ASIAN 251 - Undergraduate Seminar in Chinese Culture
Section: 201 Traditional Chinese Thought and Literature Through Comic Books and Animation
Term: SU 2009
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
FYSem, WorldLit
Advisory Prerequisites:
No knowledge of Chinese language is required.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Starting from the 1980’s, Tsai Chih Chung (a master cartoonist in Taiwan) created a series of comic books illustrating canonical works in traditional Chinese philosophy and literature. The series soon became a great hit both in Taiwan and China, and has since been translated into different languages around the world. Does the popularity of this comic series promote the transmission of traditional Chinese culture and values? Is the comic depiction faithful to the meanings of the original Chinese works? This course is designed to investigate the relationship between the two. Students will be asked to view Tsai Chih Chung’s comic depiction (through his comic books and their animated adaptations) of traditional Chinese philosophy and literature, as well as to read English translations of the original texts. While enjoying Tsai’s innovative and delightful comic interpretation, students will also need to ponder on serious philosophical questions along with those early Chinese thinkers, and learn to savor the aesthetic beauty of traditional Chinese literature. The course is also designed to provoke inquiries into and thinking about the interaction between early Chinese thought and literature and their dissemination and popularization in the modern world. Questions like whether the comic and animated series help to promote the understanding of early Chinese philosophy and literature or rather distort their meaning and significance will be brought into discussion.

Required readings will include selected translations of canonical Chinese philosophical and literary texts, as well as secondary sources that provide historical and analytical introductions to the texts.

Requirements for the class include: One short and informal response paper to be submitted on a weekly basis; two in-class presentations related to weekly readings and screening materials; one mid-term research paper (5-6 pages), and a choice of one final research paper (10-12 pages) or one final creative project. Attendance and active participation in class discussions will also figure prominently in the final grades.

ASIAN 251 - Undergraduate Seminar in Chinese Culture
Schedule Listing
201 (SEM)
MW 2:00PM - 5:00PM
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