Graduate Courses 2022-2023







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.
  • Epigraphy.
  • Gazeteers (secular and monastic).
  • Dynastic histories.
  • Biji, anecdotal sources and unofficial histories.
  • Poetry.
  • Art historical sources.

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 514B (035) – National Narratives in Chinese Literature and Film [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Renren Yang

Term 2, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:00pm, Classroom: BUCH D306
Undergraduate Course: ASIA 443 001

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 517 (035) – Chinese Media Studies: Theories and Histories [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Renren Yang

Term 1, Wednesdays, 1:30pm-4:30pm, Classroom: SOWK 324

This course surveys a range of key theories and research that defines pathways for thinking about media in the Chinese context. In addition to considering the historical and philosophical genesis of media, the course is scaffolded along four umbrella themes: power, materiality, technology, and aesthetics. We will analyze not only how media evolution has changed (and been changed by) our perception of sociopolitical realities and our pro-consumption of cultural artefacts, but also how social, political, and ecological forces shape the organization, function, and reception of media technologies, as media today are inextricably associated with power relations, object affordances, communication modes, and representational systems. We start with acknowledged classics to find the strange in the familiar when critical media theories migrate into the Chinese context. We then look at some historically and theoretically informed studies that probe alternative approaches to a critical theory of media, joining the call to decolonize media studies in the Global South. Through engaging with media specificities and convergences in Chinese individual and collective experience, this course aims to extend and complicate the insights of Western media theories into the nexus of technologies, arts, and cultural politics.





ASIA 535 (033) – Japanese Cinema Studies: Theory and Practice [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Colleen Laird

Term 2, Wednesdays, 12:00pm-3:00pm, Classroom: BUCH B316

This graduate seminar serves as an introduction to both Japanese cinema studies and foundational film theory. Participants will engage with primary theoretical texts including essays by filmmakers and critics in Japanese, monographs that have historically shaped the field of Japanese cinema studies, scholarship that demonstrates close readings of Japanese films, and the practice of formal sequence analysis. To understand the global context of Japanese cinema throughout motion picture history, participants will be required to watch both Japanese films and films from other national cinemas. Students should be prepared to watch several films per week in addition to time allocated for readings. Although all non-English, non-Japanese language films will have English subtitles, some Japanese language films do not. Graduate students interested in the course who do not have Japanese language reading/aural comprehension skills are welcome but should consult with the instructor at the beginning of the term for reading and viewing alternatives.



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

Term 1, Mondays, 10:00am-12:30pm, Classroom: BUCH B316

This seminar is designed to help students acquire insights into the governing system of the Chosŏn Dynasty. For that, a select list of readings will be assigned for analysis. In this seminar, emphasis will be placed on the importance of becoming familiar with key terms and concepts, understanding context and structure, and discussing relevant theoretical issues. The seminar will feature students’ presentations and open discussion.

Note: NO prerequisite required.

South Asia


Theories, Methods & Pan-Regional


ASIA 516 (039) – Indigenous Experience in Asia and Decolonizing Methodologies [3.0 credits]   
Instructor: Dr. Aynur Kadir

Term 2, Wednesdays, 11:00am-2:00pm, Classroom:  BUCH B216

Indigeneity, from India to Taiwan, China, and Japan, has increasingly become a mainstream topic both nationally and internationally. In this graduate seminar, students will be introduced to the contested topic of Indigeneity, diverse processes of localization (or rejection) of Indigenous identities, and how Indigeneity plays roles in national and international politics and activism beyond ideas of identity. We will consider the social situations in which Indigenous politics emerge and examine the groups fighting for and building solidarities within the global Indigenous movement. The seminar will explore theories and practices of decolonizing methodologies and how these approaches are transforming the fields of social sciences and humanities around the world, with a focus on how they have been applied and used in and for Asian studies.

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


ASIA 561B (031) – Popular Cultures in Asia: Theories and Methods [3.0 credits]
Instructor: Dr. Hyung-Gu Lynn

Term 2, Mondays, 4:00pm-7:00pm, Classroom:  BUCH B302

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.





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