East Asian Studies (EAST)

* EAST 016b / HSAR 016b, Chinese Painting and CultureQuincy Ngan

This course focuses on important works of Chinese painting and major painters from the fourth century CE to the twentieth century. Through close readings of the pictorial contents and production contexts of such works of art, this course investigates the works’ formats, meanings, and innovations from social, historical, and art-historical perspectives. In this course, students become familiar with the traditional Chinese world and acquire the knowledge necessary to be an informed viewer of Chinese painting. Discussions of religion, folkloric beliefs, literature, relationships between men and women, the worship of mountains, the laments of scholars, and the tastes of emperors and wealthy merchants also allow students to understand the cultural roots of contemporary China.  Enrollment limited to first-year students.   HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

EAST 119a / HSAR 210a, 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. Preference given to first years and sophomores.   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 252a / EALL 255a, Japanese ModernismStaff

Japanese literature and art from the 1920s through the 1940s. The avant-garde and mass culture; popular genre fiction; the advent of new media technologies and techniques; effects of Japanese imperialism, militarism, and fascism on cultural production; experimental writers and artists and their resistance to, or complicity with, the state.  HU

* EAST 253a / EALL 265a / LITR 251a, Japanese Literature after 1970Paul McQuade

This course is an introduction to Japanese literature written in the last fifty years, with a focus on women writers. We read poetry and prose featuring mothers, daughters, and lovers, novels that follow convenience and thrift store workers, and poetry about factory girls. Our reading takes us from the daily grind of contemporary Tokyo to dystopian futures, from 1970s suburbia to surreal dreamscapes. We attend carefully to the ways in which different writers craft their works and, in particular, to their representation of feelings and affects. Whether the dull ache of loneliness, the oppression of boredom or the heavy weight of fatigue, it is often something about the mood of a work–rather than its narrative–that leaves a distinct impression. We develop the tools to analyze and discuss this sense of distinctness, as well as discover ways to stage connections and comparisons between the works we read.   HU
TTh 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 CinemaTian Li

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
M 3:30pm-5:20pm, M 6pm-9pm

* EAST 307a / CLCV 121a / EALL 150a / PHIL 100a, Writing Philosophy: Weakness of Will in Ancient China, Greece, and TodayJames Brown-Kinsella

“Grant me chastity and strength of will—but not yet!” In this infamous prayer, Augustine wrestles with a perennial problem for human agency: the apparent gap between knowing that we should do something and actually wanting to do it. How wide is the gap? How can we bridge it? How pervasive is the problem? This course introduces first-year students to writing in the discipline of philosophy by tracing the contours of these questions and exploring their answers in ancient China, ancient Greece, and modern analytic philosophy. We begin by considering the traditional account of weakness of will as akrasia (i.e., doing what one knows one shouldn’t do) and explaining how such a gap in our agency is or isn’t possible. Next, we consider an alternative account, that of acedia (i.e., not doing what one knows one should do), and assess strategies for helping an agent bridge this kind of gap. Finally, we reassess the phenomenon of weakness of will in light of arguments that position it in a broader context, approach it from a new perspective, or try to rewrite our understanding of the phenomenon altogether.  WR, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EAST 308b / HIST 304b, The History of Modern China, 1911-2025Staff

An introduction to modern Chinese history spanning from the fall of the Qing Empire to the present. Examines the factors that led to the end of China’s dynastic system, the political and social divisions that emerged after the Qing Dynasty’s collapse, and the various alternative visions for China’s future that have arisen from the late nineteenth century onward. Focuses on aspects of political, economic, and social history.  HU0 Course cr

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
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 316a / EALL 288a / LITR 303a / RSEE 316a / RUSS 316a, Socialist '80s: Aesthetics of Reform in China and the Soviet UnionJinyi Chu

