Advanced Seminars, Independent Research & Honors Thesis

Independent research under the direction of members of the staff. Students should consult with a member of the staff in the term preceding the term in which the independent work is to be done. See guidelines under "ASCL 89 Independent Research"

80-level Courses: Advanced Seminars

Advanced seminars are ASCL's capstone courses for majors. They may be discipline specific or interdisciplinary. They foreground current theoretical and methodological considerations of the field. They satisfy the culminating experience requirement.

ASCL 80.01 Colonial Photography in Asia and the Middle East

This course examines the uses of photography by colonial governments, anthropologists, commercial photographers, and tourists in nineteenth-century Asia and the Middle East. It also addresses indigenous uses of photography that conform with and/or react against colonialist uses of the medium. The primary focus of the course is on photographs, but consideration is also given to the diffusion of photographic images into other media including news publications, government documents, scientific studies, travelogues, fiction, textbooks, and museum displays.

  • Dist: INT or ART; WCult: CI
  • Hockley

ASCL 80.03/ARTH 82.01 Arts and Culture of Korea's Last Dynasty

This course provides an introduction to the arts and culture of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), which was founded on Confucianism. We will examine Confucian philosophy and how Confucian ideas shaped the social hierarchy, gender roles, and aesthetic values through exploration of the architecture of royal palaces and aristocratic houses, paintings both sacred and secular, ceramics, textiles and other crafts. Use of color, symbolic motifs, and stories in the arts and culture will be investigated. Understanding Korea's final 500-year dynasty will deepen your comprehension of contemporary Korean culture as it manifests the legacy Joseon Korea.

  • Dist: INT or ART; WCult: NW
  • Kim

ASCL 80.05 Regional Identity in Modern Chinese Literature

How does the concept of "region" in contemporary Chinese literature connect to discussions of gender, ethnicity, tradition/modernity, country/city, and north/south? In this course, we will examine ways in which contemporary writers have evoked place through literature, looking at how social discussions occur across/between spaces. Students will be encouraged to explore authors, places, and subtopics related to their own interests in the final papers. No knowledge of the Chinese language is required for this course, although students who can read Chinese are encouraged to make use of Chinese-language materials.

  • Dist: LIT; WCult: NW
  • Gibbs

ASCL 80.07 History of Development in Asia

For more than a century, development has been a central theme in the study of Asian politics, culture, and societies. But what is "development," exactly? This seminar explores the history of development in Asia by treating development as a species of politics, rather than a socio-economic process. In the assigned readings and discussions, we will examine the complex interactions between development and empire in various places in Asia, in both colonial and postcolonial contexts. We will also compare recent efforts by scholars to develop new methodological approaches to the study of development ideas and practices in Asia. In addition to completing the assigned readings, each student will write an article-length paper about a particular topic or event in the history of development in Asia. This paper must be based on original research in primary sources.

  • Dist: INT or SOC, WCult:NW
  • Miller

ASCL 80.08/HIST 77 Imperialism in Modern East Asia

An examination of Western and Japanese imperialism in East Asia from the Opium War to the Pacific War. Subjects to be treated include the imposition of unequal treaties, the "scramble for concessions" in China, the creation of Japan's formal and informal empires, and the rise and fall of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Open to all classes.

  • Dist: INT or SOC, WCult: NW
  • Ericson

ASCL 80.09/HIST 96.40 War and Peace in Korea, 1231-1876

This seminar examines Korea's responses to the three foreign intrusions: The Mongol Invasions of 1231–1271, the East Asian War of (or the Japanese Invasions of) 1592–1598, and the Manchu Invasions of 1627–1636. When compared, the three moments of national crises elucidate interregional forces that shaped political, diplomatic, and cultural changes in the Korean peninsula. Korea's experiences of conflicts, negotiation, and endurance shed light on the meaning of being a neighbor to the rising and declining empires in East Asia.

  • Dist: SOC; WCult: NW
  • Suh

ASCL 80.12 /REL 80.12 Religions on the Silk Road

For centuries, travelers, merchants, and missionaries of various religions crisscrossed Asia along the so-called Silk Road, trading silk, horses, and spices while exchanging ideas about gods, divine powers, and efficacious rituals for securing the living and the dead. This class explores a variety these religious traditions, including Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, Islam, Manicheism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism. These discussions will also explore how religions, languages, and ethnic identities were understood in traditional Asia.

  • Dist: TMV; WCult: NW
  • Raz

ASCL 80.20 The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji is a defining work of Japanese culture. Expansive in form, sophisticated in its depiction of the inner lives of its characters, challenging in its representation of ethical concerns and aesthetic ideals, Murasaki Shikibu's masterpiece occupies a central place in one of the world's most important literary traditions.

I have several objectives for this course. First, to cultivate the practice of slow, close reading as a way to develop critical self-awareness of our own cultural/historical position vis-à-vis the text we will be studying and critiquing. Second, to foster a deeper understanding of the culture and history not just of Japan, but of Asia more broadly. Third, to help you develop important elements of writing and analysis: formulating productive questions; using comparative strategies to develop a thesis and support analysis: producing your own unique analytical voice and writing style. Finally, to increase your understanding of the social and symbolic differences that make meaning in literary art possible.

  • Dist: LIT; WCult: NW
  • Washburn

ASCL 89 Independent Research

ASCL 89 is an advanced upper-level course. Accordingly, the workload (amount and length of readings and writing assignments) and the quality of research, analysis, and writing must be equal to or greater than the requirements of an Advanced Seminar (i.e., an 80s-level course). ASCL 89 can be counted for credit towards an ASCL major or minor but cannot be substituted for a Culminating Experience.

Students who wish to pursue an Independent Study need to develop a proposal in consultation with an ASCL faculty member who has agreed to supervise their work. Independent Study proposals must include the following:

  1. Four to five pages explaining the intellectual parameters and coherence of the of the proposed topic of study.
  2. Your rationale for undertaking an independent study. Explain how the topic you intend to pursue builds on ideas and interests you acquired in other ASCL courses. Here you might choose to broaden a topic you encountered in a course or to pursue a detailed examination of a particular issue addressed in a course. Alternatively, you might choose to pursue a topic not covered in the ASCL curriculum. Explain how your Independent Study serves as a culminating experience for you ASCL major.
  3. Indicate if you plan to use primary materials written in one of the languages taught in ASCL.
  4. A bibliography of the materials you intend to read, arranged like a typical ASCL syllabus (i.e., a week-by-week list of the readings).
  5. Descriptions and a schedule of the writing assignments you will submit throughout the term. Independent Studies require a research paper of no less than 20 pages in length, not counting, endnotes, bibliography and illustrations.

Proposals must be submitted to the ASCL chair for approval by the ASCL Steering Committee no later than the seventh week of the term preceding the term during which the Independent Study is conducted.

90-level Courses: Honors Thesis

ASCL 90 Honors Thesis I

Open only to ASCL majors who are participating in the Honors Program. See guidelines under "ASCL Honors Program."

ASCL 91 Honors Thesis II

Second Term of Honors Thesis. Open only to ASCL majors who are participating in the Honors Program. See guidelines under "ASCL Honors Program."