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
Associate Professor of Professional Practice: Hisham Matar (Fall only)
Term Assistant Professors: Nathanael Shelley, Emily Ng

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), 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--on leave Spring 2022), Lydia Liu (EALAC), Lening Liu (EALAC), Mahmood Mamdani (Anthropology/MESAAS--on leave Spring 2022), Joseph Massad (MESAAS), Matthew McKelway (Art History), Brinkley M. Messick (Anthropology/MESAAS), Timothy Mitchell (MESAAS), Sheldon Pollock (MESAAS--Emeritus),  Jonathan M. Reynolds (Art History), Wei Shang (EALAC -- Chair), Haruo Shirane (EALAC, Vice-Chair), Michael Stanislawski (History), Tomi Suzuki (EALAC), Gray Tuttle (EALAC), Gauri Viswanathan (English & CompLit),  Marc Van De Mieroop (History), 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), Gregory Pflugfelder (EALAC), Anupama Rao (History/MESAAS), Jennifer Wenzel (English & MESAAS)

Assistant Professors: Sarah R. bin Tyeer (MESAAS), Isabel Huacuja Alonso (MESAAS), Jungwon Kim (EALAC--DUS), Seong Uk Kim (EALAC), Paul Kreitman (EALAC--on leave Spring 2022), John Phan (EALAC -- on leave Spring 2022), Ying Qian (EALAC), Takuya Tsunoda (EALAC--on leave Spring 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

Spring 2022: MDES UN1001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1001 001/15185 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
142 Uris Hall
Nadia Sariahmed 4.00 74/90

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 1002 001/15186 Th 2:10pm - 3:00pm
C01 80 Claremont
Nadia Sariahmed, Erik Aldritch Blackthorne-O'Barr 0.00 13/15
MDES 1002 002/15187 Th 3:10pm - 4:00pm
C01 80 Claremont
Nadia Sariahmed, Erik Aldritch Blackthorne-O'Barr 0.00 11/15
MDES 1002 003/15188 W 4:10pm - 5:00pm
308a Lewisohn Hall
Nadia Sariahmed, Mamadou Diallo 0.00 16/15
MDES 1002 004/15189 W 5:10pm - 6:00pm
606 Lewisohn Hall
Nadia Sariahmed, Mamadou Diallo 0.00 17/15
MDES 1002 005/15190 M 5:10pm - 6:00pm
103 Knox Hall
Nadia Sariahmed, Ankush Bhuyan 0.00 9/15
MDES 1002 006/15191 M 6:10pm - 7:00pm
103 Knox Hall
Nadia Sariahmed, Ankush Bhuyan 0.00 9/15

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. 

Fall 2022: MDES UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3000 001/10801 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Debashree Mukherjee 4 0/90

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.

Spring 2022: CSER UN3905
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3905 001/17017 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
420 Hamilton Hall
Shinhee Han 4 15/15

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

Enrollment limited to 22.

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

Fall 2022: CSER UN3922
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3922 001/11572 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Eric Gamalinda 4 0/22

CSER UN3923 LATINX & ASIAN AMER MEMOIR. 4 points.

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

EAAS UN3999 Research in East Asian Studies. 1 point.

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

Fall 2022: EAAS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3999 001/10657 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Jungwon Kim 1 0/15

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.

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/11331 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
405 Kent Hall
Gavin Healy 4 20/22
AHUM 1400 002/11332 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Yiwen Shen 4 20/20
AHUM 1400 003/11333 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
302 Fayerweather
Seong-Uk Kim 4 24/25
Fall 2022: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/10646 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 0/20
AHUM 1400 002/10647 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Ye Yuan 4 0/20
AHUM 1400 003/11068 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
4 0/20

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.

Spring 2022: RELI UN2308
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2308 001/11872 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
501 Northwest Corner
Michael Como 4 77/90
Fall 2022: RELI UN2308
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2308 001/11624 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
Room TBA
Michael Como 4 0/150

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.

Spring 2022: RELI UN2309
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2309 001/00039 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
504 Diana Center
John Hawley 3 58/70

EAAS UN2342 Mythology of East Asia. 4 points.

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

Through close readings of major myths of China, Japan, and Korea, this course provides a survey of significant themes of East Asian culture. Inclusion of selected comparative readings also leads students to reconsider the nature of ‘world mythology,’ a field often constituted by juxtaposing Greek and Latin classics with oral texts collected during anthropological fieldwork. The core materials for this class are from ancient written traditions, but they speak with force and clarity to modern readers, as is underlined by our attention to latter-day reception and reconceptualization of these narratives. This is an introductory, discussion-based class intended for undergraduates. No prior knowledge of East Asian history or culture is required, and all course readings are in English. Satisfies the Global Core requirement.

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.

