Chinese and Japanese Department

Requirements for Chinese or Japanese Concentration: 13 units (12 units if the student starts language study from the Chinese or Japanese 106 or 205 level, 11 units if the student starts language study from Chinese or Japanese 206 or above) chosen from the Chinese-Japanese curriculum, including the required Chinese-Japanese 120, Chinese/Japanese 305-306, and four additional content courses. At least two of the content courses must be at the 300-level. (Both Chinese/Japanese 350 and 351 can be counted toward the major as content courses, but only one can be counted toward the 300-level content course requirement.) At most one non-departmental course from the approved course list can be taken to fulfill the major if beginning at the 105 level; at most two non-departmental courses from the approved list may be taken to fulfill the major if starting language study at the 106 level or higher. After declaring a concentration in Chinese and Japanese, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements. Courses that are ungraded (such as Independent Study and Field Work) cannot count toward the major. Majors are encouraged to take Chinese-Japanese 120 as early as possible. For students seeking to double major in Chinese and Japanese, no more than two units may be double counted.

Junior Year Abroad and summer courses may substitute for the required courses with department approval. The department strongly encourages students to study abroad in China or Japan and commits to providing the students with supervised study away programs. The courses of Vassar’s summer programs in China and Japan are equivalent to their respective on-campus courses.

Honors’ Requirements: Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must complete a thesis or project of sufficient quality. A thesis is normally written in both semesters of the senior year. A senior project may be done either as a one-unit course in one semester, or a half-unit course in each of two semesters.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence in Chinese or Japanese: 6 units chosen from among Chinese 160/360 and Chinese or Japanese 105, 106, 205, 206, 298, 305, 306, 350, 351, and 399; at least 5 units must be taken above the 100-level and two courses must be taken at the 300-level. Junior Year Abroad and summer courses may be substituted, but only with prior departmental approval, and at least 4 units must be taken at Vassar. Courses available for letter grades must be taken for letter grades.

Departmental courses are arranged in three groups: 1) courses in Chinese-Japanese literary and cultural studies (CHJA); 2) courses in Chinese language and literary/cultural studies (CHIN); and 3) courses in Japanese language and literary/cultural studies (JAPA).

Chinese-Japanese (CHJA)

I. Introductory

120b. Introduction to Chinese and Japanese Literature (1)

Open to all students. Ms. Dollase.

II. Intermediate

250. Special Topics in Chinese and Japanese Literature/Culture(1)

Topics vary each year. Can be repeated for credit when a new topic is offered.

Possible topics include:

Experiencing the Other: Representation of Each Other in Chinese and Western Literature since the Eighteenth Century

Masterpieces of Classical Japanese Literature

Introduction to Chinese Literature: Poetry and Fiction

Japanese Poetry

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisites: Two units of Chinese or Japanese.

298a or b. Independent Study (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Chinese or Japanese.

III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

302a or b. Senior Project (1)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in one semester. The department.

Permission required.

303a. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Year long course 303-304.

Permission required.

304b. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Yearlong course 303-304.

Permission required.

350a. Seminar in Chinese Philosophy: Comparative Methodology(1)

(Same as Philosophy 350a) This course explores some of the methodological issues raised by the prospect of one culture understanding and making judgments about another. The effort to understand another culture raises fundamental issues about the nature of rationality, ethics, and truth. Consequently, this course is structured around the three major approaches to these issues in the contemporary world: Modernism, Postmodernism and Hermeneutics. Very roughly, these three approaches argue over whether rationality, truth, and ethics are universal (Modernism), incommensurable (Postmodernism) or historical and dialogical (Hermeneutics). Requirements include regular class participation that shows familiarity with the readings and many brief essays. Mr. Van Norden.

