Asian Studies (ASIA)

Undergraduate ASIA Courses

A comprehensive list of courses offered by the Department of Asian Studies can be found in the UBC Calendar.

Winter 2019

ASIA100 Introduction to Traditional Asia Sections

A survey of the histories and cultures of Asia before 1600 and the coming of the Europeans. Emphasis will be given to parallel themes in the development of the civilizations of South, Southeast and East Asia.

ASIA101 Introduction to Modern Asia Sections

A survey of the emergence of modern Asia. Aims at an understanding of how the various peoples of Asia have maintained distinctive cultural identities despite centuries of political, economic, social and cultural change.

Winter 2019

ASIA208 Cultural Foundations of South Asia Sections

A survey of South Asian cultures, including language and literature, art, religion, polity and society, as they developed in the past and have been transformed in the modern period.

ASIA212 Writing About Japan Sections

Literary, historiographic, religious, and feminist approaches to Japanese myths, legal tracts, religious tales, fiction, and poetry.

ASIA250 Introduction to Buddhism Sections

Origins, basic teachings, development of Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric traditions, historical spread first through Asia and later the world, and Buddhism in contemporary societies.

ASIA254 Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Japanese Literature and Film Sections

The integral role that sex, gender, and sexuality play in literary and cinematic works from Japan. Literary works will be read in translation, movies will be subtitled.

Winter 2019

ASIA300 Writing and Culture in East Asia Sections

Practical, aesthetic, historical, technological and political issues pertaining to the use of Chinese characters - hanzi (Chinese), kanji (Japanese), or hanccha (Korean) - throughout the region.

ASIA301 Buddhism in the Modern Era Sections

Buddhism from the nineteenth century to present day with special emphasis on its history and character in local settings, including specific traditions such as Tibetan Nyingma and Japanese Zen, as well as the development of a modern and global "Buddhism."

ASIA303 Mahayana Buddhism Sections

Historical and philosophical development of Mahayana Buddhism.

ASIA305 Asian Horror Cinema: National Nightmares and Specters of Trauma Sections

Engaging with the ideologies, industrial histories, socio-cultural contexts, and aesthetics of horror films - and the genre itself - from various Asian cinemas.

ASIA307 Korean Language and Writing in Culture and Society Sections

An examination of Korean language and writing using approaches from sociolinguistics, the sociology of language, and linguistic anthropology.

ASIA308 Myth, Ritual and Epic in Ancient India Sections

Myths of creation Gods and goddesses of the Vedic pantheon. Connections with myths in other parts of the world, particularly in the Indo-European tradition. Literary representations of the myths.

ASIA309 South Asian Beyond South Asia Sections

A history of South Asian peoples and communities that emigrated overseas, including Indo-Canadians.

ASIA310C Studies in the History of a Major Asian Civilization - STDS HIST MAJ AS Sections

Study of an Asian culture area different from those covered in existing courses. Not given every year. Consult Department for details. May be taken multiple times on different subjects for credit.

ASIA311 Tibetan Buddhism Sections

Religious terrain of the Tibetan cultural realm, looking at the history and development of Tibetan Buddhism and key ideas of the four main Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

ASIA313 Tibetan and Himalayan Culture and Society Sections

History and culture of the Himalayan regions, including India, China, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.

ASIA314 Premodern Japan Sections

Japanese history (political, economic, social and cultural) to 1600.

ASIA315 Japan from Feudal to Modern State Sections

Japanese history from 1600 to the Meiji Restoration. Political, economic, social and cultural forces which were involved in transforming Japan.

ASIA317 The Rise of Korean Civilization Sections

The evolution of a distinctive Korean civilization within the East Asian cultural sphere. Primary focus on cultural, social and political development from the earliest times to the sixteenth century.

ASIA320 History of Early China Sections

History of China from the earliest times to the disintegration of the Tang empire. Students will acquire the analytical skills and tools to understand the origins and foundations of Chinese society.

ASIA323 History of Cantonese Worlds Sections

The history, culture, languages, and identities of the multi-faceted Cantonese worlds, in the context of Chinese history and the Cantonese diaspora.

ASIA325 Hong Kong Cinema Sections

A survey of the cinema of Hong Kong from the post-war period to the present. The influence of Hong Kong on global cinema, and the forces (artists, studios, audiences, etc.) that have given rise to filmmaking styles and genres perceived as "distinctively Hong Kong."