Spring 2022: EAAS UN3322
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3322 001/11339 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
407 Mathematics Building
Ying Qian 4 37/35

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ANTH UN3465
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3465 001/11700 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
142 Uris Hall
Lila Abu-Lughod 3 68/90

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.

Spring 2022: HSEA UN3898
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3898 001/11344 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
140 Uris Hall
Morris Rossabi 3 28/25

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.

Fall 2022: EAAS UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3990 001/10655 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Robert Hymes 4 0/15
EAAS 3990 002/10656 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Gregory Pflugfelder 4 0/15

EAAS UN3901 Senior Thesis. 2 points.

Prerequisites: Senior majors only.

Senior Seminar required of all majors in East Asian Studies. Open only to senior majors.

Spring 2022: EAAS UN3901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3901 001/11340  
Jungwon Kim 2 6/10

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

Spring 2022: EARL GU4023
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4023 001/14232 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
329 Uris Hall
Abigail MacBain 4.00 9/12

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

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4220
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4220 001/14925 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
329 Uris Hall
David Brophy 4.00 19/20

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

Spring 2022: RELI GU4307
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4307 001/11876 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Zhaohua Yang 4.00 14/20

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4445
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4445 001/14417 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
707 Hamilton Hall
Benjamin Kindler 4.00 21/20

POLS GU4473 Political Transitions in Southeast Asia. 4 points.

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


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

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 BUDDHIST CONTEMPLATIVE SCIENCES. 4.00 points.

Buddhist arts and sciences traditionally are divided into the interconnected disciplines of ethics (śīla), wisdom/philosophy (prajñā), and “meditation” or experiential cultivation (samādhi/bhāvanā). This seminar course introduces the latter discipline, thus complementing and completing Prof. Yarnall’s Columbia seminars on Buddhist Ethics (RELI UN3500) and Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy (RELI GU4630), either of which—in addition to his introductory lecture course on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (RELI UN2205)—are encouraged as prerequisites. This course will provide a detailed presentation of key Buddhist contemplative sciences, including: stabilizing meditation (śamatha); analytic insight meditation (vipaśyanā); cultivation of the four immeasurables, and form and formless trances; mind cultivation (lo jong); mindfulness meditation; Zen meditation; great perfection (dzogchen); and the subtle body-mind states activated and transformed through advanced tantric yoga techniques. These arts and sciences will be explored both within their traditional interdisciplinary frameworks, as well as in dialog with related contemporary disciplines, including: cognitive sciences, neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, epistemology, and so forth. To be conducted in a mixed lecture/seminar format (active, prepared participation required)

Spring 2022: RELI GU4535
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4535 001/11886 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
201 80 Claremont
Thomas Yarnall 4.00 6/25

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4627
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4627 001/16819 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
Mana Kia 4.00 10/15

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

Spring 2022: ASRL GU4831
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASRL 4831 001/00558 F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
214 Milbank Hall
Emily Ng 4.00 14/25

East Asian, China

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

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/11334 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Qingzhu Wang 4 55/60
Fall 2022: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/10650 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
4 0/90

RELI UN2307 Chinese Religious Traditions. 3 points.

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

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

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.

Spring 2022: EAAS UN3310
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3310 001/14378 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg
Leta Hong Fincher 3 21/20

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

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

Spring 2022: HSEA UN3642
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3642 001/14418 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg
Nolan Bensen 3.00 4/15

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.

Spring 2022: EAAS UN3927
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3927 001/11341 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
302 Fayerweather
Lydia Liu 3 26/25

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

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

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

EAAS UN3999 Research in East Asian Studies. 1 point.

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

Fall 2022: EAAS UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3999 001/10657 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Jungwon Kim 1 0/15

CHNS GU4019 HISTORY OF CHINESE LANGUAGE. 3.00 points.

The evolution of the Chinese language. Topics include historical phonology, the Chinese script, the classical and literary languages, the standard language and major dialects, language and society, etc

Spring 2022: CHNS GU4019
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CHNS 4019 001/11277 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
411 Kent Hall
Zhirong Wang 3.00 10/15
Fall 2022: CHNS GU4019
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CHNS 4019 001/10524 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Zhirong Wang 3.00 0/15

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4111
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4111 001/15143 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Chloe Estep 4.00 20/20

EAAS GU4202 The Dead in Ancient China. 4 points.

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

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4217
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4217 001/14924 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
306 Uris Hall
Claire Conceison 4.00 11/15

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

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4220
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4220 001/14925 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
329 Uris Hall
David Brophy 4.00 19/20

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.

Fall 2022: EAAS GU4226
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4226 001/10704 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Leta Hong Fincher 4 0/24

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4352
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4352 001/15142 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Sat Alfred Lerner Hall
Ye Yuan 4.00 15/15

POLS GU4406 Politics in Contemporary China. 4 points.

This course will be taught in Chinese.

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

EAAS GU4572 Chinese Documentary Cinema. 4 points.

