There is a tradition here of posting our syllabai and asking for advice on how to teach things. Ideally we would do this long enough before the semester starts to get advice on what to assign and do, but I don’t think we ever do that.
My two new-ish classes for Fall are
HIST 106/ASIA 106 Samurai and Gongfu Heroes: Masculinity in East Asia
and HIST 434 Modern China 1800-present
The Samurai and Gongfu class is mostly movies. This may sound like a shameless attempt to drum up enrollment by putting Samurai and Gongfu in the title and also promising to watch movies…and it is of course. On the other hand, it should be a way to draw a lot of students into some of the main narratives of East Asian culture in print and elsewhere and in both their modern popular and older versions. The original course title was Masculinity and Self-Cultivation but I was advised to drop the Self-Cultivation. We will still read some Xunzi, however. As you can see I have tried to split it into thematic units, which may or may not work. (some seem to make sense, some I struggled with.) I am hoping the student presentations at the end are good, since my main hope is to get them to the point where they can watch an Asian film and understand it in some sort of cultural context. We will see how it works.
Modern China is part of my attempt to split up modern China. I know most people like to do Late Imperial and Modern in a single class, but for both China and Japan I think that Ming/Qing and Tokugawa lend themselves to a social/cultural approach and then after 1840 or 1853 it is time to put politics in command. This is also a class where I am starting to rely more on the books that are available on electronically via our library. Once upon a time you had to get them to buy books, and then you were more or less stuck using the whole book. They are still buying a couple books, but now it is easier to use bits and pieces of things they can read for free. We will see how this works. Any comments are welcome.