East Asian Languages and Literatures
Jessie Jia (on leave 2020-21)
Masaaki Kamiya, chair
The Chinese Program sends students to its own study abroad program, Associated Colleges in China (ACC). The Japanese Program has a list of recommended programs, and students will select a program in consultation with faculty.
Language courses focus on language acquisition and introduction to the cultures and civilizations of the target countries and regions. Both the Chinese and Japanese Programs also offer culture, literature, film, media, and linguistics courses in English translation for those who have not studied the languages but are interested in the culture and society.
Both the Chinese and Japanese concentrations emphasize work in the original language as a key to understanding China/Japan and related issues aiming at and preparing students for further studies in graduate schools and professional careers in international trade, government service, diplomacy, private business, journalism, and other related fields.
A concentration in Chinese consists of nine courses offered by the Chinese Program and numbered 140 or higher, including at least one 400-level course in each semester of the senior year and the required senior project (550). A minor in Chinese consists of five courses offered by the Chinese Program and numbered 140 or higher, including at least one 400-level course. After consulting the Chinese Program, students may use courses focusing on China offered by the Asian Studies Program or another department to satisfy the Chinese concentration or minor requirements. For a major in Asian Studies China track, see the Asian Studies Program site.
A minor in Japanese requires five courses. Those courses include at least three language courses beyond Japanese 120 (i.e., 130, 140 and 200) and one non-language course offered by the program. The fifth course may be either a language (220 and above) or a non-language course. Consult the faculty in the Japanese Program. For a major in Asian Studies Japan track, see the Asian Studies Program site. Students of Chinese and Japanese are strongly encouraged to participate in study abroad programs in China and Japan.
Students of Chinese are eligible for the ACC program. Students of Japanese have the opportunity to study abroad through such programs as ICU-Middlebury (Tokyo), CIEE-Sophia University (Tokyo), AKP (Kyoto), Kyoto Center for Japanese Language (Kyoto), and Nanzan University (Nagoya). Consult the faculty in Japanese to find the best program for your interests.
To obtain departmental honors, students must have an average of A- or higher in all coursework in Chinese and must be a Chinese major. For honors in Asian Studies (China or Japan), see the Asian Studies site.
Study of the Chinese and the Japanese languages (Chinese 140/Japanese 140) in the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department also satisfies the two-year language requirement of the Asian Studies Program. Students are encouraged to strengthen their understanding of cross-cultural issues by integrating their language and culture studies with courses offered in Asian studies.
Students interested in beginning or continuing their Chinese or Japanese language studies should make an immediate start with the 100- or 200-level courses in the first semester, or consult with the department chair. All 100-, 200- and 300-level courses taught in English are open to juniors and seniors without prerequisites, unless otherwise noted.
All senior-level courses in the Chinese concentration discuss issues that would satisfy the SSIH requirement. The department emphasizes the breadth of this requirement and students satisfy this requirement through one of the following pairs of courses: 410/420/425/426 and 430/450/465 Along with its curricular mission and disciplinary expectations, the Chinese program requires its concentrators to fulfill the Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies (SSIH) requirement in their senior year. Only at this level are students ready with sufficient Chinese language and cultural proficiency and usually a study abroad experience in China for an education of the social, structural, and institutional hierarchies in and surrounding the Chinese-speaking world through its own language, on its own terms, and with adequate breadth and depth.
All conducted in Chinese and offered annually or biannually, the seven courses mentioned below integrate advanced-level training of language skills with enhancement of cultural awareness, intercultural sensitivity and reflections, translingual and transcultural competency, and understanding of issues related to social, structural, and institutional hierarchies. Requiring students to take one from each of the two groups of courses will combine breadth and depth in their SSIH education.
Although the Japanese Program does not have its own concentration, we offer the following non-language courses (taught in English) that can be taken by students in other concentrations to satisfy the SSIH requirement. These courses all help students gain an understanding of structural and institutional hierarchies based on one or more of the social categories of race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, age, and abilities/disabilities.
JAPN 160 “Modern Selves and Ways of Seeing: Japanese Film, Animation, and Literature” (FYC)
JAPN 205 “Topics in Japanese Linguistics”
JAPN 239/339 “Modern Japan: Japanese Culture and Society From A(-Bomb) to (Dragon Ball)Z”
JAPN 260 “Place, Memory, and Empathy: Japan and Its Others”
Associated Colleges in China
Administered by the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department, the program provides summer, fall and spring
study in Beijing (Capital University of Economics and Business) with intensive coursework through individualized instruction with a high level of participation and interaction. The courses are taught entirely in Chinese and encompass topics including advanced language, Chinese politics, society, economics, religion, art, folklore and literature. Unique features and activities of the program include the language pledge (speaking Chinese only), language practicum
(individual projects conducted with local citizens), Chinese host families, Chinese language table, field trips in historically and culturally important sites outside of Beijing and extracurricular activities such as Taichi, Chinese food cooking, calligraphy, etc.
