanese literary tradition, and the impact it has had and continues to exert on all facets of Japanese culture

EAAS GU4810 WOMEN AND LITERARY CULTURE IN JAPAN. 4.00 points.

Japan has a long tradition of highly sophisticated vernacular literature (poetry, prose fiction, essays and poetic memoirs) by aristocratic court women, particularly from the tenth- and eleventh-century, including The Tale of Genji, often considered the world’s first psychological novel. Writings by women in the early period had a deep impact on subsequent cultural production, and these vernacular writings (as well as the figure of these early women writers) acquired a new, contested significance from the end of the nineteenth century as part of the process of modern nation-building. Gender became a major organizing category in constructing discourse on literature, literary language, and literary modernity, particularly with regard to the novel. This seminar engages in close readings and discussion of selected works from the eleventh-century to twentieth-century Japan with particular attention to the genealogy of women’s writings and changing representations of women, gender, and social relations. Issues include: genre, media, intertextuality, and literary communities; body and sexuality; and in the modern period, the “woman question” and global feminisms as well as authorship and authority. All readings are in English. Original texts will be provided for those who can read in the original

HSEA GU4847 Modern Japan. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

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

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.

East Asian, Korea

ASCE UN1363 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Korea. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).

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

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

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

EAAS UN3215 Korean Literature and Film. 0 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

Corequisites: weekly film screening required.

Traces the history of Korean cinema and literature from 1945 to the present. Particular attention is given to the relationship between visual and literary representations of national division, war, gender, rapid industrialization, authoritarianism, and contemporary consumer culture.

EAAS UN3217 Korean Popular Cinema. 4 points.

This course surveys modern Korean culture and society through Korean popular cinema. Drawing from weekly screenings and readings on critical film and Korean studies, we will explore major topics and defining historical moments in modern Korean history post-1945.

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

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.

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.

HSEA UN3642 Peripheries of the Sinitic World through History. 3.00 points.

This course surveys the southern and western peripheries of the political entities we today call China from the turn of the 1st millennium CE to the early 20th century. It does so primarily through translations of primary sources - travelogues and geographies- up to the 16th century, at which point it turns its attention to recently published monographs of varying breadth that can cover more ground, given the sheer number of available primary sources from that time on. No prerequisites but Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Tibet, China, or Vietnam is recommended

EARL GU4310 Life-Writing in Tibetan Buddhist Literature. 4 points.

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

This course engages the genre of life writing in Tibetan Buddhist culture, addressing the permeable and fluid nature of this important sphere of Tibetan literature. Through Tibetan biographies, hagiographies, and autobiographies, the class will consider questions about how life-writing overlaps with religious doctrine, philosophy, and history. For comparative purposes, we will read life writing from Western (and Japanese or Chinese) authors, for instance accounts of the lives of Christian saints, raising questions about the cultural relativity of what makes up a life's story.

EARL GU4312 Tibetan Sacred Space (in Comparative Context). 4 points.

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

Through interdisciplinary theoretical approaches (mostly in the fields of religion, anthropology, literature, and history), this course engages the genre of writing about sacred space in Tibetan Buddhist culture, addressing the micro (built environment) and macro (natural environment) levels of this important sphere of Tibetan literature. Through Tibetan pilgrimage accounts, place (monasteries, temples, etc) based guidebooks, geographically focused biographies, and pictorial representations of place, the class will consider questions about how place-writing overlaps with religious practice, politics, and history. For comparative purposes, we will read place based writing from Western and other Asian authors, for instance accounts of the guidebooks to and inscriptions at Christian churches, raising questions about the cultural relativity of what makes up sacred space.

EAAS GU4558 Tibetan Science - Medicine, Knowledge, and the State on the Roof of the World. 4.00 points.

This course aims to pose the question of what ‘science’ can be in Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, and to examine these ‘sciences’ in their social, religious, political, transnational, and inter-cultural dimensions. Especially through the field of medicine, it explores the main developments of Tibetan knowledge mostly during the modern era from the 17th century onward, building on both ethnography and primary and secondary written sources. This course pays particular attention to the relation of this knowledge to various states, centralizing institutions, and policies and practices of legitimization, and further to the modernization and globalization of the production, application, and consumption of Tibetan medical knowledge, including during the current Covid-19 pandemic

EAAS GU4565 TIBET IN THE WORLD: CULTURAL PRODUCTION AND SOCIAL CHANGE. 4.00 points.

This course explores the intersection of cultural production with national policies and global economies in the context of Tibet. We will focus not on colonial sources (Mythos Tibet) but on a wide range of representational and expressive practices by contemporary Tibetans in film, literature, music, social media, art, performance, local museums, etc. -- all since the 1990s. Tibetan cultural production today is at once localized and transnational, whether it is the vision and work of artists in the People's Republic of China or the creation of Tibetans living in the diaspora. We will explore the impact of colonialism and socioeconomic marginalization on the de-centering and re-centering of ethnicity and identity in education, publishing, and the arts. How do Tibetan artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, comedians, and other cultural producers negotiate the complexities of modernity, secularization, globalization and political agendas, vis-à-vis incentives to preserve traditions, while engaging creatively? Each week will focus on 2 to 3 primary sources and 1 or 2 related secondary readings. Our discussions of the primary source materials (film screenings, readings, artwork, performances, etc.) will be enriched with readings in Cultural Studies, sociology, and anthropology, and by conversations with area artists

HSEA GU4720 20th Century Tibetan History. 4 points.

    This course is designed for students interested in gaining a broad view of Tibetan history in the 20th century. We will cover the institutional history of major Tibetan state institutions and their rivals in the Tibetan borderlands, as well as the relations with China, Britain, and America. Discussion sessions throughout the semester will focus on important historical issues. Group(s): C

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 GU4813 EARLY TIBETAN HISTORY AND ITS RELATIONS WITH CHINA. 4.00 points.

This course compares popular narratives with historical evidence on early Tibetan history focusing on the Tibetan Empire (7th-9th c.) with an emphasis on its relations with China

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.

ASCE UN1377 Intro to East Asian Civilizations: Vietnam - Discussion Section. 0 points.

Corequisites: ASCE UN1367

Required discussion section to be taken with ASCE W 1367 - Intro to East Asian Civilizations: Vietnam.

MDES UN2042 South Asia at the Crossroads of Empires. 3.00 points.