361. Chinese and Japanese Drama and Theatre (1)

(Same as Drama 361) A study of Chinese and Japanese culture and society through well-known dramatic genres—zaju, chuanqi, kunqu, Beijing Opera, modern Spoken Drama, noh, kyogen, bunraku, kabuki, and New Drama; a close reading of selected plays in English translation. Scheduled films of performances convey Chinese and Japanese theatrical conventions and aesthetics. Discussions focus on major themes based on research presentations. All readings and discussions are in English. Mr. Du.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture, drama or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

362a. Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 362a. and Women's Studies 362a.) An intercultural examination of the images of women presented in Japanese and Chinese narrative, drama, and poetry from their early emergence to the modern period. While giving critical attention to aesthetic issues and the gendered voices in representative works, the course also provides a comparative view of the dynamic changes in women's roles in Japan and China. All selections are in English translation. Ms. Qiu.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

363b. Seminar in Transcending the Limit: Literary Theory in the East-West Context (1)

This course examines various traditional and contemporary literary theories with a distinct Asianist—particularly East Asianist—perspective. At least since the eighteenth century, Western theoretical discourse often took into serious consideration East Asian literature, language and civilization in their construction of "universal" theoretical discourses. The comparative approach to literary theory becomes imperative in contemporary theoretical discourse as we move toward ever greater global integration. Selected theoretical texts from the I Ching, Hegel, Genette, Barthes, Derrida, Todorov, and Heidegger as well as some primary literary texts are among the required readings. All readings are in English. Mr. Liu.

Prerequisite: one literature course or permission of instructor.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the Chair. Offered only pass/fail.

Prerequisite: 4 units of Chinese or Japanese. The department.

Chinese (CHIN)

I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Chinese (1.5)

An introduction to Mandarin Chinese (putong hua or guo yu). While the approach is aural-lingual, reading and writing skills are introduced early in the program. The two semesters cover about 700 characters. Grammatical analysis, pattern drills, and conversational practices are stressed throughout. Mr. Du.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all students.

Five 50-minute periods.

106b. Elementary Chinese (1.5)

An introduction to Mandarin Chinese (putong hua or guo yu). While the approach is aural-lingual, reading and writing skills are introduced early in the program. The two semesters cover about 700 characters. Grammatical analysis, pattern drills, and conversational practices are stressed throughout. The department.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all students.

Five 50-minute periods.

160. Introduction to Classical Chinese (1)

This course is an introduction to Classical Chinese (the Chinese equivalent of Latin) for students with no previous training or background in Chinese. Classical Chinese is the literary language in which almost all of Chinese literature was written prior to the twentieth century. This course introduces students to the rudiments of reading Classical Chinese, with an emphasis on early Chinese philosophical texts. No previous background in Chinese language, history, or culture is required. Among the texts to be studied are passages from the sayings of Confucius and Taoist works. Mr. Van Norden.

Open to all students.

Does not satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Not offered in 2011/12.

II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate Chinese (1.5)

Further practice in conversation and learned patterns; acquisition of new grammatical structures, vocabulary, and about 700 additional characters. Emphasis on communicative skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The department.

Year long course 205-206.

Prerequisite: Chinese 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Five 50-minute periods.

206b. Intermediate Chinese (1.5)

Further practice in conversation and learned patterns; acquisition of new grammatical structures, vocabulary, and about 700 additional characters. Emphasis on communicative skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The department.

Year long course 205-206.

Prerequisite: Chinese 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Five 50-minute periods.

214. The Tumultuous Century: Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 214) This is a survey/introduction to the literature of China from the late Qing Dynasty through the present day. Texts are arranged according to trends and schools as well as to their chronological order. Authors include Wu Jianren, Lu Xun, Zhang Ailing, Ding Ling, Mo Yan and Gao Xingjian. All major genres are covered but the focus is on fiction. A few feature films are also included in association with some of the literary works and movements. No knowledge of the Chinese language, Chinese history, or culture is required for taking the course. All readings and class discussions are in English. Mr. Liu.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

218. Chinese Popular Culture (1)

The course analyzes contemporary Chinese entertainment and popular culture. It provides both historical coverage and grounding in various theoretical and methodological problems. Topics focus on thematic contents and forms of entertainment through television, radio, newspaper, cinema, theatre, music, print and material culture. The course also examines the relations between the heritage of traditional Chinese entertainment and the influences of Western culture. All readings and class discussions are in English. Mr. Du.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture, film, drama, or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

220. Chinese Film and Contemporary Fiction (1)

(Same as Film 220)An introduction to Chinese film through its adaptations of contemporary stories. Focus is on internationally well-known films by the fifth and sixth generation of directors since the late 1980s. Early Chinese films from the 1930s to the 1970s are also included in the screenings. The format of the course is to read a series of stories in English translations and to view their respective cinematic versions. The discussions concentrate on cultural and social aspects as well as on comparison of themes and viewpoints in the two genres. The interrelations between texts and visual images are also explored. Mr. Du.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture, film, drama, or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Chinese.