The courses taken with ACC will count toward the Chinese concentration requirement. However, students with
concentrations other than Chinese should consult with the appropriate department for transfer of credit for the
The ACC Program is open to sophomores, juniors and first-semester seniors. It is in principle a full-year program (summer, fall and spring); however, applications may be made for any of the three sections. To be admitted, students must take at least two semesters of Chinese, a course on the culture and civilization of China and have the permission of the ACC director.
An introduction to spoken and written modern Chinese through conversational drills, comprehension, reading and writing practice in classwork and homework. Four hours of class, with additional lab work and individual sessions for each student. Maximum enrollment, 16. Jin and Huang.
Continued work in speaking, listening and reading. Emphasis on patterns that facilitate speaking and reading. Four hours of class, with additional lab work and individual sessions for each student. Prerequisite, 110. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Comprehensive review of grammar and development of language skills through communicative teaching. Four hours of class, with additional lab work and individual sessions for each student. Prerequisite, 120 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Lin.
Continuation of third-term Chinese. Development of spoken and written skills, as well as familiarity with current Chinese culture. Class discussions in Chinese. Four hours of class, with additional lab work and individual sessions for each student. Prerequisite, 130 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Modern China Through Film.
Examines how films produced in diverse socio-economic contexts generate conflicting modern representations of China, ranging from a legendary land, a rapidly changing society, to an everlasting patriarchy, and how these representations produce hegemonic and subversive cultural knowledge. Students will gain broad understanding of Chinese cinema and history, theory of film and cultural studies, and pertinent Hollywood films. All films have English subtitles. Requirements include film viewings, presentations, quizzes, class discussions and a final paper. All lectures and discussions in English. All lectures and discussions in English. Wang.
Americans & Chinese: Case Studies of Cross-Cultural Communication.
Through film screening, role-play, skit performances and discussions, students learn to identify differences in the behavioral culture between Americans and Chinese. The course brings students of different cultural backgrounds together and conducts cross-cultural comparison through observation, first-hand experience sharing, and critical analysis. It helps Americans to interact more effectively when dealing with Chinese counterparts in their future careers. It also helps Chinese native speakers to better adjust to the American culture. All course materials are in English or subtitled. Junqing Jia.
Third-Year Chinese I.
Designed for students who wish to use Chinese beyond everyday conversation. Concentrates on subtleties of Chinese grammar and builds a vocabulary through extensive use of short texts. Includes expository writing. Four hours of class, with additional tutorial and laboratory work. Taught primarily in Chinese. Prerequisite, 140 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature: Traditions and Modernities.
Since 1919, Chinese literature has played a decisive role in interactions between tradition and modernity. This course examines the development of Chinese literature against such interactions. Students will familiarize themselves with the most representative modern and contemporary Chinese literary works and gain a broad understanding of many modernity-related issues, including politics, culture, class, labor division, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. All lectures and discussions in English. Requirements: presentations, class discussions, film viewings and a final paper. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 210.)
Advanced Chinese II.
Continuation of Advanced Chinese I, with emphasis on making the transition from textbook to an advanced level of competence for reading periodicals and journals in China. Discussion, written and oral work. Taught in Chinese. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, 200 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Native-Soil in Chinese-Language Cinemas.
This course studies Chinese-language films and explores how “home” and “native-soil” are envisioned in the age of globalization. While examining films from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, students learn about socio-economic contexts in different Sinophone regions. We scrutinize the way the intersection between global capitalism and local mainstream cultures produces deviant imageries of “home” and “native-soil” from the perspective of the disenfranchised. All lectures and discussions in English. Requirements: presentations, class discussions, film viewings and a final paper. Chialan (Sharon) Wang.
Exploring the Roots of Contemporary Issues in China.
Through examining twelve contemporary issues in China, this introductory course on Chinese civilization will explore some fundamental themes that help to shape and define the culture. Students are expected to be engaged in readings, lectures, discussions, video screenings, and interviews. Issues that we will discover include the food and environment in China; Taoism’s transformation in modernity; Neo-Confucianism and the education system; media censorship and its background; the legacy and future of Chinese language, and so on. Taught in English. No prior knowledge of China is required. Junqing Jia.