What defines a “documentary” film? How do documentaries inform, provoke and move us?  What formal devices and aesthetic strategies do documentaries use to construct visions of reality and proclaim them as authentic, credible and authoritative? What can documentary cinema teach us about the changing Chinese society, and about cinema as a medium for social engagement?    This seminar introduces students to the aesthetics, epistemology and politics of documentary cinema in China from the 1940s to the present, with an emphasis on contemporary films produced in the past two decades.  We examine how documentaries contended history, registered subaltern experiences, engaged with issues of gender, ethnicity and class, and built new communities of testimony and activism to foster social change. Besides documentaries made by Chinese filmmakers, we also include a small number of films made on China by western filmmakers, including those by Joris Ivens, Michelangelo Antonioni, Frank Capra and Carma Hinton.  Topics include documentary poetics and aesthetics, evidence, performance and authenticity, the porous boundaries between documentary and fiction, and documentary ethics. 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.  

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4625
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4625 001/14243 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Gavin Healy 4.00 5/15

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4730
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4730 001/14245 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Ying Qian 4.00 15/20

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

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4840
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4840 001/00560 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
111 Milstein Center
Emily Ng 4 22/25

POLS GU4871 China's Foreign Relations. 4 points.

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


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

HSEA GU4880 History of Modern China I. 3 points.

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

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

Fall 2022: HSEA GU4880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4880 001/10667 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Madeleine Zelin 3 0/60

HSEA GU4882 HISTORY OF MODERN CHINA II. 3.00 points.

China's search for a new order in the long twentieth century with a focus on political, social and cultural change

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4882
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4882 001/11350 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
825 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Eugenia Lean 3.00 26/40

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.

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4891
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4891 001/11351 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
405 Kent Hall
Madeleine Zelin 4 16/15

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/11335 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
413 Kent Hall
Gregory Pflugfelder 4.00 53/60
Fall 2022: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/10648 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Paul Kreitman 4.00 0/90

AHIS UN2601 ARTS OF JAPAN. 3.00 points.

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

Fall 2022: AHIS UN2601
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2601 001/00099 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
504 Diana Center
Jonathan Reynolds 3.00 0/48

EAAS UN3338 CULTRL HIST-JAPANESE MONSTERS. 3.00 points.

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

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

Fall 2022: EAAS UN3338
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3338 001/10654 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Gregory Pflugfelder 3.00 0/15

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

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

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

Spring 2022: HSEA UN3871
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3871 001/11343 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
405 Kent Hall
Gregory Pflugfelder 3 14/15

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

Spring 2022: ANTH UN3939
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3939 001/11715 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Marilyn Ivy 4.00 18/17

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

EAAS GU4022 Japanaese Buddhist Visual Culture. 3 points.

This course explors the principal modes, media, and contexts of visual culture in Japanese Buddhist history.  Through the analysis of selected case studies, the course examines of the modalities of perception, materiality, and reception that distinguish the form and function of visual media in Japanese Buddhist contexts.  Students are expected to have completed preliminary coursework in relevant areas of East Asian history, religion, or art history.

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 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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4334
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4334 001/14241 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
309 Hamilton Hall
Haruo Shirane 4.00 16/17

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4777
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4777 001/14244 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
6ab Kraft Center
Nhat-Phuong Ngo-Vu 4.00 11/15

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 2021-22 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.

East Asian, Korea

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

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1363
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1363 001/11336 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
415 Schapiro Cepser
Jungwon Kim 4 46/42

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 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.

Spring 2022: EAAS UN3217
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 3217 001/11338 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Theodore Hughes 4 20/20

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

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

EAAS GU4160 CULTURES IN COLONIAL KOR. 4 points.

This course examines the processes of colonization that played a central role in locating Korea in an integrated world in the first half of the twentieth century. We will analyze the ways in which the intersections among an array of contemporary global issues and concerns (to name a few- social Darwinism, migration, urban space, gender, sexuality, militarism, race, liberalism, socialism, capitalism) shaped the modern experience in Korea under Japanese rule (1910-1945). Our approach will be multidisciplinary. We will look, for example, at art, architecture, literature, film, philosophy, religion, and historiography. Throughout, we will pay special attention to the place of Korea and Koreans in the expanding Japanese empire and, more broadly, in the global colonial context. Class will be held as a discussion seminar based on close reading of primary-source documents and recent scholarship.

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4160
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4160 001/11821 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
507 Hamilton Hall
Theodore Hughes 4 17/18

EARL GU4320 Buddhism and Korean Culture. 4 points.

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

Fall 2022: EARL GU4320
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4320 001/10663 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Seong-Uk Kim 4 0/15

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.

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

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

Fall 2022: HSEA GU4860
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4860 001/10665 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Jungwon Kim 3 0/15

East Asian, Tibet

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

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

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

Fall 2022: ASCE UN1365
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1365 001/10649 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Lauran Hartley 4 0/60

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

Spring 2022: HSEA UN3642
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 3642 001/14418 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg
Nolan Bensen 3.00 4/15

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.