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the complex cultural and political paradigms of late socialism from a transnational perspective by focusing on the literature, cinema, and popular culture of the Soviet Union and China in 1980s. How were intellectual and everyday life in the Soviet Union and China distinct from and similar to that of the West of the same era? How do we parse “the cultural logic of late socialism?” What can today’s America learn from it? Examining two major socialist cultures together in a global context, this course queries the ethnographic, ideological, and socio-economic constituents of late socialism. Students analyze cultural materials in the context of Soviet and Chinese history. Along the way, we explore themes of identity, nationalism, globalization, capitalism, and the Cold War. Students with knowledge of Russian and Chinese are encouraged to read in original languages. All readings are available in English.   WR, HUTr
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 324a / ANTH 324a / ANTH 824a, Politics of MemoryYukiko Koga

This course explores the role of memory as a social, cultural, and political force in contemporary society. How societies remember difficult pasts has become a contested site for negotiating the present. Through the lens of memory, we examine complex roles that our relationships to difficult pasts play in navigating issues we face today. This course explores this politics of memory that takes place in the realm of popular culture and public space. The class asks such questions as: How do you represent difficult and contested pasts? What does it mean to enable long-silenced victims’ voices to be heard? What are the consequences of re-narrating the past by highlighting past injuries and trauma? Does memory work heal or open wounds of a society and a nation? Through examples drawn from the Holocaust, the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, the Vietnam War, genocide in Indonesia and massacres in Lebanon, to debates on confederacy statues, slavery, and lynching in the US, this course approaches these questions through an anthropological exploration of concepts such as memory, trauma, mourning, silence, voice, testimony, and victimhood.  HU, SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 326b / HIST 326Jb, Yale and JapanDaniel Botsman

Exploration of Yale's rich historical connections to Japan. Focus on use of the University's museum and library collections to learn about various aspects of the Japanese past, from ancient times to the post-World War II era. Knowledge of Japanese helpful but not required.  WR, HU
Th 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 341b / EALL 302b, Readings in Classical Chinese ProseXiaojing Miao

Close reading of classical Chinese texts (wenyan) primarily from late Imperial China. A selection of formal and informal prose, including memoirs, sanwen essays, classical tales, biographies, and autobiographies. Focus on cultural and historical contexts, with attention to reception in China and in some cases in Korea and Japan. Questions concerning readership and governmental censorship, function of literature, history and fictionality, memory and writing, and the aesthetics of qing (emotion). Readings in Chinese; discussion in English. Prerequisite: CHNS 171 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Formerly CHNS 302.   HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* EAST 346a / ANTH 342a, Cultures and Markets in AsiaHelen Siu

Historical and contemporary movements of people, goods, and cultural meanings that have defined Asia as a region. Reexamination of state-centered conceptualizations of Asia and of established boundaries in regional studies. The intersections of transregional institutions and local societies and their effects on trading empires, religious traditions, colonial encounters, and cultural fusion. Finance flows that connect East Asia and the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa. The cultures of capital and market in the neoliberal and postsocialist world.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 390a / RLST 102a, 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 394b / EALL 238b / RLST 327b, Buddhist Monastic ExperienceHwansoo Kim

Is monastic life relevant in contemporary society, where religion is increasingly considered less significant in our secular lives? Can we find valuable aspects of a monastic lifestyle that can be integrated into our daily lives? If so, what are these aspects, and how can we incorporate them? This seminar represents a collaborative effort to gain insight into one of the major monastic traditions: Buddhist monasticism. Throughout this seminar, we delve into various facets of Buddhist monastic life, examining its origins, historical development, monastic identity, rules and regulations, practices, and the dynamics between monastics and the laity. We also explore the tensions that often arise between the ideals of monasticism and the realities it faces in today's world. As part of this exploration, we embark on an eight-week monastic life project, during which students create their own set of daily rules (precepts), adhere to these rules, engage in meditation and other relevant practices, and establish a regular communal gathering with fellow students.   HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 407b / HIST 312b, Modern China’s BorderlandsStaff

News headlines and geopolitical debates alike focus on China’s policies towards Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas on its periphery. But how did these areas come to be regarded as borderlands in the first place? Why does the government of the People’s Republic of China see these areas as core to its national interests? How does PRC policy continue or break away from the precedents set by the Qing Empire and the Republic of China? This seminar course explores these questions. Throughout the semester, students engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources as they produce a major research paper on a related topic of their choosing.  HU

