400 Level EASIA Courses

EASIA 405 Chinese Linguistics
Xiaoting Li
This course is designed for undergraduate students who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese language from a linguistic perspective. It offers a detailed discussion on Chinese grammar patterns. This course is intended to help you with your understanding of the Chinese language and language use in a systematic manner. This is NOT a language course but a course about the Chinese language. The lectures and discussions will be in English. The analysis of Chinese language data may involve the use of Chinese. This course will prepare students for their future study, research, and teaching of the Chinese language. It is designed to provide students with opportunities to practise their critical thinking, reflective, collaboration, writing, and oral presentation skills.

EASIA 406 Research Methods in Chinese Language
Xiaoting Li
This course is designed as a research methods course focusing on practical skills that are essential for researching the Chinese language and particularly spoken Chinese. We will introduce and review some concepts in linguistics and Chinese linguistics as they are applied to the analysis of the Chinese language; however, the main emphasis of course will be on analytic skills and hands-on experiences. Students will gain an understanding of the design of research procedures, and develop research skills related to analyzing Mandarin sentence grammar, transcribing spoken data, and analyzing sound features and gestures in spoken Chinese. The working language of the course is English. We will use English materials to discuss methodological issues while students will work with Chinese language samples for analysis, projects, and assignments.

William Carroll
This course looks at how the urban crime genre depicts urban space and the social transformations that have taken place with urbanization in the modern era in East Asia. We will trace the history of the genre from the interwar to the postwar era, and how it came to influence and intersect with art house films and other genres. We will follow aesthetic shifts in the formal presentation of urban space in these films, such as the prominence of location shooting in some films and the use of abstracted studio sets in others. Students will get an overview of the history of the urban crime genre in East Asian cinema from roughly 1930 to the present. They will also learn about how the genre relates to fears and discourses surrounding urbanization. In particular, we will be focusing on how the crime genre visualizes unseen networks of human relationships in the modern city, and how films in the genre use (or invent) the cityscape.

EASIA 423/JAPAN 523 Topics in Japanese Religions: Discrimination and Empowerment
David Quinter
This course explores social discrimination and possibilities for empowerment or relief in Japanese Buddhism, Shinto, Christianity, and new religious movements, from ancient to contemporary times. Using an interdisciplinary lens, we will focus throughout on issues of gender, class, and status and their diverse intersections with religious views and practices. The juxtaposition of “discrimination” and “empowerment” in the title notwithstanding, the preliminary hypothesis guiding this course is that we will likely find a spectrum of possibilities within, across, and beyond these categories, rather than binary oppositions. But we shall see!

EASIA 423/JAPAN 523 Topics in Japanese Religions: Buddhism, Shinto, Gender
David Quinter
This course is devoted to changing visions of Japanese Buddhism and Shinto, past and present, with a particular focus on female practitioners and gender. After a brief overview of Buddhism and Japanese religions, we will investigate revisionist portrayals of ancient and Heian-period (794-1185) religion, spotlighting ancient shaman queens, the introduction of Buddhism, notions of sacred space, and homosocial desire in Heian poetry. Turning to the medieval period, we will first examine shifting models of Kamakura Buddhism, including how women and the feminine were incorporated in proselytizing strategies. We will then look at constructions of masculinity in warrior culture and literary portrayals of the relationships between monks and chigo (male acolytes).

In the next section, extending the focus on medieval Japan, we will examine kami cults and Shinto-Buddhist syntheses as well as revisionist studies of Shinto. The final section investigates issues in early modern and modern Japanese religions. We will first explore diverse female practitioners and methods of proselytization in the Edo period (1600-1867), then turn to how women have been enlisted and inscribed within imperial Japanese culture, including at Yasukuni and other Shinto shrines. We will close the course with a look at contemporary debates over memorial rites for aborted and other lost children, the exclusion of women from sacred mountains, female Buddhist priests and temple wives, and the “feminist potential” of Guanyin (Jp. Kannon) as a transgender bodhisattva.

EASIA 423/JAPAN 523 Topics in Japanese Religions: Re-Visioning Buddhism and Shinto
David Quinter
This course explores changing visions of Japanese Buddhism and Shinto, past and present. After a brief overview of religion in Japan, we will investigate varying models of ancient and medieval Buddhism, with particular attention to Buddhism in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and “original enlightenment” thought and practice. We will then spotlight studies concerning female practitioners, proselytization strategies, and the changing relationships between Buddhism and Shinto (or kami cults) in medieval through modern Japan.

EASIA 429 Landscape and Soundscape in East Asian Cultures
Jeffrey Roberts
This course studies nature-based aesthetics in Chinese and Japanese cultures and how they provide a foundation for artistic creation. This class is both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, also involving East Asian and Western cultures, with the intent to foster a broader cross-cultural understanding of how cultures think about and engage with the natural world in the areas of philosophy, religion, spiritual practice, aesthetics and the arts. Specifically, we will use our study of and creative practice within the Western field of "Soundscape Composition/Acoustic Ecology” as an experiential foundation from which we can more deeply explore and understand Chinese and Japanese traditional art forms and the artists who practiced them. We will work with digital technology including: multi-media online journaling, recording devices, audio editing software and an online audio sharing platform. These technologies will serve as a platform for self-reflection and development of ideas, posting and sharing creative work and peer review. There is no expectation or requirement that students have any music or digital/audio training prior to taking this course. For more information, please click here

EASIA 461: Occult Cinephilia: Contemporary Japanese Horror in Film
William Carroll
This class studies the historical context of cinephilia in Japan from which “J-horror” emerged. We will also analyze the contemporary J-horror canon in light of the filmmakers' own writings on film. In so doing, we will be tracing the lineage of cinephilia in Japan as an intellectual discourse, looking at the relationship between film theory and film production in contemporary Japan, and looking at J-horror from the perspective of filmmakers themselves.