SPRING 2004 COURSE GUIDE
ART HISTORY 126g
The following course description belongs to Professor Reynolds.
This course will take a topical approach to the arts of Asia from roughly 1300 C.E. to the present. The course will examine the social values inscribed in Chinese landscape painting and Indian miniatures. We will discuss the dramatic wood block prints produced in Japan in the 17th through 19th centuries in relationship to merchant class institutions such as the Kabuki Theater, and legalized prostitution. The Mughal India capital of Fatehpur Sikri, Ming/Qing capital of Beijing and the Edo (modern Tokyo) will be analyzed as symbols of political power. The course will also address struggles over cultural identity in the face of modernization in various parts of Asia.
Please contact the Anthropology department for course description.
The main objective of this course is to provide students with an idea of the case study methodin anthropology through intensive viewing of films and photographs about non-Western people whose culture is also well-represented in ethnographic texts. We will focus on three cultures: the !Kung San or Ju/'hoansi (Bushmen) of Southern Africa, the Yanomamö Indians of Venezuela, and the Tiv of Nigeria. Up until very recent times, all of these cultures lacked the political institutions characteristic of the state or empires and thus provide examples of peoples for whom power and authority are largely imbedded within the categories of family, friend or foe. Up until the 1980s, some Ju/'hoansi lived in small, localized bands supported by a primarily hunting and gathering ecology. The Yanomamö represent a 'big-man" type of social system and they still retains some autonomy because of their remote location; they are ecologically dependent upon slash-and-burn agriculture and some hunting. The Tiv are market-oriented hoe agriculturalists whose traditional segmentary lineage system was capable of mobilizing thousands of people in feuds, wars and judicial proceedings. The Tiv and the Yanomamö are examples the kind of peoples usually called 'tribal', even though their scale of social integration differs greatly. All of these peoples have been studied extensively by anthropologists and each has also been the subject of a series of ethnographic films or photographic essays. The Kung San by John Marshall; the Yanomamo by Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon; the Tiv by Paul Bohannan. Recently Peter Biella and Gary Seaman collaborated with Chagnon to produce a computer interactive study on the Yanomamo entitled The Ax Fight. A similar project is underway for the Tiv. We therefore possess detailed written and filmed ethnographies of these three peoples as well as interactive media resources. It is these films and texts and interactive media that will allow us to form some sense of what it is like to live and act in a Ju/'hoansi or Yanomamo or Tiv mode.
A second important course objective is to learn to relate written materials to the audiovisual information contained in filmic and visual media. To accomplish this, the student is required to maintain a structured 'film journal' to transfer information from visual to textual format. A model form to organize the journal will be provided. These journals will be done in the discussion sections at the end of every class period.
Grades and Assignments:
Note: For another ANTH 263g section, see the next two entries.
Please contact the Anthropology department for Professor Jacobs-Huey’s course description.
The course introduces students to the subject matter of anthropology through a combination of ethnographic readings on particular species or cultures, and by use of films as a medium that furthers an unbiased understanding of cultural differences. The purpose is to assist the student in understanding nonliterate cultures that represent different stages of cultural evolution, and also in understanding the evolutionary precursor of human beings, the chimpansee, with whom we share a common ancestor some five million years ago. The general objective is to understand how chimpanzees and four human cultures mangae to exist in nature, and how their social organization and political behavior make sense in terms of the cultural tradition they share and the adaptive problems they face.
Specifically, we will begin studying Pan troglodytes schweinfurtheii, the same East African chimpanzees that have been studies by Jane Goodall in her well known research. With chimpanzee behavior as a reference point, we will examine first two human societies of a type that is widely distributed in the nonliterate world, in which there is a wide seperation between women's and men's roles. These are the warlike Yanomamo, who live by slash-and-burn horticulture, and the feuding pastoral Serbs of Montenegro, both patrillineal societies in which all males are considered politically equal to their leaders and in which values placed on male valor drive people to violent deeds. Next, comes a Pacific Island people whose sex roles are far more egalitarian; they have social classes and powerful chieftains, but they place a high premium on romantic life as our own culture does; they are distinctive in that they do not believe in biological paternity, yet they have families in the normal human pattern. The final culture to be studied is the eskimo, who lack warfare and concentrate their efforts on gaining a subsistence in an unusually challenging environment.
Emphasis on Film
This class analyzes the problems and challenges that have faced American Indians in the United States political system. After briefly introducing the cultures of the Native Americans before the coming of the Europeans, this course takes a diachronic perspective in looking at the changing historical position of Native peoples in American public life.
The course will assess whether people of the First American Nations can be classified as the de facto colonial subjects of the United States, and how their present-day political/legal positions evolved from an independent status to a dependent one. By focusing on these issues, students will be expected to think about and make conclusions about the unique realities facing modern Native people as a minority in their own homeland, and the implications of these realities for an understanding of American notions of democracy.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 250g
The following course description belongs to Professor Diaz.
This course explores the heterogeneous character of civilization in Latin America, especially the interaction of Native American, European, African and North American elements in the region's various countries. By drawing mostly on literature, by also on music, the visual arts, history, and cultural theory, the course addresses a series of questions that lie at the heart of identity- thinking in Latin America. What, if any, are the "distinctive properties" of Latin American cultural forms? How do these forms interact with counterparts in Europe and the United States, or in other "post-colonial" societies? How do others represent Latin America? How do Latin Americans seek to represent themselves son their own terms?