In this course we will study the late colonial and early post-colonial periods of South Asian history together. Some of the events we will cover include: the climax of anti-colonial movements in South Asia, WWII as it developed in South and Southeast Asia, the partition of British India, the two Indo-Pakistan wars, and the 1971 Bangladesh War. While we will read selected secondary literature, we will focus on a range of primary sources, including original radio broadcasts and oral history interviews. We will also study artistic interpretations of historical developments, including short stories and films. In this course, we will strive to remain attentive to the important changes engendered by colonialism, while simultaneously recognizing the agency of South Asians in formulating their own modernities during this critical period. We will also seek to develop a narrative of modern South Asian history, which is attentive to parallel and/or connected events in other regions

HIST UN2881 Vietnam in the World. 4 points.

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

This course examines the history of Vietnam in the World and serves as a follow-up to ASCE UN1367: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations, Vietnam (though it is not a prerequisite). This course will explore Vietnam’s multifaceted relations with the wider world from the late 19th Century to present day as war – ranging from civil, imperial, global, decolonization, and superpower interventions – forged the modern imperial polity to the current nation-state.

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

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

HSEA GU4218 Toward an intellectual history of Vietnam in the 20th century. 3.00 points.

This course traces the transformation of Vietnamese intellectual activity in the 20th century across a number of major social and political changes, from colonialism to socialism. It considers the circulation of ideas, religion, and cultural productions in shaping intellectual thought and Vietnamese history on a larger scale

South Asian

MDES UN2042 South Asia at the Crossroads of Empires. 3.00 points.

In this course we will study the late colonial and early post-colonial periods of South Asian history together. Some of the events we will cover include: the climax of anti-colonial movements in South Asia, WWII as it developed in South and Southeast Asia, the partition of British India, the two Indo-Pakistan wars, and the 1971 Bangladesh War. While we will read selected secondary literature, we will focus on a range of primary sources, including original radio broadcasts and oral history interviews. We will also study artistic interpretations of historical developments, including short stories and films. In this course, we will strive to remain attentive to the important changes engendered by colonialism, while simultaneously recognizing the agency of South Asians in formulating their own modernities during this critical period. We will also seek to develop a narrative of modern South Asian history, which is attentive to parallel and/or connected events in other regions

RELI UN2205 BUDDHISM: INDO-TIBETAN. 4.00 points.

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

The course introduces the history of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism throughout India, South and Southeast Asia, Tibet, and Central Asia, its essential primary textual source materials translated from Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan, and the philosophical insights of some of the traditions’ outstanding individuals.

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 3 points.

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.

MDES UN2650 Gandhi and His Interlocutors. 4 points.

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

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.

MDES UN3046 The Intersectional Politics of Religion. 3 points.

The Islamic veil controversy in France, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, the Kashmir lockdown, the lynching of Dalits in India – all seem to be connected through the ideas of ‘religion’, and certain religious identities as the basis for violence. What is the understanding of the religious that seems to be the operative factor in these events? Is it a singular concept of religion or are there different connotations of this category? For instance, how do we understand religion when it bifurcates the women’s movement between Western ‘secular’ women and non-Western ‘Muslim’ women? Is it the same concept when we identify ‘religion’ as the basis for the harmonious coexistence of Hindus and Muslims among certain non-elite communities in India? In this course, we ask if it even possible to understand, ‘religious’ events in the modern political world, without asking what other categories implicitly inform our notion of the religious – such as, gender, caste, culture, race and historiography. We move beyond the strict dichotomy, of religion and secularism, as something given and unproblematic. Drawing from examples and events in modern South Asia as well as other postcolonial contexts, we attempt to respond to the concepts, contradictions, and dilemmas that accompany the question of when and how the religious becomes the political in the modern world.


 Our weekly sessions will be devoted to reading texts from various disciplines and analyzing how the main argument is formulated and how that relates to a critique of the concept of religion in modern South Asia. Some weeks the scholarly texts will be supplemented by primary texts/case studies that will serve as direct demonstration of the problems that will be explored in the course. The engagement with sources from various disciplines will expose us to interdisciplinary content as well as diverse methods of critical analysis and argumentation. It will also help acquire the practice of identifying the central argument of the text, understand how the broad argument is actually formulated through smaller steps, and achieve the analytic skill to critically locate that single argument within a larger body of scholarship.

POLS UN3112 GANDHI, KING & POLS OF NONVIOLENCE. 4.00 points.

Since Gandhi’s experiments in mass satyagraha over a century ago, nonviolence has become a staple of protest politics across the globe. From the Occupy movements to the Arab Spring to Movement for Black Lives, it might even be entering a new phase of revitalization. At the same time, what exactly nonviolence is and what it can accomplish in politics is very much under debate. This course aims to understand the politics of nonviolence by examining the political ideas and political careers of its most well-known twentieth-century advocates, M.K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Though still venerated as founding figures of nonviolent protest, Gandhi and King have come to be remembered in ways that can misconstrue how they understood and practiced nonviolent politics. To many, Gandhi is a saintly idealist, who wanted to imbue politics with the spirit of ahimsa, truth, and conscience. Likewise, King is taken to be a spokesman for interracial brotherhood and Christian love. While partly true, these images also downplay the political side of their nonviolence – the techniques of organizing and strategies of protest that made their movements successful. We will examine the evolution of Gandhi’s and King’s political thinking in relation to the movements they led – the Indian independence movement and the civil rights movement in the US. We will consider how the theory and practice of nonviolence evolved and changed as it moved from one context to another. We will be especially focused on understanding the dynamics of nonviolent protest

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

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.

MDES UN3445 SOCIETIES/CULTRS: INDIAN OCEAN. 4.00 points.

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

This course introduces 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 political, economic, and social cooperation, accommodation or conflict did different Indian Ocean encounters engender? We read some of the newest humanities and social science scholarship, as well as primary sources ranging from manuscript illustrations, sailor’s stories, merchant letters, travelogues, pilgrimage accounts, colonial documents, memoirs, and diplomatic accounts. Students must register for a discussion section, MDES UN3446

RELI UN3500 BUDDHIST ETHICS. 3.00 points.

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

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

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.

ANTH UN3661 South Asia: Anthropological Approaches. 4 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 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. 

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.

RELI GU4317 Islam in Southeast Asia. 4.00 points.

