East Asian Studies (EAST)

EAST 119a / HSAR 119a, Introduction to the History of Art: Asian Art and CultureStaff

This introductory course explores the art of India, China, Japan, and Korea from prehistory to the present. We consider major works and monuments from all four regions. Themes include the representation of nature and the body, the intersection of art with spirituality and politics, and everything from elite to consumer culture. All students welcome, including those who have no previous experience with either art history or the study of Asian art. This class makes frequent visits to Yale University Art Gallery.  HU0 Course cr

EAST 220a / HIST 321a, China from Present to PastStaff

Underlying causes of current issues facing China traced back to their origins in the premodern period. Topics include economic development, corruption, environmental crises, gender, and Pacific island disputes. Selected primary-source readings in English, images, videos, and Web resources.  WR, HU0 Course cr

EAST 240a / CHNS 200a / EALL 200a / HUMS 270a, The Chinese TraditionStaff

An introduction to the literature, culture, and thought of premodern China, from the beginnings of the written record to the turn of the twentieth century. Close study of textual and visual primary sources, with attention to their historical and cultural backdrops. Students enrolled in CHNS 200 join a weekly Mandarin-language discussion section. No knowledge of Chinese required for students enrolled in EALL 200. Students enrolled in CHNS 200 must have L5 proficiency in Mandarin or permission of the course instructor.  HU0 Course cr

* EAST 251b / EALL 252b / FILM 446b / LITR 384b, Japanese Cinema before 1960Aaron Gerow

The history of Japanese cinema to 1960, including the social, cultural, and industrial backgrounds to its development. Periods covered include the silent era, the coming of sound and the wartime period, the occupation era, the golden age of the 1950s, and the new modernism of the late 1950s. No knowledge of Japanese required. Formerly JAPN 270.   HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* EAST 260a / EALL 280a / FILM 307a, East Asian Martial Arts FilmStaff

The martial arts film has not only been a central genre for many East Asian cinemas, it has been the cinematic form that has most defined those cinemas for others. Domestically, martial arts films have served to promote the nation, while on the international arena, they have been one of the primary conduits of transnational cinematic interaction, as kung-fu or samurai films have influenced films inside and outside East Asia, from The Matrix to Kill Bill. Martial arts cinema has become a crucial means for thinking through such issues as nation, ethnicity, history, East vs. West, the body, gender, sexuality, stardom, industry, spirituality, philosophy, and mediality, from modernity to postmodernity. It is thus not surprising that martial arts films have also attracted some of the world’s best filmmakers, ranging from Kurosawa Akira to Wong Kar Wai. This course focuses on films from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea—as well as on works from other countries influenced by them—covering such martial arts genres such as the samurai film, kung-fu, karate, wuxia, and related historical epics. It provides a historical survey of each nation and genre, while connecting them to other genres, countries, and media.  HU0 Course cr

EAST 300a / EALL 297a / FILM 342a, Global Korean CinemaStaff

In recent times, world cinema has witnessed the rise of South Korean cinema as an alternative to Hollywood and includes many distinguished directors such as Park Chan-wook, Lee Chang-dong, Kim Ki-duk, and Bong Joon-ho. This course explores the Korean film history and aesthetics from its colonial days (1910-1945) to the hallyu era (2001-present), and also analyzes several key texts that are critical for understanding this field of study. How is Korean cinema shaped by (re)interpretations of history and society? How do we understand Korean cinema vis-à-vis the public memories of the Korean War, industrialization, social movements, economic development, and globalization? And how do aesthetics and storytelling in Korean cinema contribute to its popularity among local spectators and to its globality in shaping the contours of world cinema? By deeply inquiring into such questions, students learn how to critically view, think about, and write about film. Primary texts include literature and film. All films are screened with English subtitles.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EAST 301b / HIST 307b, The Making of Japan's Great Peace, 1550–1850Fabian Drixler

Examination of how, after centuries of war in Japan and overseas, the Tokugawa shogunate built a peace that lasted more than 200 years. Japan's urban revolution, the eradication of Christianity, the Japanese discovery of Europe, and the question of whether Tokugawa Japan is a rare example of a complex and populous society that achieved ecological sustainability.  HU0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EAST 310a / GLBL 309a / PLSC 357a, The Rise of ChinaStaff

Analysis of Chinese domestic and foreign politics, with a focus on the country’s rise as a major political and economic power. Topics include China's recent history, government, ruling party, technology, trade, military, diplomacy, and foreign policy.  SO0 Course cr

