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East Asian Languages & Literatures

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EAL Courses for Fall 2015


EAL 131 Writing and Power in China

This class will explore how writing has been used to gain, maintain, and overturn power in China from antiquity through the present, functioning as an expression of individual agency, a force for social change, and an instrument of state power. Drawing on primary sources in a wide range of genres and media, from oracle bones and classical philosophy to poetry, propaganda, and social media, we will examine how different kinds of writing have shaped history and how different forms of textual transmission contain and disseminate power. All readings will be in English translation. {L} Credits: 4
Jessica Moyer


EAL 231 The Culture of the Lyric in Traditional China

China grounds its literary tradition in lyric poetry. One enduring definition of lyric, or shi, in the Chinese tradition is the natural, direct expression and reflection of one’s inner spirit as a result of a unique encounter with the world. This course is an introduction to masterworks of the Chinese lyric tradition from its oral beginnings through the Qing dynasty. Through close, careful readings of folk songs, poems, prose, and excerpts from the novel Dream of the Red Chamber, students will inquire into how the spiritual, philosophical and political concerns dominating the poets' milieu shaped the lyric language through the ages. All readings are in English translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. {L} Credits: 4
Sujane Wu


EAL 242 Modern Japanese Literature

A survey of Japanese literature from the late 19th century to the present. Over the last century and a half, Japan has undergone tremendous change: rapid industrialization, imperial and colonial expansion, occupation following its defeat in the Pacific War, and emergence as a global economic power. The literature of modern Japan reflects the complex aesthetic, cultural and political effects of such changes. Through our discussions, we also address theoretical questions about such concepts as identity, gender, race, sexuality, nation, class, colonialism, modernism and translation. All readings are in English translation. {L} Credits: 4
Kimberly Kono


EAL 271 Crafting the Self in Japan

This course considers the dynamics, aims and expectations in the act of self-writing. We explore the tradition of writing the self in Japanese literature. Starting with an examination of the poetic diaries of Heian courtiers and moving to the diaries of poets Kamo no Chomei and Matsuo Basho, we then explore the influence of these traditions upon Japanese writing throughout the 20th century and the emergence of the I-novel. What are the motivations behind recording one’s life experience? What are the conventions of self-writing? What is the role of memory and notions of the “truth” in self-writing? {L} Credits: 4
Kimberly Kono