Despite the fact that a fifth of the world’s Muslim population lives in Southeast Asia, the region is often considered peripheral to or insignificant for the study of Islam more broadly. In this course, we will not only learn about Islamic thought and practice in the history and present of this important part of the Islamic world; we will also reflect on issues that, while grounded in the Southeast Asian context, illustrate a variety of key Islamic Studies issues. The first half of the course will provide a historical overview over the development of Islam in Southeast Asia while the second half will focus on contemporary issues. The Malay-Indonesian world, home to 90% of Southeast Asia’s Muslims, will be our primary focus. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, incorporating anthropological, historical, and media studies approaches. Students in this class are expected to have some prior knowledge of Islam

RELI GU4318 INTERPRETING BUDDHIST YOGA. 4.00 points.

Students and scholars approaching a vast amount of primary and secondary literature, as well as accounts and anthropological and sociological studies of Buddhism as a lived religion, are faced with an array of stories, data, theories and practices, many of which appear to be inconsistent with others. We try to make sense of these by interpreting them. The art or science of interpretation – “hermeneutics” after Hermes – has a long history in Asia and in the West. Buddhism itself has a tradition of hermeneutics, as does each of the Western religious traditions and Western philosophy and law, starting with Plato and Aristotle, becoming “romantic” with Schleiermacher, and “modern” with Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur. Today’s Western hermeneutics has become largely de-regionalized from specific subject areas, and has been extended to the interpretation of all human experience. After a grounding in traditional Buddhist and Western hermeneutic principles, we will focus on a number of aspects of Buddhism, including the central question of whether there is a “self” or not, and on esoteric Buddhist yoga, Tantra, central to several of the better-known forms of Buddhism today, including Tibetan Buddhism. Here we will witness the confluence and, sometimes, collision of traditional Buddhist and Tantric hermeneutics focusing in large part on “spiritual” concerns, and the Western tradition, with its emphasis on economics, power, and gender. In thinking about which interpretations are “right” -- indeed, whether any interpretation can be “right,” and, if so, "how much?" -- we will consider the cultures in which these scriptures and practices originated, as well as ourselves and our own contemporary perspectives, insights, presuppositions and prejudices. A primary concern of hermeneutics is the interpretation of so-called "objective" physical and subjective mental realities. In thinking about the hermeneutics of outer and inner time and space, towards the end of the semester we will consider whether the "objective" and the "subjective" intersect, how much, and look at some descriptions of quantum mechanics and the role of observation of physical reality there, and analogize and contrast those to and with some Buddhist systems of philosophy and practice

ASST GU4600 JUDAISM & CHRISTIANITY S.ASIA. 4.00 points.

MDES GU4634 Sound and Listening Cultures of the Indian Subcontinent. 4.00 points.

This course will explore major themes in the growing field of Sound Studies with a focus on the rich history of sound and varied cultures of sound and listening in the Indian subcontinent. The main questions that we will address include: how have political, commercial, and cultural movements shaped what the diverse populations of South Asia listen to and how they listen? How have different forms of media shaped/ informed listening experiences in South Asia? How do listening practices and cultures from the subcontinent differ from those in other regions? In this class we will listen to the human voice, rumor/gossip, gramophone, loud speakers, radio, film, and mp3. We will discuss the role political speeches, film songs, and devotional songs in shaping South Asian politics and culture in the twentieth-century as the subcontinent transitioned from colonial rule to nation-states. Drawing on the interdisciplinary nature of Sound Studies, we will read works from across the disciplines—anthropology, ethnomusicology, Religious Studies, Media Studies, and history. Organized thematically, this course will focus on the twentieth century, but the readings will address earlier time periods. This is an upper-level undergraduate and graduate (MA) seminar. Students are expected to have some background in South Asian studies/history or media/sounds studies. The class will meet once a week for discussion of readings. In addition to readings there will be a several required film screenings or listening activities

MDES GU4653 A History of Modern Pakistan. 4 points.

The course will examine the six "eras" that help define Pakistan's history, and will highlight political, economic and institutional developments.  The completion of this course should prepare students for further and more advanced work on South Asia.

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.

MDES GU4840 Gender and Religion in Post-Colonial South Asia (1947-2020). 4 points.

This course will examine various roles that a religion can play in shaping its believers’ socio-cultural and political identities on the basis of their natural/social differences i.e. sex and gender. An attempt will be made to search for historical explanations of gendered identities and social anxieties in the context of various religious beliefs of communities living in the South Asian region. Following a series of historical events combined with theoretical approaches which had emerged after the departure of the colonial rulers, this course will explore the following themes; (a) role of religion in construction of post colonial state and question of gender; (b) formation of state policies and challenges of existing realities; (c) representation or absence of women in post colonial political institutions.


The central argument of the course is that, for historical understanding of a set of beliefs and practices regarding gender relations and women’s status in any religious group, one needs to examine the historical context and socio-economic basis of that particular religion. By using the notion of gender, class and historical feminist discourses as tools of analysis, this course intends to understand and explain existing perceptions, misperceptions, myths and realities regarding gender relations and South Asian women’s situations in the colonial past which has shaped their post colonial present. It is crucial to understand Intersectionality of institutions of authority such as, patriarchal state and controlling religious beliefs that have shaped and continue to reshape “womanhood” in South Asia. In this context, it is necessary to examine how women have challenged, questioned and resisted their subservient status through confrontation, reinterpretation and negotiation in the world of academia and media. This course revolves around a few major questions;



  • How have the texts and re-interpretations constructed Hindu, Muslim and Budhist femininity and masculinity?

  • How have post colonial states and communities applied religious texts to control women’s body and sexuality?

  • How have the institutions of authority kept alive customs and traditions of veiling, segregation, family honor, sexual “purity” etc.?

  • How have the colonial and post colonial politics affected women’s mobility and space in public and private?

  • How can historical re-reading of the religious texts challenge the role of patriarchy and misogyny in the South Asian politics, culture and education?


It is expected that this course will enable students to (a) understand the main assumptions of gender and feminist theories and their importance in the study of history of religion;


(b) acquire knowledge of the historical contexts, textual teachings and actual practices related to gender and women’s lives in South Asia; (c) analyze existing situations and current practices regarding gender issues in these regions; and (d) compare various scholarly inquiries, feminist discourses and conforming/confronting voices of South Asian women emerging in the regional and global contexts.

RELI GR9330 THEOR-TRANSMISSN/COMMUN FORMN. 4.00 points.

