ASIAN 362 - The Travels of the Monkey King in China and Abroad
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
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The Monkey King gets better and better known throughout the world as new versions of his story continue to appear. The full story of how he was born from a stone, rebelled against Heaven, helped the Tang Monk bring true Buddhist scriptures to China, becomes enlightened and is proclaimed a buddha was first told in the famous 16th century novel, The Journey to the West. In that novel, the first seven chapters are entirely given over to the story of his birth and acquisition of miraculous powers and weapons. In the novel, even after he becomes the disciple of the Tang Monk he remains the center of attention. He went on to become a star on stage and screen. Although there has been a tendency, especially recently, to think of the story of the Monkey King as something that primarily appeals to children, the deeper meanings of his story have never been totally forgotten.

In this class, besides studying The Journey to the West and its translation and interpretation over the years, we will look at both the antecedents and sequels of the novel, other stories of extraordinary monkeys in China and elsewhere, versions of the story for a variety of traditional Chinese performing arts, as well as representations of The Monkey King in modern media such as newspaper serials, animated films, and TV miniseries, including examples produced for non-Chinese audiences. We will try to better understand why the image of The Monkey King has been so influential in both China and abroad. Students will be divided into groups for class activities that will include group enactments of episodes from the novel.

Intended Audience:

Students with an interest in Chinese culture, fiction, myth, or religion

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


ASIAN 362 - The Travels of the Monkey King in China and Abroad
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

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