ASIA326 Critical Approaches to Manga and Anime Sections

A critical introduction to Japanese manga and anime in the 20th and 21st centuries.

ASIA327 Korean Popular Music in Context Sections

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.

ASIA330 Islam in South Asia Sections

Islam as a transnational phenomenon with specific reference to its South Asian forms.

ASIA332 Confucianism in China and Beyond: Reinventions of Tradition Sections

Key ideas and trends in Confucian thought and practice from its origins to modern times through primary sources in translation and secondary scholarship.

ASIA333 Contemporary South Asian Gender and Sexuality Studies Sections

Main theories and key concepts with a particular focus on the changing status of women, and gender and sexual minorities.

ASIA337 The Korean People in Modern Times (1600 to the present) Sections

The transformation of Korea from a Confucian state into an industrial nation. The rise of nationalism and modern ideologies in Korea. Cultural, social and economic changes Korea has undergone as it has entered the modern world.

ASIA338 Modern India: From Conquest to Raj Sections

The history of India from the coming of the Europeans to the rise of the nationalist movement with emphasis on the social and economic impact of British imperialism.

ASIA340 History of Later Imperial China Sections

History of China from the end of Tang to the eve of its modern transformation. Students will acquire the analytical skills and tools to understand the political, socio-economic, and cultural changes in imperial China.

ASIA342 Chinese Literature in Translation: The Vernacular Tradition Sections

Readings in drama and fiction, 800 to 1800 AD. The emergence of vernacular genres as distinct from and sometimes opposed to the existing classical genres.

ASIA344A Topics in Japanese Cultural History I: Aristocrats and Warriors - TPCS JAPN CLT I Sections

Focuses each year on a specific topic related to the courtly or warrior culture of Japan.

ASIA345 Chinese Film Classics Sections

Introduction to and analysis of artistically significant films made in mainland China during the first half century of Chinese film history.

ASIA347 Traditional Korean Literature in Translation Sections

An introduction to Korean literature from ancient times to 1900.

ASIA351 Modern Chinese Fiction in Translation Sections

Reading of selected novels and stories written between 1750 and the present.

ASIA353 Introduction to Hindi Film Sections

History, aesthetics, politics, and social roles of Bollywood films. Seminar discussions in English; Hindi films with English subtitles.

ASIA354 Introduction to Japanese Cinema Sections

Students will be introduced to the work of the major directors (e.g., Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, Itami, Oshima, Shinoda). Ideological uses of literary texts and period pieces (e.g., Ugetsu, Life of Oharu, Double Suicide). Impact of depiction of Japanese in American film.

ASIA355 History of Chinese Cinema Sections

Introduction to the work of major directors.

ASIA356 Korean Cinema Sections

Introduction to the work of the major film makers.

ASIA357 Modern Korean Literature in Translation Sections

Selected fiction and poetry written between 1917 and the present.

ASIA361 Modern Chinese Fiction in Translation II Sections

A thematic survey of modern Chinese fiction and film in translation.

ASIA364A Modern Japanese Literature in Translation - MOD JAPN LIT TRN Sections

An introduction to the literature and cultural history of modern Japan, with readings drawn from various literary genres, from 1868 to the present.

ASIA365 Punjabi Cinema Sections

Punjabi culture, history, and social values through films. The class includes film viewings and seminar discussions. Films will be screened with English subtitles.

ASIA367 Contemporary Korean Culture Sections

An introduction to the literature, drama, music, and art of Korea today. Particular attention will be paid to the continuing influence of traditional themes and forms.

ASIA370 The Sanskrit Cosmopolis: India and the World, 200-1500 CE Sections

Languages, religions, art forms, and political structures of Asian societies shaped by creative encounters with Sanskrit.

ASIA371 Foundations of Chinese Thought Sections

Chinese thought from its beginnings until the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) in its historical and cultural contexts. Includes, among others: Confucius; Mo Zi; the Legalists/Authoritarians; Zhuang Zi; the Lao Zi book.

ASIA372 Development of Traditional Chinese Thought Sections

Chinese thought from the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) to Wang Yangming (1472-1529) in its historical and cultural contexts.

ASIA373 History of Hong Kong Sections

History, culture, and identities of Hong Kong from the early 1800s to the present.

ASIA375 Global Chinese Cinemas Sections

A survey of Chinese cinemas in global perspective, covering films, filmmakers, producers, audiences, markets, industries, and critical discourse since the early twentieth century. Covers both cinematic culture and filmmaking technique.