Intended as the foundation course for graduate students in Religion who are focusing on the Transmission zone of inquiry. Graduate students in the other departments are also welcome.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.
This is a course designed for first- and second-year graduate students who are interested in the issue of community formation, lineage, genealogy, transmission, and translation, whether textual or cultural. Course texts will be a combination of theoretical interventions and case studies drawn from major religious traditions. The learning goals of the course are the following: (1) to introduce seminal interpretive and/or methodological issues in the contemporary study of transmission; (2) to read several theoretical “classics” in the field, to provide a foundation for further reading; (3) to sample, where possible, new writing in the field; and (4) to encourage students to think of ways in which the several issues and authors surveyed might provide models for their own ongoing research work

Middle Eastern

HIST UN1002 Ancient History of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. 3 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

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

MDES UN1030 “Game of Thrones”: On Epics and Empires. 4.00 points.

This undergraduate course offered in the context of the Global Core component of the Core Curriculum is an examination of the globally popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” as a prototype for a comparative understanding of the larger question of epics and empires. In this course we expand the domains of our interests and inquiries far wider and divide our syllabus into four parts: (1) Westeros: The Mythic Empire; (2) Persia: The First Empire, (3) America: The Last Empire; and (4) On Epics and Empires. Our objective will be to examine the main themes and overall arch of “Game of Thrones” into wider mythic, heroic, and transhistorical dimensions of our contemporary history

AHUM UN1399 Major Texts: Middle East/India. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

AHUM V3399 and V3400 form a sequence, but either may be taken separately. V3399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with AHUM V3830.  Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings include the Qur'an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi's Autobiography.

MDES UN2000 Ethnicity, Race, Identity in the Pre-Modern Middle East . 4 points.

This seminar investigates the concepts of ethnicity, race, and identity, in both theory and practice,

through a comparative survey of several case studies from the Pre-Modern history of the Middle East.

The course focuses on symbols of identity and difference, interpreting them through a variety of

analytical tools, and evaluating the utility of each as part of an ongoing exploration of the subject. The

survey considers theories of ethnicity and race, as well as their critics, and includes cases from the

Ancient World (c. 1000 BCE) through the Old Regime (c. 1800 CE).


Students in this course will gain a familiarity with major theories of social difference and alterity, and

utilize them to interpret and analyze controversial debates about social politics and identity from the

history of the Middle East, including ancient ethnicity, historical racism, Arab identity, pluralism in the

Islamic Empire, and slavery, among others. In addition, students will spend much of the semester

developing a specialized case study of their own on a historical community of interest. All of the case

studies will be presented in a showcase at the end of the semester.


All assigned readings for the course will be in English. Primary sources will be provided in translation.

The course meets once a week and sessions are two hours long.

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions.

MDES UN2006 What is Islam?. 4 points.

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

One in four people in the world is a Muslim. Yet, here in the Western hemisphere, we mostly know next to nothing about Islam and its followers.

Whatever is spread around as knowledge of this culture and religion is the work of a media that is highly politicized and biased, often perpetuating negative and even racist images of Muslims and their ways of life. This picture becomes even more complicated and complex in academia, in the West in particular but in Islamic countries as well. The story of “What is Islam?” begins in the 19th century, when the bulk of the Muslim world fell under European control, be it direct colonialism or (remote-control) coloniality. Almost everywhere, so-called reform was undertaken, with the view of modernizing institutions and subjectivities along Western lines. With secularization and unprecedented forms of politics and political organization, Islamic cultures all over the world began to undergo epistemic transformations, leading to a wholesale revaluation of the Islamic traditions themselves, and their meaning in late modernity. Various groups would attempt to redefine Islam in fundamentalist terms – in unconscious emulation of American Fundamentalist movements – while others took it in different directions, not excluding Marxism, socialism, and nationalism. But the hegemonic and almost “natural” force driving the Islamic world over the last half century has been liberalism, a powerful way of seeing and evaluating the world that deeply affected even the Islamist movements. Islam for modern Muslims has become many disparate things, often if not always incompatible with each other.

MDES UN2007 What is Islam? Discussion Section. 0.00 points.

Discussion section to accompany the course, MDES UN2006 What is Islam?

ASCM UN2008 CONTEMP ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 4.00 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. No previous study of Islam is required. The early modern, colonial, and post-colonial Islamic world studied through historical case studies, translated texts, and recent anthropological research. Topics include Sufism and society, political ideologies, colonialism, religious transformations, poetry, literature, gender, and sexuality

MDES UN2012 Finding Happiness: Readings in Arab-Islamic Texts. 4.00 points.

The quest for happiness predates writing itself. In this course, we read together some of the monumental and foundational texts that questioned, interrogated, but also defined and redefined happiness from the premodern Arab-Islamic tradition. Is happiness an absence of something or the presence of something? Is it found or actively pursued? Is one happy being alone or in a society? Are friends necessary to our happiness? Is the perfection of the self, morals, and character happiness? Emphasis lies on the exploration of the themes of the assigned works through close reading and discussion. The course will pay additional attention to the contextualization of the texts. Emphasis lies on the active study of the assigned works through close reading, discussion, and creative assignments

ASCM UN2118 DISC SECT CONTEMP ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 0 points.

Required discussion section for ASCM UN2008: Contemporary Islamic Civilization

RELI UN2301 ISLAM-DISCUSSION. 0.00 points.

RELI UN2305 Islam. 3 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.  

MDES UN2399 ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN LITERATURE. 4 points.

This colloquium is a course on many influential texts of literature from Ancient Near Eastern cultures, including Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, Canaanite, and others. The emphasis is on investigating the literary traditions of each culture – the subject matter, form, methods, and symbolism– that distinguish them from one another and from later traditions of the Middle East. The course is not a “civilization” course, nor is it a history class, although elements of culture and history will be mentioned as necessary. The course is intended to provide a facility with, and an awareness of, the content and context of ancient works of literature in translation from the Ancient Middle East. Students in this course will gain a familiarity with the major cultures of the Ancient Middle East, the best known and most remarked upon stories, and the legacy of those works on some later traditions. The course is organized thematically in order to facilitate comparison to the materials in similar courses at Barnard and Columbia. The approach will be immediately familiar to students who have previously taken Asian Humanities (AMEC) or Literature-Humanities (Core), but the course does not require any previous experience with literature or the Ancient Near East and is open to everyone. All assigned readings for the course will be in English. The course meets once a week and sessions are two hours long.

