Graduate Courses 2023-2024



ASIA 570B (042) – Indigenous Environmentalism in Asia [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Pasang Sherpa

Term 2, Tuesdays, 1:00pm-4:00pm, Classroom: TBA

This course will examine human-environment relationships through the works of Indigenous scholars from different parts of Asia to understand the position, the context, and the material with which they illuminate Indigenous environmentalism. By centering Indigenous communities and their experiences, students will learn about a rich variety of ways Indigenous environmentalism is embodied, expressed, and experienced.



ASIA 501A (017 and 617) – Research Methods and Source Materials in Classical Chinese Studies [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Leo Shin

Term 1, Mondays, 3:00pm-5:30pm, Classroom: TBA

An introduction to some of the research tools for the study of pre-modern China. Topics to be covered will in part depend on the students’ research interests. Special attention will be given to the expanding universe of digital resources. Interested students should contact the instructor for additional information.


ASIA 502A (026 and 626) – Modern Chinese Fiction in Global Perspective [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Rea

Term 1, Mondays, 2:00pm-5:00pm, Classroom: Buchanan D209

This course focuses on modern Chinese literature in relation to concepts such as world literature, the Sinophone, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, globalization, and critical theory. Focusing on the case of fiction, including novels and short stories, we will explore various methodologies and analytical frameworks for deriving meaning from individual creative works, and for understanding a broader field of activity. While some literary works will be available in English translation, others require reading knowledge of Chinese.


ASIA 511B (012) – Readings in Chinese Religious Texts [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Jinhua Chen

Term 1, Mondays, 10:00am-12:30pm, Classroom: BUCH B216

Topics of this course will be flexible, adjusting to the interest and background of the students. Selections for readings can be from any important Chinese Buddhist and Taoist texts belonging to any major Buddhist and Taoist traditions of any period. Focus is given to the doctrinal issues implied in a specific genre of Buddhist and Taoist texts. Methodological issues of interpreting Chinese Buddhist and Taoist texts are also to be discussed.
In addition to intensive reading of the original texts, students are to be trained in some basic methods indispensable for the research of Sinology in general and Buddhism and Taoism in particular. Students will be required to demonstrate at least basic competence in all the following areas:

  • Dictionaries (general and specialized).
  • Bibliographies and bibliographic databases in European and East Asian languages.
  • Historical Geography of China, Central Asia and India.
  • Use of maps, atlases and dictionaries.
  • Biography (religious and secular).
  • Official and religious titles.
  • Dates and chronologies.
  • Books and authors.
  • Structure and content of the Buddhist (and Taoist) canons.
  • Extra-canonical works and collectanea.
  • Indices and concordances (including electronic resources such as the Academia Sinica website).
  • Dunhuang materials.
  • Gazeteers (secular and monastic).
  • Dynastic histories.
  • Biji, anecdotal sources and unofficial histories.

By the end of this course students are expected to punctuate original Chinese Buddhist and Taoist texts correctly, translate them appropriately and interpret them both faithfully and creatively.



ASIA 570A (035) – Author, Media, Fame [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Renren Yang

Term 1, Wednesdays, 1:00pm-4:00pm, Classroom: Math 202

This course introduces students to celebrity culture studies with a focus on how the changing media ecologies facilitate the making and unmaking of celebrity authorship. Topics may include comparative histories of authorship, what is authority/charisma/iconicity, socialist models and the cult of Mao, literary prizes, televisual/cinematic star image, AI celebrities, and digital fandom. Theorists may include Walter Benjamin, Foucault, Richard Sennett, Charles Taylor, Chris Rojek, Butler, Haraway, Bishnupriya Ghosh and Hiroki Azuma. Students can also propose other readings on celebrity culture.



