井底之蛙

2/17/2007

Family and Community in Asia (or, do my job for me)

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 9:38 am

As our regular readers know, there is a tradition here of posting our syllabai for comments. One class I will be teaching in the Fall is ASIA 200, Introduction to Asian Studies. This is a class that is supposed to introduce our Asian Studies students to the various areas of Asia (we do all of Asia) and the various disciplines that study it. I usually organize it around a few readings and films that have a common theme of sorts. I’m thinking of using “family and community” as the theme.

One possibility is using Gregory Ruf Cadres and Kin: Making a Socialist Village in West China, 1921-1991 It’s Antropology and History, it’s China, its short, it’s readable (I think), and it’s in paperback. It deals with the transformation of a community under the hand of the modernizing state. Now I need a bunch of other stuff from other areas and other disciplines. I was thinking of using at least a couple of films, maybe Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home and Zhang Yimou’s Not One Less? (Maybe Oshima’s Boy?) Something on Southeast Asia, a novel, something more poly-sci like. I can think of lots of China things and a fair number of Japan things, but for South Asia and the Middle East I get a bit more limited.

So my question to you is what books or films or whatever had you really wanted to teach and thought would work well with undergrads? The nice thing about a thematic class like this is that we historians are very rarely released from the tyranny of chronology, so for me this is a chance to do a lot of fun stuff. What should I do with it? I’m pretty flexible at this point as far as theme and areas, I’m mostly looking for really good things to show them/have them read.

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