HIST UN2611 Jews and Judaism in Antiquity. 4 points.

  Field(s): ANC

HIST UN2701 Ottoman Empire. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

This course will cover the seven-century long history of the Ottoman Empire, which spanned Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as the medieval, early modern, and modern periods. The many levels of continuity and change will be the focus, as will issues of confessional diversity, imperial governance, and political belonging within the empire and of the empire within larger regional and global phenomena over the centuries. 

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

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

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

MDES UN3043 DISC SECT PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI. 0 points.

Required discussion section for MDES UN3042: Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society

MDES UN3046 The Intersectional Politics of Religion. 3 points.

The Islamic veil controversy in France, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, the Kashmir lockdown, the lynching of Dalits in India – all seem to be connected through the ideas of ‘religion’, and certain religious identities as the basis for violence. What is the understanding of the religious that seems to be the operative factor in these events? Is it a singular concept of religion or are there different connotations of this category? For instance, how do we understand religion when it bifurcates the women’s movement between Western ‘secular’ women and non-Western ‘Muslim’ women? Is it the same concept when we identify ‘religion’ as the basis for the harmonious coexistence of Hindus and Muslims among certain non-elite communities in India? In this course, we ask if it even possible to understand, ‘religious’ events in the modern political world, without asking what other categories implicitly inform our notion of the religious – such as, gender, caste, culture, race and historiography. We move beyond the strict dichotomy, of religion and secularism, as something given and unproblematic. Drawing from examples and events in modern South Asia as well as other postcolonial contexts, we attempt to respond to the concepts, contradictions, and dilemmas that accompany the question of when and how the religious becomes the political in the modern world.


 Our weekly sessions will be devoted to reading texts from various disciplines and analyzing how the main argument is formulated and how that relates to a critique of the concept of religion in modern South Asia. Some weeks the scholarly texts will be supplemented by primary texts/case studies that will serve as direct demonstration of the problems that will be explored in the course. The engagement with sources from various disciplines will expose us to interdisciplinary content as well as diverse methods of critical analysis and argumentation. It will also help acquire the practice of identifying the central argument of the text, understand how the broad argument is actually formulated through smaller steps, and achieve the analytic skill to critically locate that single argument within a larger body of scholarship.

CLME UN3221 ARABIC LITERATURE AS WORLD LITERATURE. 4.00 points.

This seminar focuses on Arabic literature in the world, as World Literature. The focus will be on pre-modern and modern Arabic literary works that traveled and circulated and were adapted to and acquired individual meanings in different cultures. We will look at literary works that achieved ‘worldliness’ through either writing back to the center or through international literary prizes. We will consider how literary works travel and circulate through their fusion with regional concepts, or even take on new meanings at different times and places. Admittedly, also, we will look into the strengths, weaknesses, and criticism surrounding World Literature

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

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

MDES UN3260 Rethinking Middle East Politics. 4 points.

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

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

CLME UN3266 Decolonizing the Arabian Nights. 4.00 points.

In a unique revival of interest, the Arabian Nights has made its way to the academy as the handiest and most approachable cultural commodity. Courses are given on its history, translation, media reproduction, Walt Disney’s appropriation, and, occasionally, narratology. By the end of the 19th century, it was available in translation or abridgement in every written language. This course resituates its advent and vogue in specific cultural contexts that closely relate to the rise of the bourgeoisie and the colonial enterprise. It also explores popular and intellectual or critical responses in terms of the rise of literary theory and modes of literary production. Its massive presence gives way in time to pantomime, parody, and pastiche, before engaging again the attention of prominent writers and theorists of ‘prose poetics’ and the fantastic. Its referential popular presence undergoes fluctuations to fit media stereotypes and hegemonic regimes of thought. This course attempts to dislodge originals from adaptations, highlight the nature of entry in terms of a commoditizing enterprise that reproduces the Arabian Nights as a ‘western text’, a point that in turn incites a counter search for manuscripts, and ‘authentication’ processes. Originals and translations will be compared and cinematic or theater productions will be studied, along with paintings, covers, and tourist guides that present the Nights as a commodity in a post-industrial society

MDES UN3331 URBAN SPACE & CONFLICT IN MIDDLE EAST. 3.00 points.

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

MDES UN3422 Infrastructures of Power: Development, Environment, Political Struggle. 3.00 points.

Is infrastructure political? Can infrastructure colonise, dispossess, and cause environmental ruin? We tend to think of infrastructure as useful objects, but can we think of them as built ideologies? Historically, infrastructural projects have been regarded as necessary preconditions of modern and efficient states. So much so that malfunctioning sewers and perennial power cuts have come to invoke images of starved and underdeveloped countries. However, the question of whether infrastructure itself fuels human and environmental underdevelopment is rarely asked. This course proposes a new way of thinking about infrastructure. By studying the histories of various infrastructural projects in the Middle East, we will critically assess their role as sites of political contestation rather than as “neutral technologies”. Infrastructure has been used by colonial states to exploit the natural resources of colonised territories and to control the populations they ruled. At the same time, infrastructure is crucial in the formation of radical political identities and rich cultures and traditions of political struggle. Yet, not all infrastructure is the same. By paying attention to the material qualities and specific cultural and ideological history of each form of infrastructure we study, we will be able to understand how different forms of infrastructure create and foreclose different political possibilities

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

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

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.

CPLT BC3552 The Arabic Novel. 4.00 points.

The novel in Arabic literature has often been the place where every attempt to look within ends up involving the need to contend with or measure the self against the European, the dominant culture. This took various forms. From early moments of easy-going and confident cosmopolitan travellers, such as Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, to later author, such as Tayeb Salih, mapping the existential fault lines between west and east. For this reason, and as well as being a modern phenomenon, the Arabic novel has also been a tool for translation, for bridging gaps and exposing what al-Shidyaq—the man credited with being the father of the modern Arabic novel, and himself a great translator—called ‘disjunction’. We will begin with his satirical, deeply inventive and erudite novel, published in 1855, Leg Over Leg. It is a book with an insatiable appetite for definitions and comparisons, with Words that had been lost or fell out of use (the author had an abiding interest in dictionaries that anticipates Jorge Louis Borges) and with locating and often subverting moments of connection and disconnection. We will then follow along a trajectory to the present, where we will read, in English translation, novels written in Arabic, from Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Morocco and Palestine. We will read them chronologically, starting with Leg Over Leg (1855) and finishing with Minor Detail, a novel that was only published last year. Obviously, this does not claim to be a comprehensive survey; for that we would need several years and even then, we would fall short. Instead, the hope is that it will be a thrilling journey through some of the most facinating fiction ever written. Obviously, this does not claim to be a comprehensive survey; for that we would need several years and even then, we would fall short. Instead, the hope is that it will be a thrilling journey through some of the most fascinating fiction ever written

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.