298a or b. Independent Study (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Chinese.

III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

302a or b. Senior Project (1)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in one semester. The department.

Permission required.

303a. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Year long course 303-304.

Permission required.

304b. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Year long course 303-304.

Permission required.

305a. Advanced Chinese (1)

Intensive instruction in the reading of Chinese language materials, reflecting aspects of a changing China. Emphasis is on communicative skills. Mr. Liu.

Prerequisite: Chinese 205-206 or permission of instructor.

306b. Advanced Chinese (1)

Intensive instruction in the reading of Chinese language materials, reflecting aspects of a changing China. Emphasis is on communicative skills. Mr. Liu.

Prerequisite: Chinese 205-206 and 305 or permission of instructor.

350a. Advanced Readings in Chinese: Genres and Themes (1)

This course is equivalent to a fourth-year Chinese course or beyond, and may be repeated for credit if topic changes. The course aims to further develop the advanced students' speaking, reading and writing proficiency. The course explores different genres of texts from various journalistic and literary writings. Readings are arranged according to thematic topics. Course discussions and lectures are conducted in Chinese. The department.

Prerequisite: Chinese 306 or permission of instructor.

351b. Advanced Readings of Original Literary Works (1)

This course is equivalent to a fourth-year Chinese course or beyond, and may be repeated for credit if topic changes. This course involves close reading of a single literary work of an extensive length, shorter texts of a single author, or texts which have a common thematic interest. Emphasis is on baihua literature while samples of semi-wenyan texts are introduced. Through close reading and classroom discussion of the material, students are trained to approach authentic texts with linguistic confidence and useful methods. Course discussions and lectures are conducted in Chinese. The department.

Prerequisite: Chinese 306 or permission of instructor.

360. Classical Chinese (1)

This course is for students with at least two years of modern Chinese or the equivalent. It introduces students to the rudiments of reading Wenyan, or Classical Chinese (the Chinese equivalent of Latin), with an emphasis on early Chinese philosophical texts. In addition to learning Classical Chinese, students in this course work with and are tested on modern Chinese translations of the classical texts. Mr. Van Norden.

Prerequisite: Chinese 205-206 or equivalent.

Not offered in 2011/12.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: Four units of Chinese.

Japanese (JAPA)

I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Japanese (1.5)

An introduction to modern Japanese. Students develop communicative skills based on the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary and conversational expressions. Emphasis is placed on both oral and written proficiency. The course introduces hiragana andkatakana syllabaries as well as approximately 150 kanji (Chinese characters). Ms. Dollase.

Yearlong course 105-106.

Open to all students.

Five 50-minute periods.

106b. Elementary Japanese (1.5)

An introduction to modern Japanese. Students develop communicative skills based on the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary and conversational expressions. Emphasis is placed on both oral and written proficiency. The course introduces hiragana andkatakana syllabaries as well as approximately 150 kanji (Chinese characters). Ms. Matsubara.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to all students.

Five 50-minute periods.

II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate Japanese (1.5)

This course puts equal emphasis on the further development of oral-aural proficiency and reading-writing skills with an intense review of basic grammar as well as an introduction of more advanced grammar, new vocabulary, expressions, and another 350 kanji (Chinese characters). Ms. Qiu.

Year long course 205-206.

Prerequisite: Japanese 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Five 50-minute periods.

206b. Intermediate Japanese (1.5)

This course puts equal emphasis on the further development of oral-aural proficiency and reading-writing skills with an intense review of basic grammar as well as an introduction of more advanced grammar, new vocabulary, expressions, and another 350 kanji (Chinese characters). Ms. Qiu.

Year long course 205-206.

Prerequisite: Japanese 105-106 or permission of instructor.

Five 50-minute periods.

