The Japanese Empire
Location: GC 5680
This course focuses on the Japanese empire, which formally began in 1895 and ended in 1945. The Japanese empire has had profound implications for the diplomatic relations amongst nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. While this course spends the most amount of time dealing with the Japanese empire, it will also consider how this empire overlapped with and intersected the expansion of the US empire. While historians and scholars have often seen these two powers as diametrically opposed - with the US supporting racial progress and freedom and the Japanese focuses on blood purity and exclusion - we will witness some remarkable similarities in how the two powers dealt with minority populations amidst the buildup to war. This course will also ask you to consider the ways in which minority discourses either shifted and/or remained the same in the postwar period. In other words, how might have the legacies of Japanese imperialism continued into the postwar period. Finally, the course will end by asking us how we as citizens and scholars should attempt to remember war and empire.
Literatures of Global Asias
If the nineteenth century was marked by a cultural and political focus on the United Kingdom, and the twentieth century by the United States, then what does the twenty-first bring? In the fall of 2011, the Obama administration introduced a new direction in foreign policy—the “pivot” toward the Pacific as the United States shifted its gaze to the Asia Pacific. The administration’s declaration was the culmination of a series of maneuvers that long preceded it, but it would mark the beginning of the twenty-first century’s focus on the rise of global Asias. However, there are nuances that can only be captured through a cultural and literary lens; the Asia Pacific is not a monolith, but many different countries with a wide array of cultures and histories. This course focuses on Asian and Asian American literatures that are global in scope, scale, and imagination; it interrogates the transnational flow of Asian and Asian American labor, capital, bodies, and culture.
Classical Chinese Philosophy
Location: CRCC 215
This course will survey seven main thinkers of the “classical” period of Chinese philosophy (approx. 550-221 BCE): Kongzi (Confucius), Mozi, Mengzi (Mencius), Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi. These thinkers developed a complex and rich debate about ethics, human nature, moral psychology, and self-cultivation. The positions they established greatly influenced later Chinese history, including the development of Buddhism, and they influenced philosophical discourse in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam as well. Thus, understanding these early debates is an important stepping-stone for understanding East Asian thought generally. Readings will consist mainly of primary texts in translation, with some secondary literature. No previous knowledge of Chinese language or history is necessary.