Spring 2022: EARL GU4310
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EARL 4310 001/11346 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
405 Kent Hall
Gray Tuttle 4 17/15

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4558
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4558 001/15166 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
507 Philosophy Hall
Anna Sehnalova 4.00 12/15

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

Spring 2022: EAAS GU4565
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EAAS 4565 001/14242 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
301m Fayerweather
Lauran Hartley 4.00 20/25

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

Rise of Modern Tibet

HSEA GU4712 Local History in Tibet. 4 points.

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

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

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4720
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4720 001/11349 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Gray Tuttle 4 12/15

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.

Fall 2022: ASCE UN1367
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1367 001/10651 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 0/60

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.

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.

Spring 2022: HIST UN2881
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2881 001/13375 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
209 Havemeyer Hall
Lien-Hang Nguyen 4 66/90

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

Spring 2022: HSEA GU4218
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSEA 4218 001/14233 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
402 International Affairs Bldg
Bao-Yen Vu 3.00 7/20

South Asian

ANTH UN2007 Indian and Nigerian Film Cultures. 3 points.

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

RELI UN2205 BUDDHISM: INDO-TIBETAN. 4.00 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. 4 points.

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

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

Fall 2022: ASCM UN2357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2357 001/00334 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Ll002 Milstein Center
Rachel McDermott 4 0/70

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

Prerequisites: None.

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

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

Spring 2022: POLS UN3112
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3112 001/13108 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
203 Mathematics Building
Karuna Mantena 4.00 59/100
Fall 2022: POLS UN3112
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3112 001/12698 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Karuna Mantena 4.00 0/100

HIST UN3258 Disability Histories of Europe in the Twentieth Century. 4.00 points.

Approximately 10%-15% of the world’s population is estimated to have a disability and this number is expected to rise in the next decades. Moreover, as the saying goes: everyone is just one accident away from disability. Although the potentials of the concept as a category of historical analysis are comparable to those of class, race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity; until recently, the history of people of disabilities has remained a rather neglected field and its promise to enrich and revise mainstream narratives on European history has not sufficiently been explored. This course responds to calls to bring disability from the margins to the center of historical inquiry. Rather than treating disability as merely a medical impairment, it will explore its historical and cultural variability.Unlike the overwhelming majority of academic accounts and courses which study the Anglophone world, this course will primarily focus on (continental) Europe, while also paying attention to global aspects. It is not restricted to one particular type of disability; instead, it historicizes the emergence of various categories and classifications. Topics will include disability and war, the Cold War, welfare, social movements and disability rights, culture and identity, the Deaf community, disability as a concern of global governance and global health. Special attention will be paid to regions that often remain peripheral in comprehensive studies, such as Eastern and Northern Europe. In doing so, the course seeks to reveal how the application of disability as an analytical tool can contribute to rethink the overall dynamics of European history

Spring 2022: HIST UN3258
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 3258 001/15448 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
1201 International Affairs Bldg
Monika Baar 4.00 10/15

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

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 2021-22 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

Spring 2022: RELI GU4317
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4317 001/14691 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Verena Meyer 4.00 6/20

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. 

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

Spring 2022: ASST GU4600
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASST 4600 001/00559 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
324 Milbank Hall
Rachel McDermott 4.00 5

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4627
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4627 001/16819 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
Mana Kia 4.00 10/15

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4634
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4634 001/16820 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Mpr River Side Church
Isabel Huacuja Alonso 4.00 8/20

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

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

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.

Spring 2022: MDES GU4840
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4840 001/11229 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
609 Hamilton Hall
Nimmi Gowrinathan 4 15/20

Middle Eastern

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

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

Fall 2022: HIST UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 1002 001/10642 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Marc Van De Mieroop 4 0/75

AHUM UN1399 COLLOQUIUM ON MAJOR TEXTS. 4.00 points.

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/15194 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Bwy Alfred Lerner Hall
Christine Marrewa Karwoski 4.00 18/20
AHUM 1399 002/00557 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
501 Diana Center
Rachel McDermott 4.00 25/25
AHUM 1399 003/00713 W 1:10pm - 3:00pm
308 Diana Center
Nathanael Shelley 4.00 16/20
AHUM 1399 004/17294 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Sarah bin Tyeer 4.00 13/20
Fall 2022: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/00375 W 1:10pm - 3:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Nathanael Shelley 4.00 0/16
AHUM 1399 003/10804 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Sarah bin Tyeer 4.00 0/20

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.

Spring 2022: MDES UN2000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2000 001/00561 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Ll016 Milstein Center
Nathanael Shelley 4 18/20

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic intellectual, political, social, and cultural traditions up through 1800. Note: Students must register for a discussion section, ASCM UN2113.