Chinese-language Queer Cinema.
This course surveys Chinese-language queer cinema since the 1960s up to the contemporary period in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It investigates the visual representation of gay, lesbian, and transgender desires within different historical and cultural contexts. While studying the historical development of the notion of queer and the mutual cultural influences across the regions, we will particularly discuss the way the term is mobilized as a trope for socio-political discourses, and the way the representation of queer negotiates mainstream ideologies. Chialan Sharon Wang.
Seminar: Transcultural Chinese-Language Cinema and Hollywood.
Does Hollywood cinema dictate its reception across the world? Are there clear-cut boundaries between non-Hollywood cinema’s submission and resistance to Hollywood? Facing worldwide competition, how does Hollywood maintain its dominance of global culture? This seminar examines such questions by focusing on the nuanced negotiations between Hollywood films and diverse Chinese-language cultures, including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Students will gain insight into Chinese-language films, literatures, and cultures as well as their own culture shaped by Hollywood-dominated media. All discussions in English. Maximum enrollment, 12. Zhuoyi Wang.
Advanced Chinese: Reading and Writing.
Designed for students who are approaching advanced level Chinese but need further refinements on vocabulary usage and formal expression, this course aims at increasing reading and composition capabilities with a primary focus on language accuracy and appropriateness. Students will be exposed to a large amount of authentic and formal Chinese texts covering political issues, social structure, and economic development in China to obtain the skills necessary to complete various writing tasks. (Writing-intensive.) (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, Any 200-level or 300-level course conducted in Chinese or consent of the instructor. Taught in Chinese Maximum enrollment, 12.
Introduction to Taiwanese Society and Culture.
This course will focus on a wide range of social and cultural issues in Taiwan. Students in this class will be exposed to a large number of authentic and academic Chinese texts. They will understand Taiwanese social structure and cultural landscape while obtaining the skills necessary to produce effective argumentative writing. Particularly designed for advanced-level Chinese students who want to achieve near-native proficiency in reading and writing skills. Taught in Chinese. (Writing-intensive.) (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, Any 200-level or 300-level course conducted in Chinese or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 18. TBA.
Current Issues in Greater China.
Presentation and analysis of different perspectives on the 21st-century Greater China Region, including geopolitical and economic issues, social structure and changes, political situation, and popular culture. Class materials include documentaries, video/films, web sources, and traditional texts. Short papers and oral presentation. Particularly designed for students who wish to improve their speaking and writing skills before working on their senior projects. (Writing-intensive.) (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, Any 200-level or 300-level course conducted in Chinese or consent of the instructor. Taught in Chinese. Maximum enrollment, 18. TBA.
Advanced Spoken Chinese.
This course is designed to improve students’ oral Chinese proficiency to advanced level and to help students prepare for ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Through guided discussions on various topics in both formal and informal settings, students will be trained to master Chinese speaking skills to support opinion, hypothesize, and discuss topic concretely and abstractly in a fluent and accurate manner. Prerequisite, Limited to senior Chinese concentrators or consent of the instructor. Taught in Chinese. Maximum enrollment, 12. The Department.
Masterpieces of Chinese Literature.
Reading and discussion of the masterpieces from Chinese literature including essays during the early Qin and Han dynasties, poetry and prose from the Tang and Song dynasties, the novels from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Taught in Chinese. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, A 400-level course in Chinese or consent of instructor. Limited to seniors or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 18. Wang.
Understanding Taiwan through Film.
This course discusses Taiwan’s political, cultural, gender, and immigration history, social and religious customs, ethnic tensions, and environmental challenges through a wide range of Taiwanese films. Students will gain a broad understanding of Taiwan’s diverse culture and complex society, improving their Chinese speaking skills for presenting and discussing ideas on advanced level. Requirements: individual and group presentations, class discussions, debates, film viewing, and role-play activities. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Speaking-Intensive.) Prerequisite, a 400 level Chinese course or consent of instructor. Taught in Chinese, Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies, Speaking-Intensive Tiao-Guan Huang.
Cinematic Heroes and Heroines in Post-Mao China.