ASIA 514A (035) – National Narratives in Modern China [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Renren Yang

Term 1, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00am-11:30am, Classroom: West Mall Swing Space (SWNG) 309
Combined with ASIA 443 011

Since the dawn of modernity, the nation has been a key player on the world-historical stage and a critical unit of social and political analysis. It has also been an all-consuming subject in modern Chinese literature and culture and has in recent decades come to define an important area of intellectual inquiry in Chinese studies. This course explores the figure of the nation as it is constructed, deconstructed, and continuously contested in fiction, poems, dramas, films, essays, and other media from the late imperial period to the 21st century in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora. Specifically, we ask how the myth of nationalism, and the interplay between nationalism and cosmopolitanism yoke together aesthetics and politics and mediate the experience of colonialism, revolution, and global capitalism. On the one hand, we explore the nation’s internal fault lines of class, gender, ethnicity, geography, and language and their intersection with transnational forces. On the other hand, we study how world-minded writers and artists learned ideas from the West, critiqued and renewed traditional cultural resources, and articulated China’s place in the global community beyond the framework of nationalism.



ASIA 590 (004) – Topics in Chinese Literature [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Alison Bailey

Term 2, Thursdays, 3:00pm-6:00pm, Classroom: Irving K Barber Learning Centre Room 460

This course will focus on philosophical, literary and visual representations of emotion in pre-modern and modern China, tracing various themes, definitions, concepts, categories and trajectories across time. We will explore certain typologies of emotional expression in a range of texts, visual images, and contexts to navigate the vast and complex histories of emotion, using a variety of different lenses and approaches to try to understand what, who, how, which, where, and when shape, define and articulate emotion.




ASIA 533A (006) – Topics in Modern Japanese Literature [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Christina Yi

Term 1, Date and Time: Thursdays 3:00pm-5:00pm, Classroom: Buchanan (BUCH) B307

The topic for 2023W for this graduate seminar will be on dystopia in modern and contemporary Japanese literature, with particular attention to the interrelated workings of language politics, literary production, and gender.


ASIA 570B (006) – Approaches to Asian Literature [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Christina Yi

Term 2, Date and Time: Fridays 10:30am-12:30pm, Classroom: West Mall Swing Space (SWNG) 105

Course description: TBA


ASIA 519 (044) – Korean Popular Music in Context [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Jee-Yeon Song

Term 1, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00pm-3:30pm. Classroom: Buchanan (BUCH) A202
Combined with ASIA 327 011.

History, contexts, and the genres of Korean popular music. Students will analyze specific artists and songs using a range of approaches. While an understanding of basic concepts of music will be helpful, no previous exposure to ethnomusicology or music performance is required.


ASIA 587A (007) – The Choson Dynasty [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Nam-lin Hur

Term 1, Mondays, 10:00am-12:30pm. Classroom: Buchanan (BUCH) B214

This seminar is designed to help students acquire an in-depth knowledge of the governing system of the Chosŏn Dynasty. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of becoming familiar with key terms and concepts, understanding context and underlying structure, discussing relevant theoretical issues, as well as reading primary sources, at both macro- and micro-levels. The seminar will feature the instructor’s introductory remarks, students’ presentations, and open discussion.


ASIA 584B (008) – Topics in Traditional Korean Literature [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Ross King

Term 2, Fridays, 2:00pm-5:00pm. Classroom: Buchanan (BUCH) B312

We will spend the term reading from several different Chosŏn-era works in hanmun (Literary Sinitic) across several different genres including: mongyurok (dream journey account), yadam, mock petitions in idu, a 15th-c. Buddhist work (with both kugyŏl and ŏnhae), and a primer in Sinitic poetry.

South Asia

ASIA 552A (038) – Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema [3.0 credits] (online)
Instructor: Dr. Mostafa Abedinifard

Term 1, Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00am-10:30am
Combined with ASIA 394 011.

Gender politics, family relationships, and women’s social, economic, and political roles in post-revolutionary Iran as shown through Iranian cinema.


ASIA 576A (032) – Afghan History [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Naveena Naqvi

Term 1, Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00am-12:30pm.  Classroom: West Mall Swing Space (SWNG) 207
Combined with ASIA 359 011.

Afghan history as it unfolded from the Eurasian empires to the modern era of nation-building and internationalism.