Fall 2022: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/11893 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
4 0/90

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.

Spring 2022: MDES UN2006
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2006 001/13428 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
428 Pupin Laboratories
Wael Hallaq 4 70/135

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

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN2007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2007 001/17056 M 9:10am - 10:00am
511 Kent Hall
Wael Hallaq, Doha Tazi Hemida 0.00 8/15
MDES 2007 002/17057 M 5:10pm - 6:00pm
222 Pupin Laboratories
Wael Hallaq, Samyak Ghosh 0.00 13/15
MDES 2007 003/17060 W 9:10am - 10:00am
116 Knox Hall
Wael Hallaq, Navid Zarrinnal 0.00 15/15
MDES 2007 004/17165 M 10:00am - 10:50am
511 Kent Hall
Wael Hallaq, Doha Tazi Hemida 0.00 14/15
MDES 2007 005/17179 M 6:10pm - 7:00pm
412 Pupin Laboratories
Wael Hallaq, Samyak Ghosh 0.00 7/15
MDES 2007 006/17190 F 1:10pm - 2:00pm
423 Kent Hall
Wael Hallaq, Navid Zarrinnal 0.00 12/15

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

Spring 2022: ASCM UN2008
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2008 001/13158 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Matthew Keegan 4.00 37/90

ASCM UN2118 DISC SECT CONTEMP ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 0 points.

Required discussion section for ASCM UN2008: Contemporary Islamic Civilization

Spring 2022: ASCM UN2118
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2118 002/14080 W 10:10am - 11:00am
602 Northwest Corner
Ali Moughania, Matthew Keegan 0 11/22
ASCM 2118 004/14083 Th 4:10pm - 5:00pm
C01 Knox Hall
Ali Moughania, Matthew Keegan 0 12/15
ASCM 2118 005/14085 W 4:10pm - 5:00pm
327 Uris Hall
Ali Moughania, Matthew Keegan 0 12/20

RELI UN2305 Islam. 4 points.

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

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

Fall 2022: RELI UN2305
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 2305 001/11623 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Aziza Shanazarova 4 0/20

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.

Spring 2022: MDES UN2399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2399 001/00562 T 3:30pm - 5:20pm
327 Milbank Hall
Nathanael Shelley 4 7/20
Fall 2022: MDES UN2399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 2399 001/00365 T 3:30pm - 5:20pm
805 Altschul Hall
Nathanael Shelley 4 0/16

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.

HIST UN2611 Jews and Judaism in Antiquity. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Students must also enroll in required discussion section.

  Field(s): ANC

Spring 2022: HIST UN2611
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2611 001/12782 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
503 Hamilton Hall
Seth Schwartz 4 17/30

HIST UN2701 THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE. 4.00 points.

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

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 period. The many levels of continuity and change will be the focus, as will issues of identities and mentalities, confessional diversity, cultural and linguistic pluralism, and imperial governance and political belonging of the empire within larger regional and global perspectives over the centuries. The course also seeks to cultivate appreciation of the human experience through the multifarious experiences culled from the Ottoman past

Spring 2022: HIST UN2701
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2701 001/12809 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
310 Fayerweather
Tunc Sen 4.00 71/75
HIST 2701 AU1/18556 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
310 Fayerweather
Tunc Sen 4.00 5/5

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

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

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

Fall 2022: HIST UN2719
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2719 001/10614 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Rashid Khalidi 4 0/120

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. 

Fall 2022: MDES UN3000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3000 001/10801 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Debashree Mukherjee 4 0/90

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

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN3042
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3042 001/12033 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
330 Uris Hall
Joseph Massad 4 31/60

MDES UN3043 DISC SECT PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI. 0 points.

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN3043
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3043 001/13455 M 5:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Joseph Massad, Furkan Senturk 0 19/15
MDES 3043 003/13825 Th 6:10pm - 7:00pm
103 Knox Hall
Joseph Massad, Furkan Senturk 0 12/18

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

Spring 2022: CLME UN3221
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 3221 001/11993 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
507 Philosophy Hall
Sarah bin Tyeer 4.00 14/20

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.

Spring 2022: MDES UN3260
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3260 001/11529 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
614 Schermerhorn Hall
Timothy Mitchell 4 89/120

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

Spring 2022: CLME UN3266
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CLME 3266 001/15203 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
208 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 4.00 20/30

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN3331
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3331 001/13785 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
332 Uris Hall
Khatchig Mouradian 3.00 36/50

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN3422
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3422 001/18324 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Rana Baker 3.00 2/20

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ANTH UN3465
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3465 001/11700 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
142 Uris Hall
Lila Abu-Lughod 3 68/90

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

Spring 2022: CPLT BC3552
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CPLT 3552 002/00122 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Hisham Matar 4.00 13/15

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

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

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

Fall 2022: MDES UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3920 001/11799 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
208 Knox Hall
Joseph Massad 3 0/24

MDES UN3923 Central Questions in Islamic Law. 3 points.

