Course Level: Graduate
Course Description: This is the department’s graduate seminar for incoming Ph.D students. In this seminar the students are introduced to important theoretical topics and key concepts that are relevant to the comparative and critical study of Asia. Rather than focusing on a particular region, historical period, or disciplinary perspective, the course seeks to equip students with tools essential for a sophisticated and compelling analysis of a variety of regions, historical periods, and disciplinary perspectives. These tools will allow them to move more easily across the disciplines of Asian studies (and beyond) by, among other things, exploring the historical foundations of those disciplines. The syllabus offers a variety of conceptual strategies for understanding Asian cultures, pairing theoretical readings with specific Asian materials. It is our hope that students will thereby gain a purchase on critical theory and productive ways of using it in the study of cultures across national and/or disciplinary boundaries. The seminar is designed both to provide an introduction to Asian Studies as a field and to encourage the development of critical skills. Asian 550 fulfills one half of the Rackham School’s Responsible Conduct and Scholarship (RCRS) requirement.