In Maoist China, Mao was the ultimate figure at the pinnacle of the hero system that generated for most people aspirational feelings of eternal life. His death in 1976 initiated a search for a new hero system. Still on-going, the search has frequently changed its direction in the post-Mao discursive environment composed of complex ideological, economic, and artistic interactions and negotiations. This course closely examines the central role of cinema in this search. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of how films reflect and shape contemporary Chinese ideology and culture. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Speaking-Intensive.) Prerequisite, a 200 or higher level Chinese course or consent of instructor. Taught in Chinese. Wang, Zhuoyi.
Remembering the Chinese Revolution through Film.
The 20th century saw waves of revolutions shape the history of modern China. This course examines how Chinese films produced in diverse socio-economic contexts represent this century of revolution. Students will gain a broad understanding of the history of modern China, familiarize themselves with film analysis techniques and post-1949 Chinese cinema, and learn to understand film as the most powerful modern art form for constructing historical memories. Requirements for the course include group presentations, film analysis assignments, and one final paper. Taught in Chinese. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, A 300-level course in Chinese or permission of instructor. Limited to seniors or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Wang.
Chinese Education in the Age of Americanization: Crises and Reforms.
Schools in the United States have seen a rapidly increasing influx of Chinese students. In China, this trend corresponds with a growing idealization of the US educational system and dissatisfaction with the Chinese one. Yet the US system has also found itself in crisis, and turned to educational methods at the center of the Chinese system in its reforms. This course will discuss the respective strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese and the American systems, the crises they are facing, and possible directions of reforms.Presentations, weekly writing assignments, and a final paper. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, a 400 level course. Limited to seniors or consent of instructor. Next offered spring 2018. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Practicum in Chinese Language and Culture Education.
This course combines study in Chinese language and culture and experience in teaching one or two Chinese language and culture courses at K-5 programs in the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES school districts. Students in the course participate in weekly classes focusing on various aspects of Chinese language, culture, and teaching through lectures, group discussions, papers, and presentations on curriculum, instruction and assessment. Taught in Chinese. Prerequisite, Any 200-level or 300-level course conducted in Chinese or consent of instructor.
A research project using sources in Chinese culminating in a paper, designed by the student, in consultation with at least two members of the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department. Students are expected to develop analytical and linguistic skills in the Chinese language through culture study in upper-level coursework and/or study abroad. Prerequisite, Limited to senior Chinese concentrators. Maximum enrollment, 6. The Department.
Introduction to basic structures and vocabulary. Emphasis on oral communication with practice in reading and writing, using the two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and 28 kanji characters. Four 50-minute classes a week (Monday-Thursday). Maximum enrollment, 16. Kamiya.
Continued work in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, with mastery of 99 kanji characters. Four 50-minute classes a week (Monday-Thursday). Prerequisite, 110, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Kamiya.
Completion of introduction to basic structures of the language. Continued emphasis on oral communication, with practice in reading simple texts. An additional 104 kanji characters will be introduced. Four 50-minute classes a week (Monday-Thursday). Prerequisite, 120 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Nozaki.
Intermediate Japanese with continued emphasis on oral communication. An additional 108 kanji characters will be introduced. Four 50-minute classes a week (Monday-Thursday). Prerequisite, 130, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Nozaki.
Modern Selves and Ways of Seeing: Japanese Film, Animation, and Literature.
Modern technology has changed the ways in which we see and understand the world around us, as well as ourselves. Up to today, technological advancements have continued to inspire artists to create works that depict such sensorial changes in human experience. This course will examine Japanese animation, films, and literary works that draw our attention to new modes of perception and ways of engaging with the world in the modern age. Open to First-years only. (Writing-intensive.) Taught in English. No prior knowledge of Japan is required. Maximum enrollment, 16. Kyoko Omori.
Early Japanese Pop Culture: Edo Period Literature in Translation.
The Edo Period (1603-1868) was a time of stability in Japan. The urban centers of Japan thrived, and people had greater access to wealth and education. There was an explosion of popular literature and performances, many of which influence today’s pop culture. We will read representative works from the Edo period, including ghost stories, puppet and kabuki plays, haiku, and comic fiction. The course will be primarily discussion-based. Writing assignments will include a creative writing option. The course has no prerequisites and does not require Japanese knowledge. John Christopher Kern.
Advanced Japanese I.
Increasing emphasis on written Japanese, with acquisition of an additional 160 kanji characters. Prerequisite, 140, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Nozaki.
Topics in Japanese Linguistics.
This course explores Japanese phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Students will compare Japanese with English and examine universal perspectives of language. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 110, Anthropology 201 or consent of instructor. (Same as Linguistics 205.)