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

Fall 2022: MDES UN3923
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3923 001/11802 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Wael Hallaq 3 0/25

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

Spring 2022: MDES UN3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3930 001/12324 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Muhsin Al-Musawi 3.00 26/25

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

Spring 2022: ANTH UN3933
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3933 001/17028 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Brinkley Messick 4.00 23/30

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

Fall 2022: MDES UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 3960 001/10799 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
403 Knox Hall
Hamid Dabashi 1.00 0/25

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.

Spring 2022: MDES GU4049
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4049 001/14449 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
402 Hamilton Hall
Sonia Ahsan 4 16/20

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4226
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4226 001/16817 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Mpr River Side Church
Matthew Keegan 4.00 7/20

CLME GU4231 Cold War Arab Culture. 4 points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4328
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4328 001/16818 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
507 Philosophy Hall
Armen Marsoobian 4.00 10/20

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

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

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.

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

Spring 2022: MDES GU4627
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4627 001/16819 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
652 Schermerhorn Hall
Mana Kia 4.00 10/15

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.

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

Spring 2022: HIST GU4711
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 4711 001/12821 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Tunc Sen 4.00 11/15

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.

Spring 2022: SOCI GU4801
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 4801 001/14063 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
311 Fayerweather
Yinon Cohen 4 14/18

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

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

Fall 2022: POLS GU4845
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4845 001/12750 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
4 0/20

Asian Civilizations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/11334 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Qingzhu Wang 4 55/60
Fall 2022: ASCE UN1359
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1359 001/10650 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
4 0/90

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/11335 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
413 Kent Hall
Gregory Pflugfelder 4.00 53/60
Fall 2022: ASCE UN1361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1361 001/10648 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Paul Kreitman 4.00 0/90

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

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

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

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

Spring 2022: ASCE UN1363
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1363 001/11336 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
415 Schapiro Cepser
Jungwon Kim 4 46/42

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

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

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

Fall 2022: ASCE UN1365
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1365 001/10649 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Lauran Hartley 4 0/60

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

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

Corequisites: ASCE UN1377

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

Fall 2022: ASCE UN1367
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCE 1367 001/10651 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 0/60

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic intellectual, political, social, and cultural traditions up through 1800. Note: Students must register for a discussion section, ASCM UN2113.

Fall 2022: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/11893 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
4 0/90

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

Spring 2022: ASCM UN2008
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2008 001/13158 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Matthew Keegan 4.00 37/90

ASCM UN2357 Introduction to Indian Civilization. 4 points.

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

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

Fall 2022: ASCM UN2357
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2357 001/00334 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Ll002 Milstein Center
Rachel McDermott 4 0/70

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.

Spring 2022: AHIS UN2600
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2600 001/15709 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Robert Harrist 3.00 14/25

AHIS UN2601 ARTS OF JAPAN. 3.00 points.

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

Fall 2022: AHIS UN2601
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 2601 001/00099 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
504 Diana Center
Jonathan Reynolds 3.00 0/48

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/13741 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Andrea Horisaki-Christens 3 18/21
AHUM 2604 002/15223 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Yeongik Seo 3 20/21
Fall 2022: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/12236 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Andrea Horisaki-Christens 3 0/21

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 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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/13742 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Kalyani Ramachandran 3.00 18/21
AHUM 2901 002/13743 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Tara Kuruvilla 3.00 17/21

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?

Spring 2022: AHIS UN3503
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3503 001/13731 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 4 10/15

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

Spring 2022: AHIS UN3621
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3621 001/15046 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Xu Tingting 4.00 13/16

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

Spring 2022: AHIS GU4042
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 4042 001/13788 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall
Kellie Jones 3.00 42/60

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

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

Asian Humanities

AHUM UN1399 COLLOQUIUM ON MAJOR TEXTS. 4.00 points.

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/15194 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Bwy Alfred Lerner Hall
Christine Marrewa Karwoski 4.00 18/20
AHUM 1399 002/00557 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
501 Diana Center
Rachel McDermott 4.00 25/25
AHUM 1399 003/00713 W 1:10pm - 3:00pm
308 Diana Center
Nathanael Shelley 4.00 16/20
AHUM 1399 004/17294 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Sarah bin Tyeer 4.00 13/20
Fall 2022: AHUM UN1399
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1399 001/00375 W 1:10pm - 3:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Nathanael Shelley 4.00 0/16
AHUM 1399 003/10804 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Sarah bin Tyeer 4.00 0/20