ASIA378 Philosophical Wisdom of Early India Sections

Epistemological and ontological thought from the Vedic period to the period of the rise of philosophical schools or systems Philosophy in the Mahabharata, Gita; early Buddhist and Jain views on knowledge and reality; views on language.

ASIA382 Buddhism in China Sections

History, thought, and practices of Chinese Buddhism from its beginnings until the twentieth century.

ASIA384 The Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu) Sections

Introduction to a foundational text of East Asian thought. Both the primary text and its reception in traditional and modern contexts will be examined.

ASIA386 Chinese Grammar and Usage I Sections

In-depth examination of modern Chinese grammar and its usage including word formation, syntactic constructions, discourse cohesions, semantics, and stylistic considerations.

ASIA387 Japanese Religions Sections

An introduction to traditional Japanese religions including Shinto, Buddhism, Shugendo, Confucianism, new religions and folklore, and their roles in Japanese history, culture and society.

ASIA388 Buddhist, Brahamanical and Jain Philosophers in Interaction Sections

Debates on issues of epistemology, language and ontology among the philosophical schools or systems of classical India Nagarjuna, Bhartrhari, Uma-svati, Sankara and others.

ASIA389 Life Writings of South Asian Diasporic Women Sections

Auto/biographies and life writings of South Asian women in the Diaspora. Emphasizes theories of representation, subjectivity, agency, difference, and memory.

ASIA390 History of the Indian Ocean World Sections

Societies and empires shaped by voyages of exploration, religious pilgrimages, trading diasporas and forced migration in the world of the Indian Ocean.

ASIA392 Classical Persian Literature in English Translation Sections

Works of classical Persian literature dating from the tenth to the seventeenth century (in English translation).

ASIA393 History of Iran from the Sasanians to the Safavids Sections

Iranian history from the fall of the Sasanian empire and the Arab conquest of Iran to the rise of Iranian dynasties in the east, the reign of Turkic and Turko-Mongolian rulers, and the formation of a Shiite Iran under the Safavids.

ASIA394 Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema Sections

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

ASIA395 Modern Persian Literature Sections

Modern Persian literature, including fiction, drama, and/or poetry, of Iran, Afghanistan, and/or Tajikistan dating from the mid-19th to the 21st century (in English translation).

ASIA396 Chinese Grammar and Usage II Sections

In-depth examination of modern Chinese grammar and its usage including word formation, syntactic constructions, discourse cohesions, semantics, and stylistic considerations. Continuation of ASIA 386.

ASIA397 The Idea of India Sections

History of cultural ideas that led to Indias transformation from a traditional, colonial society tied to the British empire to a postcolonial, pluralistic, development oriented parliamentary democracy.

ASIA398 Narrative Literature in Premodern India Sections

Stories of gods, goddesses and religious heroes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, Avadanas and in classical poetry and drama.

ASIA399 Films of the South Asian Diaspora Sections

Contemporary films of the South Asian Diaspora, with a focus on Canada, US, and UK. Emphasizes theories of representation, visual and cultural analysis.

Winter 2019

ASIA402 Language, Writing, and Linguistic Thought in the History of the Sinographic Cosmopolis Sections

History of language, writing and linguistic thought in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam from a comparative perspective and focusing on the dissolution of this translocal cultural formation with the onset of modernity.

ASIA407 North Korea in Historical Context Sections

Analytical overview of North Korea's politics, society, and economy.

ASIA410 International Relations in Premodern East Asia Sections

International relations, particularly between Korea and Japan in the premodern East Asian context, focusing on migration, trade, diplomacy, war, collective memory, mutual perceptions, and the context of the Sinocentric international order.

ASIA411 Chinese Political Thought and Institutions Sections

Chinese theories and practices of government and administration from earliest times to 1949.

ASIA412 Pre-Modern Chinese Poetry (Pre-Qin to Tang) Sections

Features and evolution of major pre-Chinese poetry from the 11th century B.C.E. to the 10th century C.E.; analytical reading of signature poems by selected poets in English translation in the pre-modern Chinese poetic tradition during this historical period.

ASIA413 Pre-Modern Chinese Poetry (Tang to Qing) Sections

The features and evolution of pre-Chinese poetry from the 10th century to the 19th century; analytical reading of signature poems by selected poets in English translation in the pre-modern Chinese poetic tradition during this historical period.