Examines interface phenomena between pragmatics and language acquisition. Students will learn theoretical issues of semantics/pragmatics and the theory of the first language acquisition. Target languages to examine various phenomena are Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, For those taking 319, consult with the instructor. (Same as Linguistics 219/319.) Kamiya.
Advanced Japanese II.
Continuation of Advanced Japanese I, with guided practice in reading modern texts with acquisition of additional 250 kanji characters. Prerequisite, 200, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Nozaki.
Morphology and Syntax.
This course explores the relationship between word formation and sentence formation by examining English and Japanese grammar (and, to a certain degree, that of other languages). Ultimately, both morphology and syntax play important roles in the interpretation of sentences. No previous linguistics background or Japanese language background is necessary. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Same as Linguistics 230.)
Modern Japan: Japanese Culture and Society From A(-Bomb) to (Dragon Ball)Z.
This course explores issues of imperialism, military conflict, pacifism, nuclear victimhood, foreign occupation, national identity, and social responsibility in 19th to 21st-century Japan. Materials include nonfiction, science fiction, poetry, war propaganda, novels, censorship documents, animé, and film. Taught in English. No knowledge of Japanese language or history required. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 239.) Omori.
Women writing the self: 1000 years of Japanese autobiographical women’s writing.
This course examines literature by women in Japan from the 9th to the 20th centuries. Women have written about their own feelings and experiences since the Heian period -- we will read diaries, fictional stories, and poetry in which women express their desires, sorrows, joys, and regrets. We will discuss the historical context of the works, what role gender plays in production and consumption of the texts, the nature of autobiographical writing, fiction vs. nonfiction, and other issues. Taught in English. No Japanese knowledge is necessary. Prerequisite, Prerequisite for the 300-level only: Any one course from the following: Literature, Asian Studies or Japanese, or consent of the instructor. Students enrolling in this course at the 300 level will be required to complete an additional project. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 240/340.) John Christopher Kern.
The Languages of East Asia.
Examines Chinese, Japanese and Korean as well as other languages found in East Asia. Topics include the syntactic (possible word order, inflections, particles, and combinations of all of them) and phonological structures (phoneme, pitch vs. tone, sound patterns) of these languages; the relationships of the languages to each other; differences and similarities of these languages from the universal point of view; the geographical, social and historical settings. No knowledge of any Asian language necessary. (Same as Linguistics 255.)
Place, Memory, and Empathy: Japan and Its Others.
Focusing on Japan as a point of reference, this course will consider how the notion of “place” gets constructed through human emotions as something more than just a set of geographical coordinates. Examining a range of literary works and films, we will study how “Japan” has been imagined, constructed, and remembered in the 20th century through storytelling. Topics to be covered include Japan’s imperialism in Asia, Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Vietnam War, minorities in Japan, and anime. Taught in English. No prior knowledge of Japan is required. Open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only.
Field Study in Japan: Place, Memory, and Empathy.
Focusing on Japan as a point of reference, this spring recess field study will consider how the notion of “place” gets constructed through human emotions. Students will take basic language and culture sessions at Doshisha Univ in Kyoto, as well as visit locations of historical, cultural, or political significances in Kyoto and Hiroshima. After the trip, students will upload to a digital archive the stories of the places they studied. Concurrent registration in JAPN260 required. A quarter credit course. Selection of participants takes place in November of the previous semester. Maximum enrollment, 6.
Introduction to Japanese Film.
This course traces the history of one of the world’s most innovative film industries. Since the early 20th century, Japanese filmmakers have experimented with and improved upon cinema. Their work has been influential not only in Japan but throughout the world. From the drama of early silent movies to anime, we will cover some of the “greatest hits” of Japanese film, whether widely popular or critically acclaimed. This exploration of cinema in Japan will offer both a new perspective on cinema itself as well as an opportunity to view the genre’s development in a specific cultural context. Prerequisite, CNMS 120, any 100 course in Asian studies or Japanese, or consent of the instructor. No prior knowledge of Japan is required. Taught in English. Omori.
Selected Readings in Japanese.
Reading in modern literary and non-literary texts and mastery of the remaining kanji characters on the joyo kanji list. Through advanced-level reading of original texts and in-depth discussion, students focus on topics such as Japanese literature, film, culture and linguistics. This course also accommodates and guides senior theses. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, 220, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Omori.
Japanese Textual Analysis and Translation.
Designed for students who want to achieve near-native proficiency in all four skills in Japanese language. Particular attention given to translation of literary and other texts. This course also accommodates and guides senior theses. Course conducted in Japanese. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, 401, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 16. Omori.