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

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/11331 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
405 Kent Hall
Gavin Healy 4 20/22
AHUM 1400 002/11332 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
522c Kent Hall
Yiwen Shen 4 20/20
AHUM 1400 003/11333 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
302 Fayerweather
Seong-Uk Kim 4 24/25
Fall 2022: AHUM UN1400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 1400 001/10646 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
John Phan 4 0/20
AHUM 1400 002/10647 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Ye Yuan 4 0/20
AHUM 1400 003/11068 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
4 0/20

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

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

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/13741 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Andrea Horisaki-Christens 3 18/21
AHUM 2604 002/15223 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Yeongik Seo 3 20/21
Fall 2022: AHUM UN2604
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2604 001/12236 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Andrea Horisaki-Christens 3 0/21

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

Spring 2022: AHUM UN2901
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHUM 2901 001/13742 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
807 Schermerhorn Hall
Kalyani Ramachandran 3.00 18/21
AHUM 2901 002/13743 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
930 Schermerhorn Hall
Tara Kuruvilla 3.00 17/21

Asian Music Humanities

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

Spring 2022: AHMM UN3320
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHMM 3320 001/10775 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
620 Dodge Building
Noah Rosen 3.00 26/25
AHMM 3320 002/10776 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
Jessie Rubin 3.00 30/25
AHMM 3320 003/10777 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
622 Dodge Building
Paola Messina 3.00 24/25
AHMM 3320 004/10778 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
814 Dodge Building
George Murer 3.00 27/25

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.

Fall 2022: AHMM UN3321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHMM 3321 001/10249 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
620 Dodge Building
Alessandra Ciucci 3 0/25
AHMM 3321 002/10250 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
3 0/25
AHMM 3321 003/10251 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
622 Dodge Building
3 0/25
AHMM 3321 004/10252 T Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
622 Dodge Building
3 0/25

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.

Spring 2022: MUSI GU4425
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MUSI 4425 001/10870 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
701c Dodge Building
Alessandra Ciucci 3 4/15

African History

AFCV UN1020 African Civilizations. 4 points.

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

This course provides a general introduction to some of the key intellectual debates in Africa by Africans through primary sources, including scholarly works, political tracts, fiction, art, and film. Beginning with an exploration of African notions of spiritual and philosophical uniqueness and ending with contemporary debates on the meaning and historical viability of an African Renaissance, this course explores the meanings of ‘Africa' and ‘being African.' Field(s): AFR*.  NO FIRST YEAR STUDENTS PERMITTED.

Spring 2022: AFCV UN1020
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AFCV 1020 001/11037 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
413 Hamilton Hall
Laura Fair 4 13/22
Fall 2022: AFCV UN1020
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AFCV 1020 001/13170 T Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
4 0/22
AFCV 1020 002/13190 T Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
4 0/22

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

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

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

HIST UN2772 West African History. 3 points.

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

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

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

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

Fall 2022: HSME UN2915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HSME 2915 001/10884 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Mamadou Diouf 4 0/30

HIST UN3012 African Voices & Colonial Documents: Uganda. 4.00 points.

This course introduces students to researching and writing African colonial history with a specific focus on Uganda. Students will be guided through the missionary sources available at Columbia and we will discuss how African voices can and cannot be found in these archives. At the end of the semester students will have produced an original primary source paper on Ugandan history

Spring 2022: HIST UN3012
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 3012 001/12868 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
302 Fayerweather
Rhiannon Stephens 4.00 10/15

ANTH BC3102 AFRICAN URBANISM. 3 points.

This class examines the production and experience of contemporary African urban life.  It examines emerging questions coming out of Africa about the nature of ‘ordinary’ cities; urban informality and the rise of so-called ‘slum urbanism’; urban infrastructures; religions and the production of enclave urbanism; transport and informal labor; and the sensory experience of ordinary urban life.  We will also explore different ways of understanding and representing the city including photography, film, sound, and art.

Spring 2022: ANTH BC3102
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3102 001/00522 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
324 Milbank Hall
Brian Larkin 3 24/29

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

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

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

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?

Spring 2022: AHIS UN3503
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AHIS 3503 001/13731 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
934 Schermerhorn Hall
Zoe Strother 4 10/15

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

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


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

HIST UN3789 Histories of Poverty in Africa. 4 points.

In this course we will explore in a critical manner the concept of poverty in Africa. The emphasis is on historicizing categories such as poverty and wealth, debt and charity and on the ways in which people in Africa have understood such categories. As such the course takes a longue durée approach spanning over a millennium of history, ending with contemporary understandings of poverty. 

Spring 2022: HIST UN3789
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 3789 001/12869 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
301m Fayerweather
Rhiannon Stephens 4 8/15

ANTH GU4066 Hydropolitics in Madagascar. 4.00 points.

GIS course with training in landscape analysis, digital mapping and web-based presentations of geospatial data. We will draw on archaeological and historical evidence, aerial photographs and satellite imagery to map and explore the history and politics of the irrigated landscape around Madagascar’s capital city. We will critically assess what different mapping techniques offer, and what kind of narratives they underpin or foreclose upon

MDES GU4142 Histories of Urban Africa: Work, Leisure, Love and Creative Young Lives. 4.00 points.