ASIA428 Mughal India Sections

History of the politics, economy, society, and culture of South Asia from the Great Mughals to the British conquest.

ASIA430 International Relations in Modern East Asia: Korea and Japan Sections

Trade, diplomacy, war, imperialism, militarism, colonialism, collective memory, mutual perceptions Korean-Japanese relations are examined as an exemplary case for exploring the dimensions of international conflict and partnership.

ASIA431 Tibetan Literature, Genres, and Book Culture Sections

Tibetan literature, textual genres, and book and printing culture from the seventh century to the present.

ASIA433 The Cinematic Lives of Muslims in South Asia Sections

Depictions of Muslims in South Asian cinema, with a particular focus on the Hindi film industry.

ASIA440 Cultural History of Imperial China Sections

An in-depth examination of the construction, transmission, and transformation of Chinese culture(s) prior to 1800. Credit will be granted for only one of ASIA 440 or HIST 479.

ASIA441A Masterworks of Chinese Fiction and Drama in Translation - CHIN FIC&DRAM TR Sections

Reading of a classic novel or play, with attention to intellectual, social, and political subtexts as well as aesthetic dimensions and problems of interpretation.

ASIA444 Topics in Modern Japanese Fiction and Cultural History Sections

Focuses on a limited time period or particular aspect of modern Japanese literature.

ASIA445 Japanese Crime Fiction Sections

Examines representations of crime and criminality in modern and contemporary Japanese literature.

ASIA448 Narrative and Performance in South Asia Sections

Key theoretical issues in the production and enactment of folk narratives in traditional and modern South Asian cultures. Intended for advanced undergraduates in Asian folklore studies. Credit will be granted for only one of ASIA 448 or ASIA 547.

ASIA450Z Special Topics in Buddhist Studies - BUDDHIST STUDIES Sections

For upcoming offerings, including course descriptions, please see section information in the UBC course schedule at

ASIA451 Modern Chinese Authors in Translation Sections

Study of one influential modern Chinese author, such as Lu Xun, Shen Congwen, Eileen Chang, Yu Hua, Mo Yan, or Wang Anyi.

ASIA453 Japanese Travel Literature Sections

Japanese travel literature (myths, legends, poetry, tales, diaries, illustrated guides, satiric sermons, haiku, comic fiction, colonial reporting, and ethnography) from the 8th century to present.

ASIA456 History and Culture of Taiwan Sections

The major social, economic, political, and cultural changes in Taiwan since the seventeenth century; the post-World War II process of democratization and Taiwans place in the contemporary world.

ASIA470 Comparative Conceptions of the Self Sections

Ways in which the "self" has been portrayed in eastern and western religious traditions. Thinkers to be considered include Aristotle, Mencius, Freud, Xunzi (Hsn-tzu), Nietzsche, and Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu).

ASIA474 From the Chronicle to the Archive: Cultures of History in South Asia Sections

Examines how South Asian pasts have been memorialized in writing, from medieval chronicles to the development of history as a modern academic discipline in the nineteenth century. Credit cannot be granted for both ASIA 474 and ASIA 574.

ASIA476Z Topics in South Asian Studies - TCS SOUTH ASIA Sections

Seminar class designed to explore current scholarly debates in South Asian and Sikh Studies. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor. Credit will be granted for only one of ASIA 476 or ASIA 576.

ASIA484 The History of the Choson Dynasty Sections

Political, social, and cultural history of Korea's Choson Dynasty, focusing on how it lasted from 1392 to 1910 and why it collapsed so quickly at the beginning of the twentieth century. Credit will be granted for only one of ASIA 484 or ASIA 587.

ASIA488 Religion, Society and State in Modern India Sections

History of secular and religious discourse in post-independent India. Partition, state policy of secularism, religious mobilization among Hindus and Muslims, communal violence and religious radicalism.

ASIA490C Asian Classics - Fourth Year Seminar - ASIA CLSSCS SEM Sections

Focus changes from year to year. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor and fourth-year standing.

ASIA490D Asian Classics - Fourth Year Seminar - ASIA CLSSCS SEM Sections

Focus changes from year to year. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor and fourth-year standing.

ASIA490E Asian Classics - Fourth Year Seminar - ASIA CLSSCS SEM Sections

Focus changes from year to year. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor and fourth-year standing.

ASIA499 Honours Thesis Sections

Restricted to fourth-year students admitted to the Honours Program in Asian Studies.