* EAST 410a / EALL 234a, Japanese Detective FictionLuciana Sanga

This class offers an overview of modern Japanese literature with a focus on detective fiction. Through detective fiction we can examine key concepts in literature such as narrative voice, point of view, genre, modernism and postmodernism, and learn about debates in Japanese literature, the distinction between highbrow and popular fiction, and the relation between Japanese literature and translated fiction. Detective fiction also allows for the exploration of key issues in Japanese history and society such as consumerism, colonialism, class, gender, and sexuality. Readings include a wide range of texts by canonical and popular writers, as well as theoretical texts on genre and detective fiction. All texts are available in English and no prior knowledge of Japanese or Japan is needed.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* 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 420a / RLST 229a, Buddhist EthicsMeghan Howard

This course explores ethical action in a range of Buddhist traditions, with an emphasis on Mahayana Buddhism in India and Tibet. Rather than starting with the categories of Western philosophy, we seek to develop an account that emerges from Buddhist sources. We begin by establishing a working model of karmic acts—describing the status of agents and patients, the mechanics of karma, and the cosmological and soteriological contexts for action. We then examine the paradigmatic ethical act of giving as embodied by two great virtuous exemplars: the Buddha (archetypal renunciate) and Vessantara (archetypal layman). From there, we turn to case studies of ethical cultivation and negotiation in three realms of Buddhist practice: the Vinaya precepts governing monastic life, the altruism and skillful means of bodhisattvas, and the antinomian ethics of Buddhist tantra. The course concludes with a reflection on the intersection of aesthetics and morality in Buddhist thought.  HU
TTh 9am-10:15am

* EAST 421a / ANTH 421a, Ethnography in China’s BorderlandsStaff

Methods such as participant observation, interviews, surveys, and ethnography are based on the assumption of access to a field. This course looks at whether and how one can understand a society if access is restricted and dangerous for local participants. We study the cluster of concepts known as “remote ethnography”—studying on-the-ground conditions from a distance—through the case of Xinjiang, China. It looks critically at methods used by journalists, social scientists, governments, corporations and others in situations where access is not possible, including open-source research, close reading of official texts, social media analysis, digital survey techniques, remote imaging, and diaspora interviews. In particular, we ask if these can be done without detailed knowledge of local context, culture and history, and study how these sources relate to recent ethnographic knowledge about people's lives in rural southern Xinjiang. Students become familiar with the main concepts of remote ethnography and acquire basic tools for their own research. By the end of the semester, they also prepare to critically assess the methods used by anthropologists, social scientists, journalists and others in studying closed societies.  HU
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 423b / HIST 385b, Tibet in the Modern World—A 20th Century HistoryStaff

This course delves into Tibet's modern history, covering the late nineteenth century to the present. It situates Tibet’s history within the emerging ideological and political landscape shaped by the globalizing force of colonial modernity. By examining pivotal moments in twentieth-century Tibetan history, this course discusses the gradual transformation of the Tibetan world as it encountered new ideas, institutions, and practices from the modern West, often mediated through modern China and colonial and post-colonial India. Emphasizing that the present state of Tibet's future was not predetermined, the course delves into the diverse visions for Tibet's destiny that emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. By exploring these overlooked and unrealized possibilities, it underscores the contingent and contested nature of Tibet's modern history. As such, this course may particularly interest students exploring themes of modernity, nationalism, colonialism, and exile. Through the incorporation of primary sources, students engage directly with first-hand accounts and historical materials, fostering a more intimate understanding of modern Tibetan history.  HU

* EAST 424b / EALL 277b / MUSI 148b, Music In Flux: Blendings, Exchanges, and Cultural SignificancesStaff