222. Narratives of Japan: Fiction and Film (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and Media Studies 222b)

This course examines the characteristics of Japanese narratives in written and cinematic forms. Through selected novels and films that are based on the literary works or related to them thematically, the course explores the different ways in which Japanese fiction and film tell a story and how each work interacts with the time and culture that produced it. While appreciating the aesthetic pursuit of each author or film director, attention is also given to the interplay of tradition and modernity in the cinematic representation of the literary masterpieces and themes. No previous knowledge of Japanese language is required. Ms. Qiu.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture, film or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

223. The Gothic and the Supernatural in Japanese Literature (1)

This course introduces students to Japanese supernatural stories. We interpret the hidden psyche of the Japanese people and culture that create such bizarre tales. We see not only to what extent the supernatural creatures — demons, vampires, and mountain witches — in these stories represent the "hysteria" of Japanese commoners resulting from social and cultural oppression, but also to what extent these supernatural motifs have been adopted and modified by writers of various literary periods. This course consists of four parts; female ghosts, master authors of ghost stories, Gothic fantasy and dark urban psyche. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

224. Japanese Popular Culture and Literature (1)

This course examines Japanese popular culture as seen through popular fiction. Works by such writers as Murakami Haruki, Yoshimoto Banana, Murakami Ryu, Yamada Eimi, etc. who emerged in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, are discussed. Literary works are compared with various popular media such as film, music, manga, and animation to see how popular youth culture is constructed and reflects young people's views on social conditions. Theoretical readings are assigned. This course emphasizes discussion and requires research presentations. This course is conducted in English. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Japanese.

298a or b. Independent Study (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Japanese. The department.

III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

Permission required.

302a or b. Senior Project (1)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in one semester. The department.

Permission required.

303a. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Year long course 303-304.

Permission required.

304b. Senior Project (1/2)

Open only to majors. One-unit project done in two semesters. The department.

Year long course 303-304.

Permission required.

305a. Advanced Japanese (1)

This course is designed to develop each student's ability to read contemporary Japanese text from newspapers, magazines, and literary works, with a solid grammatical foundation and mastery of kanji, as well as gaining proficiency in writing at an advanced level. Continued training in aural-oral proficiency in spoken Japanese through exercises, classroom interactions and audio-visual materials. Ms. Matsubara.

Prerequisite: Japanese 205-206 or permission of instructor.

306b. Advanced Japanese (1)

This course is designed to develop each student's ability to read contemporary Japanese text from newspapers, magazines, and literary works, with a solid grammatical foundation and mastery of kanji, as well as gaining proficiency in writing at an advanced level. Continued training in aural-oral proficiency in spoken Japanese through exercises, classroom interactions and audio-visual materials. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: Japanese 205-206, and 305 or permission of instructor.

324. Japanese Popular Culture and Literature for Majors (1)

JAPA 224 and JAPA 324 students attend the same class, but JAPA 324 students engage in various language related projects (such as translation of original texts, reaction papers in Japanese, etc.) in addition to class participation in English. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: Japanese 351 or above, or permission of instructor. Not open to students who have previously taken 224.

Not offered in 2011/12.

350a. Advanced Readings in Japanese: Genres and Themes (1)

This course is equivalent to a fourth-year Japanese course or beyond, and may be repeated for credit if topic changes. The aim of this course is to further develop the advanced students' speaking, reading, and writing proficiency. The course explores different genres of texts ranging from contemporary Japanese media sources to literature. Readings are arranged according to thematic topics. Discussions and lectures are conducted entirely in Japanese. Ms. Matsubara.

Prerequisite: Japanese 306 or permission of instructor.

351b. Advanced Readings of Original Literary Works (1)

This course is equivalent to a fourth-year Japanese course or beyond, and may be repeated for credit if topic changes. This course involves close reading of a single literary work of an extensive length, shorter texts of a single author, or texts which have a common thematic interest. Through close reading and classroom discussion of the material, students are trained to approach authentic texts with linguistic confidence and useful methods. Discussions and lectures are conducted entirely in Japanese. Ms. Matsubara.

Prerequisite: Japanese 306 or permission of instructor.

364. The West in Japanese Literature since the Nineteenth Century (1)

(same as Asian Studies 364). This course examines the influence of the West on Japanese literature after the nineteenth century and follows the process of the construction of modern Japanese identity. Authors may include: Natsume Sôseki, Akuagawa Ryûnosuke, Tanizaki Junichirô, Kojima Nobuo, Murakami Ryû and Yamada Amy. Translated Japanese literary works are closely read, and various theoretical readings are assigned. This course emphasizes discussion and requires research presentations. This course is conducted in English. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

One-half or one- unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the chair. Offered only pass/fail. The department.

Prerequisite: 4 units of Japanese.