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.

MDES UN3930 Iraq: War, Love, and Exile. 3.00 points.

This course studies and explores a number of Iraqi narratives that have appeared since 2003 and that have a distinctive stylistic and thematic richness with great bearing on social, economic, cultural, and political life in Iraq. Seen against a history of the country and the region, and in conversation with some Afro-Asian and Latin American narratives of war and displacement, these writings assume global significance in our reading of such thematic issues like war, love, exile, and loss. While always using the past as a background, a source and repository of recollections, the challenge of the 2003 Anglo-America invasion and its institutionalization of segregation and rupture to keep Iraq in perpetual chaos, is present in the texts. Every narrative sheds light on a number of issues, especially war, horror, loss, trauma, passion and dislocation. This richness in detail is brought up through a number of stylistic innovations that put this writing at the forefront of world cultures and human concerns. An introductory lecture builds up a genealogy for trauma since the Epic of Gilgamesh (2700 BC.) and the lamentations of Astarte

ANTH UN3933 ARABIA IMAGINED. 4.00 points.

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

As the site of the 7th century revelation of the Quran and the present day location of the sacred precincts of Islam, Arabia is the direction of prayer for Muslims worldwide and the main destination for pilgrimage. Arabia also provides a frame for diverse modes of thought and practice and for cultural expression ranging from the venerable literature of the 1001 Nights to the academic disciplines of Islam and contemporary social media, such as Twitter. We thus will approach Arabia as a global phenomenon, as a matter of both geographic relations and the imagination. While offering an introduction to contemporary anthropological research, the course will engage in a critical review of related western conceptions, starting with an opening discussion of racism and Islamophobia. In the format of a Global Core course, the weekly assignments are organized around English translations of Arabic texts, read in conjunction with recent studies by anthropologists

MDES UN3960 HONORS THESIS SEMINAR PART 1. 1.00 point.

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

MDES GU4049 Climate and Empire. 4 points.

Climate change destabilizes the ontic certainty of this world, time, and history. This course in MESAAS will introduce students to the literature on climate change and its relationship to ontology, religion, violence, politics, and gender. We will explore the resilience and limitations of various theoretical approaches as they relate to empirical cases. Students will become familiarized with important arguments that have been advanced to explain climate change in its more recent incarnations in the Middle East and Asia. How have different trajectories of understanding climate change led to different kinds of political cultures and governing institutions? Have some qualities of the “environment” or “climate” remained the same throughout history and across the globe? What is the role of colonialism in modern understandings of climate change?  The core of this course will seek to develop a mode of conceptualizing the present by rendering relevant geological time in addition to historical time, earth’s history in addition to world’s history.


The course begins with the question of how the “climate” has been historically and ethnographically conceptualized in various intellectual trajectories of human sciences. We consider how religion is connected to environmental change, how the “human” and “non human” are conceptualized in various ontologies, and how religious norms and ethics enact environmental practices. We interrogate the everyday sociality of climate adaption and how climate conflict informs social, political, and environmental citizenship. The course concludes by contemplating the creative ways of being in this new world. We study the innovative forms of cosmopolitan neo-humanism (post- humanism) that emerge from the specter of environmental change.

MDES GU4151 Debates on Capitalism: Africans and the Eurocentric Lens. 4 points.

Within the literature on the history of capitalism there is a lively debate that seeks to explain the world-historical transition from feudal and tributary modes of production to the capitalist mode of production. Substantial issues raised in this debate include the question of whether capitalism can be characterized as a mode of production dominated by the exploitation of free labour; the role of international trade in the origin and development of capitalism; and the role of agriculture in promoting a transition to capitalism. Through the publication of two key texts in the late 1970s Robert Brenner's proposition that capitalism had its origins in English agriculture came to dominate the transition debate. More recently, however, there have been a number of publications that seek to challenge the Anglo-centric and Eurocentric tendencies of the entire transition debate. This course begins with the Brenner debates and then takes up revisions, critiques and challenges to that debate. Ultimately, the aim of the course is to more clearly understand the place of non-European polities and peoples in the history and development of capitalism.

MDES GU4226 Arabic Literature & the Long 19th Century. 4.00 points.

What came before the Arabic novel? How did authors writing in Arabic in the 19th century conceive of and debate the terms of modernity and literature? The purpose of this graduate seminar is first to engage with recent trends in scholarship on the Nahda ("Renaissance") and second to read the entirety of three significant works of Arabic literature in translation: al-Shidyaq's Leg Over Leg (1855), Khalil al-Khouri's Oh No! I am Not European! (1859-61), and Jurji Zaydan's Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt (1914). Knowledge of Arabic is not required, but an optional Arabic reading group will run concurrently with the class

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

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

MDES GU4328 The Resilience of Memory: Armenian Genocide in Words and Images. 4.00 points.

Genocide has indelibly marked the last century. Survivors of these crimes have sought justice and reparations, while also struggling to keep alive the memory of all that was lost. Words and images are employed in this struggle. The literary, performing, and visual arts play key roles in resisting the destruction of memory. Genocide is a crime whose aim is not just the annihilation of biological individuals but of social groups and their cultural heritage. Words (in the form of poetry, memoir, drama, fiction) and images (in the form of photography, film, painting) are used to combat the forgetting, the denial, and the distorting of genocidal crimes. This course will explore the ways these forms of memory resilience work in the case of the Armenian Genocide. While often under-appreciated, Armenians began a process of reflection upon and resistance against their cultural loss in the decades after 1915. Yet it took another generation for artists and writers to foreground this resistance in their creative output. In parallel to the Jewish response to the Holocaust, the 1960’s and 70’s saw the awakening of a greater Armenian public response to the genocide. Along with memorialization and demands for justice, a heightened critical reflection on the meaning of loss took place. Historical studies of the genocide multiplied adding to our understanding of the nature and causes of the violence. Alongside such scholarship the broader discipline of memory studies has immeasurable added to our understanding of 1915. The literature and critical study of the Holocaust and other genocides will help us understand the Armenian resilience of memory. The art and literature we explore will be supplemented by dialogue (in-person or virtually) with writers and artists whose works of resistance continue to be created today

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

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

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

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


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

RELI GU4619 Islam in Popular Culture. 4.00 points.

