Asian Humanities

Course Number: ASAN 310
Course Title: Asian Humanities
Course Description: This course looks at various societies in Asia through their beliefs, written and oral literature, cultural expressions, and convergent histories. We look at the humanities as the study of living expressive practices, with a ‘long view’ that includes the historical developments to which contemporary practices relate. Our approach to the humanities is interdisciplinary, drawing on approaches from various academic disciplines as well as considering ways of knowing that are situated in particular Asian contexts. A loose theme that unites the course is that of communication and the senses: we experience the world through the senses, and there are more forms of communication than we might initially think. In addition to the linguistic, there are other sonic, gestural, visual, olfactory, gustatory, and spatial forms of communication. All of these will be explored in this course. As this is an upper division course, both mastery of content and the development of critical thinking skills are course goals, and learning draws on students’ own experience and backgrounds.
Learning Objectives:

  • Make informed comparisons about religious practice, world views, aesthetic systems, and cultural values in Asia

  • Analyze themes in literature, film, music, visual art, and other works of expressive culture

  • Critically discuss the religious, social, and political aspects of expressive culture

  • Discuss the dialectical tensions in such concepts as tradition/modernity, local/global, authenticity/creativity, aesthetic/functional, experience/interpretation

  • Write clearly and concisely in a variety of academic essay styles, making and supporting an argument