The course is divided into four parts: 1) the emergence of new cultural forms in the colonial period, exemplified by the reformulation of baroque aesthetics in Mexico and other regions; 2) the construction of national identities in the 19th century, with an emphasis on Argentina; 3) rethinking of Latin America as a supranational entity in the 20th century, particularly from the viewpoint of the Cuban revolution; and 4) the ascent of Latino culture(s) in the United States and of North American cultural norm in Latin America.
Grading and Course Requirements:
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 110g
This course introduces the fundamental humanistic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea through representative works of traditional literature, esthetics, social philosophy, religion, and historical writing. The readings are mostly from primary sources as translated into English. No previous knowledge of an East Asian culture or language is expected.
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 342g
The following course description belongs to Professor Bialock.
The objective of this course is to explore fundamental patterns in the culture and civilization of Japan through an examination of key literary, historical, religious, and philosophical texts from the ancient through modern periods. Particular attention will be paid to the way in which issues of gender, power, and class have shaped the production of Japanese literature. Since standard narratives of Japan's cultural past have been heavily influenced by Japan's emergence as a modern nation state, attention will also be paid to how the cultural dialogue and conflict between Japan and the West that accompanied modernization have shaped both Japanese and western views of Japan's evolution as a civilization. Issues discussed in this course will include the role of myth, story-telling, and historical narrative; conceptions of authority as reflected in evolving notions of imperial, sacred, and secular power; the role of ritual, performance and sociality in Japanese literary and art forms, with specific comparisons to western theatrical and novelistic traditions; the centrality of aesthetics in Japanese self-identity; concepts of self, gender, and otherness, with comparisons to western notions of individuality and subject. The course may also include screenings of several films that require attendance outside normal class time.
Course Requirements and Grading
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 350g
This course description belongs to Professor Birge.
This course presents basic features and highlights of Chinese civilization from neolithic times down to the present day. It explores both the development and the continuities of this great civilization, including aspects of philosophy, religion, politics, gender, literature, and art. We will also look at some areas of Chinese culture as it is encountered here in Los Angeles. No prior knowledge of China is required.
Course Requirements & Grading
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 354g
This course is an analysis of the changing cultural patterns through the reading of the representative works of modern Chinese writers. A review of the literary background and close analysis of the literary expression of earlier short stories will present a strong contrast to the changing aspects of the family, society, religion, philosophy and sexual roles between the old and new China. Through these readings, the course will trace the various transforming phases in which the influx of western thought influence the contents of Chinese cultural tradition. The class will cover to some extent, the socialist process in China since 1949, and the cultural-political movements, leading to the emergence of dissident writers. Simultaneously, the class will impose a genuine equal emphasis on the development of culture in Taiwan where local literature and modernism are more conspicuously and actively practiced. Videos with English subtitles will be shown occasionally in class. All works are read in English translations. There are constant pop-up quizzes to prepare student with knowledge on reading assignments.
Attendance and Readings
EAST ASIAN AREA STUDIES 150g
The following course description belongs to Professor Cooper.
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the societies and cultures of contemporary East Asia. Required readings are ethnographic studies of agricultural and industrial communities in China, Japan, and Korea. Lectures will provide historical and political background to each country. Readings will serve as a basis for discussion of cultural and economic themes and issues in the recent history of each country.
This course has two essential purposes. The first is to acquaint you with a survey of Japanese history. Our purpose will not be to memorize names, dates and places, but rather to see how a civilization quite different from those of the West evolved, developed, and met human needs. We may thereby learn quite a bit not only about Japan, but about our own cultural traditions. At a time when comparisons between contemporary Japan and America appear daily in the mass media, seeing the patterns of Japanese history may help us understand the patterns of contemporary Japan, and evaluate those comparisons with a more educated eye.
The second purpose is to explore what "history" means as an intellectual discipline, and how materials from other branches of knowledge, such as archaeology, economics, fine arts, literature and political science may be deployed to enrich our understanding of the past. The major cultural traditions explored are Japan's agrarian-village tradition, warrior (samurai) tradition, aristocratic/bureaucratic (court nobility) tradition, and the patterns of embracing or rejecting traditions encountered from foreign sources.
Since the Silk Road crossed the lands of the nomads as much as it linked the cities of the East with those of the West, this course will investigate the characteristics of the nomadic cultures of Eurasia and will address the issue of their interaction with urban cultures as diverse as those of China, Central Asia, the Middle East, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean basin. Even as trade is a crucial paradigm in this course, our investigation of the exchange of goods will be placed in a broad context of interaction whereby the link between economic exchange and socio-political transformations and religious, artistic developments will be thoroughly explored. We will accompany the Europeans who traveled the Silk Road and discover “the otherness” of non-European lands through their eyes, just as we will discover Europe’s “otherness” through the eyes of the Eurasians. The journey along the Silk Road will bring before our eyes a “global world” that existed long before the advent of the Global Economy of our own times, and will provide us with the opportunity to discuss the impact of “globalization” on the identity of the individual.
The purpose of this course is to trace the development of religious thought in India, China and Japan, from earliest times until the present, paying attention to certain recurrent themes or motifs while also taking note of some profound discontinuities, especially as we move from India to East Asia. Although the importance of popular and elite practice as both a complement to and source of innovation in religious thought will be noted, as will the influence exerted by socio-economic and other "non-religious" forces? The primary focus of this course will be trends in religious/philosophical thought, as well as the relevance of these trends for contemporary Western thought.
* Failure to attend discussion section will be taken very seriously. One unexcused absence will be tolerated, but further unexcused absences will effect the "section participation" portion of the student's grade (not the overall grade) as follows:
** Field trips to local religious communities (times and places TBA) will also be arranged; attendance will be optional and for extra credit.
Note: For the most recent course information, see the instructor's website.