Theories, Methods & Pan-Regional

ASIA 591 (010) – Critical Issues in Asian Studies [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Harjot Oberoi

Term 1, Wednesdays, 5:00pm-7:30pm. Classroom: Buchanan B316

Proseminar introducing major methodological and conceptual themes in the contemporary study of Asia, modern and pre-modern. Required of all Asian Studies PhD students, normally in their first year.


ASIA 592 (206) – The Profession of Asian Studies [3.0 credits] 
Instructor: Dr. Christina Yi

Term 1, Wednesdays, 5:00pm-7:00pm, Classroom: Buchanan B209

In this course, students will gain important knowledge and skills relevant to MA program. Topics we will discuss include expectations for seminar participation and writing at the graduate level, grant proposals, the ins and outs of conference participation (including giving presentations), MA thesis writing, PhD program overviews, and the history and theories of “area studies.” The course is strongly recommended for all incoming MA students.

NOTE: This version of the course is for MA students. MA students should sign up for this section.


ASIA 598 (001) – Museum in Asia and Beyond [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura

Term 1, Thursdays, 10:00am-1:00pm, Classroom: Buchanan Room 316
Combined with ASIA 498 011 (a class of 15 students).  All classes will be held in person in the room indicated or in museum galleries and in person attendance is mandatory for the course.

Visual and material representations of Asia through an exploration of various media including art, photography, and museums.

NOTE: This seminar counts for the pan-Asian theory course requirement for Asian Studies PhD students.


ASIA 519 (031) – Popular Cultures in Asia: Theories and Methods [3.0 credits] (online)
Instructor: Dr. Hyung-Gu Lynn

Term 2, Mondays, 5:30pm-8:30pm

The course will cover a range of theories, old and new, mobilized in studies of popular culture om general and Asia in particular. The seminar will engage through critical reading and discussion a mix of oft-used classics to forgotten gems, works inspiring for their cogency to those that might inspire for their promise rather than delivery. The media covered will include film, visual art, photography, cartoons and animation, games, food, cosmetics, and music. The focus will largely be on Asia, but will also include discussions of diasporic production and consumption, as well as references to examples from the rest of the world.

NOTE: This seminar counts for the pan-Asian theory course requirement for Asian Studies PhD students.


ASIA 590 (036) / ASIA 570B (036) – Thinking with the Body: Embodied, Sensory, and Non-Representational Methodologies [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Ayaka Yoshimizu

Term 2, Fridays, 2:00pm-5:00pm, Classroom: Buchanan D214

This course begins with a premise that research is a multisensorial, corporeal activity and approaches scholars’ (our) bodies critically as sites of knowing. While each of our bodies is unique, specific, and differently situated and emplaced, they are also places of inter-corporeal encounters with other human and non-human bodies and objects. We will examine, together and separately, how knowledge is generated through our classed, gendered, racialized, (dis)abled bodies as we move through the street, reading a story and becoming sentimental, being touched by “haptic images,” smelling a particular odor, and being haunted by “ghostly matters.”

This is an interdisciplinary course. Students will be exposed to embodied, sensory, and non-representational approaches developed and emerging in various disciplines and fields, including Anthropology, Geography, Sociology, Communication and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Literary Studies, Performance Studies, Sound Studies, and Visual Studies. Throughout the term we will exercise “sensory embodied reflexivity,” examining how our positionalities, past experiences, and relationalities affect the way we make sense of the reality. The course format will be a mix of conventional seminar discussions and workshops informed by the weekly materials. Students will bring their research topic/project/object to class and work with it through various embodied approaches over the course of the term.


ASIA 592 (005) – The Profession of Asian Studies [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Bruce Rusk

Term 2, Wednesdays, 5:00pm-7:30pm, Classroom: Buchanan B312

Introduction to essential skills for academic and professional work in Asian Studies. Outlines career trajectories in the PhD and beyond, including grant applications, cv-writing, and job searches. Required of Asian Studies PhD students, normally in their first year.

Note: This course is required for all first-year Asian Studies PhD students. PhD candidates in Asian Studies a year or two before their expected graduation are encouraged to audit the course. PhD students in other programs may enrol with the permission of the instructor.



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