This interdisciplinary and multimedia course is taught jointly by faculty specialists in Chinese philosophy, religion, history of art, drama, literature, and visual culture. It is not a survey course. Instead the main task will be the sustained and critical study of a number of significant and representative works in order to present some major themes of the distinct and complex civilizations of China. In spite of inner tensions, this is a cultural tradition that can be seen as a highly integrated system composed of mutually reinforcing parts, making such an interdisciplinary and multimedia approach particularly effective. Toward the end of the term we will observe the system's collapse as it struggles to adapt to the modern world, consider how our themes continue, persist, or change. Background lectures on language and early religion will be followed by topics and readings that include: Confucianism (Confucius and Mencius) and Daoism (Laozi and Zhuangzi); themes in Chinese religiosity, Chan (Zen) Buddhism; religious art; lyricism and visual experience in poetry and landscape painting; music; traditional storyteller tales; poetic-musical theater; fiction of modern "revolutionary" and post-Mao China; and Chinese film.
The format of the course consists of three hours of lectures and one hour of discussion. The lectures will be given by
Brown (early culture and Confucianism);
Heinrich (modern culture, film)
Lin (Daoism, poetry, and garden);
Ning (religious art);
Laing (art history);
Rolston (theater and traditional fiction);
Students should register for both the lecture section, and one of the three discussion sections. No prerequisites. Requirements: occasional brief responses to readings, three short papers, and final exam.