EAST 313a / ANTH 213a, Contemporary Japan and the Ghosts of ModernityYukiko Koga

This course introduces students to contemporary Japan, examining how its defeat in the Second World War and loss of empire in 1945 continue to shape Japanese culture and society. Looking especially at the sphere of cultural production, it focuses on the question of what it means to be modern as expressed through the tension between resurgent neonationalism and the aspiration to internationalize. The course charts how the legacy of Japan’s imperial failure plays a significant role in its search for renewal and identity since 1945. How, it asks, does the experience of catastrophic failure—and failure to account for that failure—play into continued aspirations for modernity today? How does Japanese society wrestle with modernity’s two faces: its promise for progress and its history of catastrophic violence? The course follows the trajectory of Japan’s postwar nation-state development after the dissolution of empire, from its resurrection out of the ashes after defeat, to its identity as a US ally and economic superpower during the Cold War, to decades of recession since the 1990s and the search for new relations with its neighbors and new reckonings with its own imperial violence and postwar inactions against the background of rising neonationalism.  HU, SO
TTh 9am-10:15am

* EAST 335b / RLST 135b, Zen BuddhismEric Greene

Survey of the history and teachings of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan. Emphasis on reading and interpretation of primary Zen texts in their historical and religious context, along with investigation of modern interpretations and appropriations of Zen in the West.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 340b / EALL 300b, Sinological MethodsPauline Lin

A research course in Chinese studies, designed for students with background in modern and literary Chinese. Explore and evaluate the wealth of primary sources and research tools available in China and in the West. For native speakers of Chinese, introduction to the secondary literature in English and instruction in writing professionally in English on topics about China. Topics include Chinese bibliographies; bibliophiles’ notes; specialized dictionaries; maps and geographical gazetteers; textual editions, variations and reliability of texts; genealogies and biographical sources; archaeological and visual materials; and major Chinese encyclopedias, compendia, and databases. Prerequisite: CHNS 171 or equivalent. Formerly CHNS 202.   HU
F 1:30pm-3:20pm

EAST 358b / EALL 256b / GLBL 251b / HUMS 272b / LITR 265b, China in the WorldJing Tsu

Recent headlines about China in the world, deciphered in both modern and historical contexts. Interpretation of new events and diverse texts through transnational connections. Topics include China's international relations and global footprint, Mandarinization, Chinese America, science and technology, science fiction, and entrepreneurship culture. Readings and discussion in English.  HU

* EAST 390b / RLST 102b, Atheism and BuddhismHwansoo Kim

A critical examination of atheism and religions (Buddhism), with a focus on intellectual, religious, philosophical, and scientific debates about God, the origin of the universe, morality, evolution, neuroscience, happiness, enlightenment, the afterlife, and karma. Readings selected from philosophical, scientific, and religious writings. Authors include some of the following: Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins, Deepak Chopra, Sam Harris, Owen Flanagan, Stephen Batchelor, and the Dalai Lama.   HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 391b / EALL 296b / RLST 121b, Religion and Culture in KoreaHwansoo Kim

Introduction to Shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, and new religions in Korea from ancient times to the present. Examination of religious traditions in close relationships with social, economic, political, and cultural environments in Korean society. Examination of religious tensions, philosophical arguments, and ethical issues that indigenous and foreign religions in Korea have engaged throughout history to maximize their influence in Korean society.   HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 400b / RLST 366b, Religion and Politics in China, Xinjiang, and TibetStaff

This course explores the religious and political interactions among the Chinese, Tibetans, Mongolians, and Muslims living in today’s northwest China from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. Focusing on parallel spatial arrangements and historical narratives of these ethnoculturally diverse peoples, the first part of this course investigates the evolving political systems, religious institutions, and social structures in China, Xinjiang and Tibet. Shifting from the center-periphery perspective to the bottom-up perspective, the second part examines major issues associated with interethnic relations. We critically read both primary and secondary sources. Key themes include Chinese imperialism and colonialism, Tibetan Buddhist expansion, Mongolian conquest, Islamization and Muslim resettlement, transregional trade, frontier militarization, ethnic violence, and inter-ethnocultural accommodation.  HU

* EAST 408a / PLSC 418a, Japanese Politics and SocietyStaff

This class introduces students to 12 important puzzles about contemporary Japanese politics and society, discusses various ways in which scholars have attempted to solve these puzzles, and suggests pathways for future research. Together, we seek to explain public policy outcomes across a wide range of topics, including gender equality, nuclear energy, territorial disputes, population aging, and immigration. In the process, we learn (1) the important actors in Japanese politics (e.g., voters, politicians, parties, bureaucrats, and firms); (2) the positions that different actors take with respect to various policies, as well as the sources of these policy preferences; and (3) how political institutions block or enhance the representation of these actors’ interests.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 414b / PLSC 373, State Building in China and BeyondStaff