This course examines how music is transmitted by various factors and how its styles and meanings can change in a new context. Through various scholarly approaches, this class aims to enhance your understanding of the mobility of music and its meanings. We will examine the processes and conditions in which music is exchanged and blended and consider how such “mashups” function as cultural indicators and symbols for emergent and migrant communities. We will also examine the impact of technology on musical globalization, localization, and glocalization. In doing so, this class explores issues of identity, representation, authenticity, tradition, nationalism, and transnationalism. By examining music in- or as-culture, students will understand some of the political, cultural, and social aspects of music, as well as the contextual meanings of musical practices. The class will utilize audio/video sources, incorporate discussions based on academic articles and chapters, and require student analysis that connects music to its context. While this class focuses mainly on music from East Asian countries, we will also examine case studies from others around the world. No background in music or prior knowledge of East Asia is required.  HU

* EAST 428a / ANTH 425a / ARCG 425a, Archaeology of Protohistoric JapanStaff

Where and when are the origins of Japanese culture? In this seminar we will examine the archaeology of the Japanese archipelago from the introduction of paddy rice agriculture through the end of the 8th century with an eye toward this question. Examining excavated materials and early textual accounts, we will confront myths—both ancient and modern—of Japanese origins, and interrogate the framing of these time periods. Students will explore the interplay between event and process; and between local developments and outside influence through topics including the arrival of immigrant populations and rice agriculture, political and trade relationships within the archipelago as well as on the Asian continent, and the emergence of political “statehood.”  SOTr
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 429b / EALL 225b, A Culinary History of ChinaStaff

Food is a central aspect of a culture, and culinary traditions often become tokens of identity. There are complex historical and social factors behind culinary choices. The Chili peppers now widely used in Chinese cooking were introduced in the region only in the 16th century. What socio-economic changes made this new spice so prevalent in Chinese cuisine so quickly? This seminar uses food as a lens to study major developments in Chinese history. We will think of food particularly in three ways; as a material actor, whose presence or absence affected historical events; as a metaphor, used by intellectuals to discuss proper government and other political topics; as a cultural mediator to shape identities in the social imaginary.   HUTr

* EAST 431a / RLST 175a, North Korea and ReligionHwansoo Kim

Ever since the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948 and the Korean War (1950–1953), North Korea has been depicted by the media as a reclusive, oppressive, and military country, its leaders as the worst dictators, and its people as brainwashed, tortured, and starving to death. The still ongoing Cold War discourse, intensified by the North Korea’s recent secret nuclear weapons program, furthers these negative images, and outsiders have passively internalized these images. However, these simplistic characterizations prevent one from gaining a balanced understanding of and insight into North Korea and its people on the ground. Topics other than political, military, and security issues are rarely given attention. On the whole, even though North Korea’s land area is larger than South Korea and its population of 25 million accounts for a third of all Koreans, North Korea has been neglected in the scholarly discussion of Korean culture. This class tries to make sense of North Korea in a more comprehensive way by integrating the political and economic with social, cultural, and religious dimensions. In order to accomplish this objective, students examine leadership, religious (especially cultic) aspects of the North Korean Juche ideology, the daily lives of its citizens, religious traditions, the Korean War, nuclear development and missiles, North Korean defectors and refugees, human rights, Christian missionary organizations, and unification, among others. Throughout, the course places North Korean issues in the East Asian and global context. The course draws upon recent scholarly books, articles, journals, interviews with North Korean defectors, travelogues, media publications, and visual materials.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 469b / HSAR 469b, Contemporary Art and Culture in ChinaQuincy Ngan

This course is an introduction to the art and culture of contemporary China, covering the period from 1960s to the present day. It focuses on art objects, performances, propaganda, and exhibitions produced by the government, the business sector, curators, and avant-garde artists in Mainland China. We also look at China’s Olympic stadiums, the Three Gorges Dam, and skyscrapers (including those in Hong Kong and Taiwan). Class meetings discuss the required readings and investigate artworks, films, and events that speak to China’s political ideologies, society, and economy, as well as its role in globalization and international conflicts. To establish a cross-cultural interpretation, this class also explores how Euro-American artists and filmmakers used their arts to express their views on contemporary China.
M 9:25am-11:15am

* EAST 470a or b, Independent StudyValerie Hansen

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 EssayValerie Hansen

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 ProjectValerie Hansen

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