ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Section: 001 Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Premodern China
Term: WN 2013
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course explores gender and sexuality in China before the 20th century. Are “women” and “men” useful categories of analysis for premodern China, or did people think of themselves in other terms? What role did body, duty, virtue, and desire play in relationships among people?

In this course, you will learn how gender functioned in Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian thought and practice, and how those changed over time. We will also consider how the body and sex difference were conceived of in traditional medical texts. During the second part of the class, we will investigate the relationship between writing and gender, asking how people represented themselves and others as gendered people with sexed bodies in writing in various genres(including letters, poetry, plays, novels, and short stories). We will also examine representations in other media such as painting, decorative objects, book illustrations, and theater. We will conclude with a brief look at attacks on the traditional sex-gender system as manifested in the anti-footbinding movement at the turn of the twentieth century.

Course Requirements:

  • Contribution to discussions 20%
  • Informal writing exercises 20%
  • Two formal essays 40%
  • Final project with in-class presentation 20%

Intended Audience:

The course is interdisciplinary and is intended for undergraduates with a broad range of interests, including gender and sexuality studies, literature, history, art history, and Asian studies. All readings are in English, and there are no prerequisites.

Class Format:

This course is a conversation-based seminar that will be supplemented with frequent interactive lectures to introduce historical background and context for the primary materials we engage.

ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0520222768
Under Confucian eyes : writings on gender in Chinese history, Author: ed. by Susan Mann ..., Publisher: Univ. of California Press 5[th print 2001
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780824815745
The three-inch golden lotus, Author: Feng, Jicai., Publisher: Univ. of Hawaii Press 1994
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0691016143
The plum in the golden vase, or, Chin P?ing Mei., Author: translated by David Tod Roy., Publisher: Princeton University Press Pbk. ed. 1993
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0691126194
The plum in the golden vase, or, Chin p'ing mei., Author: translated by David Tod Roy., Publisher: Princeton University Press,. 2006
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9629963094
A dream of glory = Fanhua meng : a Chinese play, Author: Wang, Yun, 1749-1819., Publisher: The Chinese University Press 2008
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780253340979
The Peony Pavilion : Mudan ting, Author: Tang, Xianzu, 1550-1616., Publisher: Indiana University Press 2002
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780824817985
The carnal prayer mat, Author: Li, Yu, 1611-1680., Publisher: University of Hawaii Press 1996
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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