One of the most critical developments in the world system over the last few decades has been the rise of China. Existing state-building theories emphasize the role of warfare and industrialization in explaining why some states are strong. However, these factors are insufficient to explain the political development of the Chinese state. It would be impossible to understand China’s present without understanding its past. This seminar aims at understanding the origin and development of the Chinese state, and its consequences.  SO

* EAST 417b / ANTH 414b, Hubs, Mobilities, and World CitiesHelen Siu

Analysis of urban life in historical and contemporary societies. Topics include capitalist and postmodern transformations; class, gender, ethnicity, and migration; and global landscapes of power and citizenship. .  SORP0 Course cr
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 425b / ER&M 411b / SOCY 425b, Migration in East Asia and BeyondStaff

Over the past few decades, East Asia has become a new destination region for migrants, the phenomenon of which is continuing to cause fierce public and political discussions on national identity and immigration and integration policies. This course explores various types, debates, and industries of migration in contemporary East Asia. While we focus largely on Japan and South Korea, we also have an opportunity to discuss migrant experiences in other popular destination and origin countries in Asia including China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. Starting with the major theories and concepts in international migration, we examine East Asian migration regimes, connections between migration and high- and low-skilled labor, gender, co-ethnics, and families, as well as state, public, and civil society responses to migration.  SO

* EAST 427a / HSAR 427a, Chinese Skin ProblemsQuincy Ngan

This seminar uses artwork as a means of understanding the various skin problems faced by contemporary Chinese people. Divided into four modules, this seminar first traces how the “ideal skin” as a complex trope of desire, superficiality, and deception has evolved over time through the ghost story, Painted Skin (Huapi), and its countless spin-offs. Second, the course explores how artists have overcome a variety of social distances and barriers through touch; we look at artworks that highlight the healing power and erotic associations of cleansing, massaging, and moisturizing the skin. Third, we explore the relationship between feminism and gender stereotypes through artworks and performances that involve skincare, makeup and plastic surgery. Fourth, the course investigates the dynamics between “Chineseness,” colorism, and racial tensions through the artworks produced by Chinese-American and diasporic artists. Each module is comprised of one meeting focusing on theoretical frameworks and two meetings focusing on individual artists and close analysis of artworks. Readings include Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings, Nikki Khanna’s Whiter, and Leta Hong Fincher’s Leftover Women.     HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 449a / HSAR 449a, Nanban Art: Japan's Artistic Encounter with Early Modern EuropeMimi Yiengpruksawan

Exploratory and investigative in nature, this seminar is conceived as a baseline engagement with the intersections of art, religion, science, commerce, war, and diplomacy at Kyoto and Nagasaki in the age of Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English political and mercantile interaction in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It addresses a set of themes whose point of entry is the entangled character of visual production and reception in Japan at a tipping point in the emergence of global modernity, when what were called the Nanbans—“Southern Barbarians,” i.e. Europeans—began to arrive in Japan. The question of whether or not much-theorized nomenclatures such as baroque, rococo, mestizo, and even global modernity are pertinent to analysis from the Japanese and Asian perspective constitutes the backbone of the course and its primary objective in the study of a corpus of visual materials spanning the European and Asian cultural spheres. As such the seminar is not only about Japan, per se, or about Japanese objects, or the shogunal eye. It is equally about how Japan and Japanese objects and materials, along with objects and materials from other places, figured in a greater community of exchange, friction, confrontation, conquest, and adaptation in times when Portuguese marauders, Jesuit missionaries, Muslim traders, and Japanese pirates found themselves in the same waters, on ships laden with goods, making landfall in the domains of Japan’s great military hegemons.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am

* EAST 470a or b, Independent StudyStaff

For students with advanced Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language skills who wish to pursue a close study of the East Asia region, not otherwise covered by departmental offerings. May be used for research, a special project, or a substantial research paper under faculty supervision. A term paper or its equivalent and regular meetings with an adviser are required. Ordinarily only one term may be offered toward the major or for credit toward the degree. Permission to enroll requires submission of a detailed project proposal, signed by the adviser, by the end of the first week of classes and its approval by the director of undergraduate studies.

EAST 480a or b, One-Term Senior EssayStaff

Preparation of a one-term senior essay under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Students must receive the prior agreement of the director of undergraduate studies and of the faculty member who will serve as the senior essay adviser. Students must arrange to meet with that adviser on a regular basis throughout the term.

* EAST 491a and EAST 492b, Senior Research ProjectStaff

Two-term directed research project under the supervision of a ladder faculty member. Students should write essays using materials in East Asian languages when possible. Essays should be based on primary material, whether in an East Asian language or English. Summary of secondary material is not acceptable. Credit for EAST 491 only on completion of EAST 492.  ½ Course cr per term