This course interrogates seminal issues in the academic study of Islam through its popular representation in various forms of media from movies and television to novels and comic books. The class is structured around key theoretical readings from a range of academic disciplines ranging from art history and anthropology to comparative literature and religion. The course begins by placing the controversies surrounding the visual depiction of Muhammad in historical perspective (Gruber). This is followed by an examination of modern portrayals of Muslims in film that highlights both the vilification of the “other” (Shaheen) and the persistence of colonial discourses centered on the “native informant” (Mamdani). Particular emphasis is given to recent pop cultural works that challenge these simplistic discourses of Islam. The second half of the course revisits Muhammad, employing an anthropological framework (Asad) to understand the controversies surrounding Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. The obsession with a gendered depiction of Islam is then examined through an anthropological framework that sheds light on the problems of salvation narratives (Abu Lughod). The course ends with a look at the unique history of Islam in America, particularly the tension between immigrant and African-American communities

MDES GU4627 Significant Others. 4.00 points.

What is the relationship between homoeroticism and homosociality? How does this relationship form conceptions of gender and sexuality in ways that might be historically unfamiliar and culturally or regionally specific? We pursue these questions through the lens of friendship and its relationship to ideas and expressions of desire, love, and loyalty in pre-modern times. We begin by considering the intellectual basis of the modern idea of friendship as a private, personal relationship, and trace it back to earlier times when it was often a public relationship of social and political significance. Some of these relationships were between social equals, while many were unequal forms (like patronage) that could bridge social, political or parochial differences. Thinking through the relationships and possible distinctions between erotic love, romantic love and amity (love between friends), we will draw on scholarly works from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, particularly philosophy, sociology, political theory, literature, history, and art history. We will attend to friendship’s work in constituting, maintaining and challenging various social and political orders in a variety of Asian contexts (West, Central, South and East Asian), with comparative reference to scholarship on European and East Asian contexts. Primary source materials will include philosophy, religious manuals, autobiographies, popular love stories, heroic epics, mystical poetry, mirror for princes, paintings, material objects of exchange, and architectural monuments, largely from Islamic and Asian contexts

HIST GU4711 OCCULT IN THE MUSLIM PAST. 4.00 points.

This seminar is designed to explore the rich but sorely understudied occult scientific lore in the pre-modern Islamic world. For over a millennium, from the seventh through even the twenty-first century, and spanning a broad geographical spectrum from the Nile to Oxus, different forms and praxis of occult scientific knowledge marked intellectual and political endeavors, everyday lives and customs, and faith-based matters of individuals constituting the so-called Islamicate world. However, despite the impressive array of textual, material, and visual sources coming down to us from the Muslim past, the topic has been severely marginalized under the post-Enlightenment definitions of scientific knowledge, which also shaped how the history of sciences in the Islamicate world was written in the last century. One of this seminar’s main objectives is to rehabilitate such biased perspectives through a grand tour of occult knowledge and practice appealed in the pre-modern Muslim world. Over the semester, by relying on a set of secondary studies and translated primary sources, we will revisit the question of the marginalization of Islamicate occult sciences, explore the actors’ definitions and discussions about the epistemic value of these sciences, trace their social and political implications in everyday life and imperial politics, and examine the key textual, technical, and material aspects of the occult tradition. In several of our sessions, we will have hands-on practice to better familiarize ourselves with the instructed techniques and methods in different branches of occult sciences. We will also regularly visit the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library to view texts and materials available in our collection

SOCI GU4801 Israell and the Palestinians. 4 points.

The seminar will examine the main political, economic, and social processes that have been shaping contemporary Israel. The underlying assumption in this seminar is that much of these processes have been shaped by the 100-year Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict. The first part of the course will accordingly focus on the historical background informing the conflict and leading to the Palestinian refugee problem and establishment of a Jewish, but not Palestinian, state in 1948.  The second part of the seminar focuses on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (and Gaza) and the settlement project, as well as on USA's role and its impact on the conflict, the occupation, and Israel. These topics did not get much academic attention until recently, but as researchers began to realize that the Occupation and the West Bank settlements are among the most permanent institutions in Israel, they have come under the scrutiny of academic research. 


The third part the seminar will concentrate on the development of the conflict after the establishment of Israel and its effects on sociological processes and institutions in contemporary Israel.  Analyzing patterns of continuity and change in the past seven decades, we will discuss immigration and emigration patterns, as well as issue relating to ethnicity, gender, religion and politics, and the Israeli military.

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

At the crossroads of three continents, the Middle East is home to many diverse peoples, with ancient and proud cultures, in varying stages of political and socio-economic development, often times in conflict. Now in a state of historic flux, the Arab Spring has transformed the Middle Eastern landscape, with great consequence for the national security strategies of the countries of the region and their foreign relations. The primary source of the world's energy resources, the Middle East remains the locus of the terror-WMD-fundamentalist nexus, which continues to pose a significant threat to both regional and international security. The course surveys the national security challenges facing the region's primary players (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinians and Turkey, Jordan) and how the revolutions of the past year will affect them. Unlike many Middle East courses, which focus on US policy in the region, the course concentrates on the regional players' perceptions of the threats and opportunities they face and on the strategies they have adopted to deal with them. It thus provides an essential vantage point for all those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of a region, which stands at the center of many of the foreign policy issues of our era. The course is designed for those with a general interest in the Middle East, especially those interested in national security issues, students of comparative politics and future practitioners, with an interest in "real world" international relations and national security.

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. 

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.

ASCE UN1361 INTRO EAST ASIAN CIV: JPN. 4.00 points.

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

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

ASCE UN1363 Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Korea. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).

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

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.

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.

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions.

ASCM UN2008 CONTEMP ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 4.00 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. No previous study of Islam is required. The early modern, colonial, and post-colonial Islamic world studied through historical case studies, translated texts, and recent anthropological research. Topics include Sufism and society, political ideologies, colonialism, religious transformations, poetry, literature, gender, and sexuality

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 3 points.

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

Asian Art Humanities

AHIS UN2600 THE ARTS OF CHINA. 3.00 points.