This course has multiple aims: to introduce students to the broad historiographical trends in the study of urban Africa, to acquaint students with some of the key issues and problems that have dominated studies of African cities, to examine key fulcrums of generational struggle in 20th century Africa, and to inspire deep thought and appreciation for the ways in which both theoretic questions and empirical methods impact our understanding of the past. This is a research seminar. Students will produce a research paper, focused in an African city, based on their original analysis of primary sources. We will explore the processes by which urban communities were built, and the various ways states and common people shaped the physical, material, social and cultural life of African cities. Gender and generation will be central foci in our analysis. Our readings will include both ‘classic texts’ and more recent scholarship on urban Africa. Our aims are to understand how the questions and concerns dominating urban studies have changed over time, as well as how scholars from various disciplines have utilized primary sources to approach the study of Africa’s urban past

Spring 2022: MDES GU4142
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4142 001/16816 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
207 Knox Hall
Laura Fair 4.00 6/20

MDES GU4160 Major Debates in the Study of Africa. 4 points.

This course will focus on key debates that have shaped the study of Africa in the post-colonial African academy.


We will cover six key debates: Historiography; Slavery: Premodern and Modern; State Formation; Colonialism and Difference; Nationalism; Political Identity and Political Violence


The approach will be multi-disciplinary. To the extent possible, readings will be illustrative of different sides in the debate.

RELI GU4213 Islam and the Secular: Rethinking Concepts of Religion in North-Western Africa and the Middle East. 4.00 points.

The class offers a critical discussion of the conceptual apparatus of the anthropology of Islam and secularism and of the ways in which it shapes recent interventions in history and theory but also in Islamic studies with a particular focus on North-Western Africa and the Middle East. The questions that will be examined during the class read as follows: 1. What is Islam: a religion or a cultural formation, a discursive tradition or a way of life? How is one to construct a definition of Islam beyond orientalist legacies? Can one define Islam anthropologically outside the tradition itself? 2. How did French and British Empires transform or destroyed Islamic institutions while governing Muslims in the Middle East and North-West Africa? Are these colonial technologies Christian or secular and is there a significant difference between Christian slavery and secular colonialism? To what extent is secularism reducible to an imperial ideology or to Christianity itself? 3. How did Muslims respond to the challenge of modernity and to European imperial hegemony? How can one think philosophically within the Islamic tradition after the hegemony of Europe and colonialism?

RELI GU4227 Empire and Decolonization in North Africa: Race, Religion, Climate. 4.00 points.

The course examines crucial debates in colonial and decolonial studies from a North African point of view, with a particular focus on Algeria. What does it mean to rethink conceptually and globally about empire and decoloniality from the point of view of North Africa ; a region which is often marginalized in both postcolonial and decolonial theory? The questions that will guide us throughout the class read as follows: 1) How is one to rethink the Maghreb without either reducing it to the history of French colonialism or downplaying the impact of colonialism on North Africa? How can binaries of direct rule and indirect rule, settler colonialism in Algeria and protectorates in Morocco and Tunisia be challenged in order to understand the postcolonial Maghreb as a unit? 2) Can one think about the historicity of the Maghreb without taking the destruction of Al-Andalus and its influence on the birth of race as a point of departure? Does the Christian racialization of Jews and Muslims through the notion of a purity of blood permeate the French colonization of the Maghreb? Is French colonialism in North Africa secular or Christian? How does secularity emerge in the midst of this history by reconfiguring the legacy of the Crusades? 3) How are Muslims and particularly Sufi orders involved in the practices of resistance against French colonial violence? How are traditional Islamic languages and practices of sainthood or the longing of the Mahdi redeployed in this situation? How do these practices and languages of resistance transform themselves with the construction of anticolonial nationalism? How can one rethink decolonization by analyzing how Algiers became the capital of Third World resistance at a global scale? 4) How do contemporary debates about Islam, tradition and modernity deploy themselves in the Maghreb and particularly in Morocco? How do these debates shape our understanding of decolonization?

Spring 2022: RELI GU4227
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
RELI 4227 001/14075 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
101 80 Claremont
Mohamed Ait Amer Meziane 4.00 9/20

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.

Spring 2022: MDES GU4840
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
MDES 4840 001/11229 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
609 Hamilton Hall
Nimmi Gowrinathan 4 15/20

Cross Listed Courses

ASCM UN2003 Introduction to Islamic Civilization. 4 points.

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

Lecture and recitation. Islamic civilization and its characteristic intellectual, political, social, and cultural traditions up through 1800. Note: Students must register for a discussion section, ASCM UN2113.

Fall 2022: ASCM UN2003
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ASCM 2003 001/11893 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
4 0/90