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

An introduction to the arts of China, from the Neolithic period to the present, stressing materials and processes of bronze casting, the development of representational art, principles of text illustration, calligraphy, landscape painting, imperial patronage, and the role of the visual arts in elite culture.

AHIS UN2602 The Arts of Japan. 3 points.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

AHUM UN2800 Arts of Islam: The First Formative Centuries (circa 700-1000). 3 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

This introductory course attempts to cover the first 300 years, from circa 700-1000 AD, stressing the birth of Islam as the birth of a new aesthetic phenomenon in the Mediterranean Basin, Near East and Central Asia and its appropriations and innovations in creating a novel imperial style, while, at the same time, questioning the modern historiographies and narratives for these masterpieces.

AHUM UN2901 MASTERPIECES-INDIAN ART & ARCH. 3.00 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

AHIS UN3503 Contemporary Arts of Africa. 4 points.

This course takes up a question posed by Terry Smith and applies it to Africa: "Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art?" It will investigate the impact of modernity, modernism, and increasing globalism on artistic practices with a special focus on three of the major centers for contemporary art in sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria.

Some of the topics covered will be: the emergence of new media (such as photography or cinema), the creation of "national" cultures, experiments in Pan-Africanism, diasporic consciousness, and the rise of curators as international culture-brokers. The course will examine the enthusiastic embrace by African artists of the biennial platform as a site for the production of contemporary art. What differential impact has French vs. British colonialism left on the arts? How are contemporary artists responding to calls for restitution on African cultural heritage?

AHIS UN3610 Visualizing Japanese Buddhism. 4 points.

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

AHIS 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.

AHIS UN3621 Rethinking Chinese Painting. 4.00 points.

This seminar reconceptualizes traditional Chinese paintings (hua) through the perspectives of medium and format. The class sections are arranged in chronological order. We will investigate the distinct formats of portable paintings from the 2nd to 18th centuries (including funerary banners, handscrolls, hanging scrolls, albums, screens, and fans) and the representations of paintings of various formats in tombs and other architectural-pictorial contexts. We will probe into the new notions and thoughts presented by the new pictorial formats, and examine how they have been conventionalized and re-developed by later works. The goal is to foreground frame, scale, surface and ground, as carriers as well as boundaries, of image in the discussions of image, and to see painting as the happenings that were schematized and realized by these external, yet also intrinsic, agents. Students will have the chance to peruse the artworks in museum visits, and are expected to do presentations that address the selected pictures with format insights. Class discussions will be both theoretical and object-oriented, exploring the depths of visual analyses on a par with methodological reflection. Reading proficiency in Chinese is recommended, but not a prerequisite

AHIS GU4042 AFR AMER ARTISTS IN 20/21 CENT. 3.00 points.

This course is a survey of visual production by North Americans of African descent from 1900 to the present. It will look at the various ways in which these artists have sought to develop an African American presence in the visual arts over the last century. We will discuss such issues as: what role does stylistic concern play; how are ideas of romanticism, modernism, and formalism incorporated into the work; in what ways do issues of postmodernism, feminism, and cultural nationalism impact on the methods used to portray the cultural and political body that is African America? There will be four guest lectures for this class; all will be held via zoom

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.

Asian Humanities

AHUM UN1399 Major Texts: Middle East/India. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

AHUM V3399 and V3400 form a sequence, but either may be taken separately. V3399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with AHUM V3830.  Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern and Indian origin. Readings include the Qur'an, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, Indian epics and drama, and Gandhi's Autobiography.

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

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT)., CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

V3399 and V3400 form a sequence but either may be taken separately. V3399 may also be taken as part of a sequence with Asian Humanities V3830. Readings in translation and discussion of texts of Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese origin, including (V3399) the Quran, Islamic philosophy, Sufi poetry, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras, Indian epics and drama, Gandhi's Autobiography; (V3400) the Analects of Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, the Lotus Sutra, Dream of the Red Chamber, Tale of Genji, Zen literature, Noh plays, bunraku (puppet) plays, Chinese and Japanese poetry.

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

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

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.

AHUM UN2800 Arts of Islam: The First Formative Centuries (circa 700-1000). 3 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

This introductory course attempts to cover the first 300 years, from circa 700-1000 AD, stressing the birth of Islam as the birth of a new aesthetic phenomenon in the Mediterranean Basin, Near East and Central Asia and its appropriations and innovations in creating a novel imperial style, while, at the same time, questioning the modern historiographies and narratives for these masterpieces.

AHUM UN2901 MASTERPIECES-INDIAN ART & ARCH. 3.00 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

AHUM UN3830 Colloquium On Modern East Asian Texts. 4 points.

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

Prerequisites: AHUM UN3400 is recommended as background.

Introduction to and exploration of modern East Asian literature through close reading and discussion of selected masterpieces from the 1890s through the 1990s by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writers such as Mori Ogai, Wu Jianren, Natsume Soseki, Lu Xun, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, Shen Congwen, Ding Ling, Eileen Chang, Yi Sang, Oe Kenzaburo, O Chong-hui, and others. Emphasis will be on cultural and intellectual issues and on how literary forms manifested, constructed, or responded to rapidly shifting experiences of modernity in East Asia.

Asian Music Humanities

MPP UN1551 World Music Ensemble. 1 point.

Prerequisites: Auditions are required. Sign up for an audition on MPP website: www.mpp.music.columbia.edu

Prerequisites: Audition Required: Sign up for an audition time on MPP website: www.mpp.music.columbia.edu Accepting NEW STUDENTS in FALL semester ONLY. All accepted MPP students must register for lessons and ensembles by the change-of-program deadline in order to be allowed to attend lessons that semester. Petitioning students must notify MPP staff prior to this deadline. Contact Music Performance Program at mpp@columbia.edu 

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.

AHMM UN3320 MUSIC IN EAST ASIA. 3.00 points.

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

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

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.

MUSI GU4425 Sounding Islam. 3 points.

The objective of this course is to explore the relationship between sound, music and Islam and, in doing so, to focus on a philosophy of listening (sama‘) which is deeply embedded in the experiential. The course aims to analyze how sound and music directly or indirectly associated with Islam are produced, circulated, and listened to by a wide variety of audiences in local and transnational settings; to explore the ways in which multiple sonic dimensions of Islam have affected the public sphere in different historical moments and contexts (particular in relation to ideas about nationalism, secularism and modernity); and to examine the effect of these sonic dimensions on Muslim and non-Muslim listeners in a local and a transnational perspective.