Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational, & Diaspora Courses

Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational and Diaspora Studies (ASCL 70.XX) courses are designed to provide students with broader perspectives on Asia. These courses may focus on Asia's shared cultural heritages, others may focus on humanistic responses to historical and sociological phenomena, some are deliberately comparative. (Note: ASCL 10.XX and ASCL 11.XX courses can also be used to fulfil the IITD requirement for the major or minor.)

ASCL 70.00s Courses

ASCL 70.01/ARTH 38.01 Sacred Architecture of Asia

This course provides an introduction to the sacred architecture of Asia and the Middle East through a series of case studies that include Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, Mosques, Daoist and Confucian temples, Shinto shrines, funerary architecture, and the sacred dimensions of political authority as manifested in palaces, city plans, and mausolea. The pan-Asiatic nature and long historical development of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam affords opportunities to examine national and sectarian adaptations of architectural practices. This course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior experience with Asian religions or architectural studies.

  • Dist: Int or Art; WCult: NW
  • Agarwala

ASCL 70.02/ARTH 38.03 East Meets West

This class explores the interaction between the cultures of East Asia and the West from as early as c. 200 BCE to the early 20th century. The course consists largely of four themes: The Silk Road and the Arts, Pottery Stories, Jesuit Missionaries and the Arts, and Asian Arts in Europe. Through lectures, readings, and films, we will explore the historical and artistic links between East and West and some selected art associated with those routes. This course requires no previous experience and is intended for those who like interdisciplinary approaches to art and culture. No previous coursework is required.

  • Dist: Art; WCult: NW
  • Kim

ASCL 70.04 Tokyo and Shanghai as Ideas: Urban Space/Imagined Modernity

Tokyo and Shanghai are not just major centers of political and economic activity. They are also ideas, functioning as imagined space that is backdrop for and symbol of the desires, aspirations, and dislocations characteristic of contemporary Asian societies. This course examines the hold Tokyo and Shanghai have had on East Asian writers, artists, and intellectuals, and the role these metropolises currently play in the globalization of modern culture.

  • Dist: Int or Lit; WCult: NW
  • Washburn

ASCL 70.05 China in the Japanese Imagination: Translations of Identity

China has profoundly influenced every formative element of identity in Japan: language, legal and political institutions, religion, philosophy, and the visual and literary arts. This course surveys key historical moments – the Taika Reforms of the seventh century, mid-Heian appropriations of Tang court society, Tokugawa adaptations of Ming and Qing culture – to examine how the process of translating Chinese cultural forms radically reshaped Japanese society and impacted the vexed modern relationship between the two nations.

  • Dist: INT or LIT; WCult: NW
  • Washburn

ASCL 70.07/THEA 24 Asian Performance Traditions

This course studies the performance traditions of Asia, focusing on China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Classical forms studied include Noh, Bunraku, Beijing opera, Sanskrit drama, Balinese dance and Javanese puppet theater. Attention is paid to social, religious and aesthetic influences on these traditions, theories on which they are based, the history behind the theatrical practices, and training and dramatic techniques. Students gain an appreciation of the rich variety and scope of theatrical conventions of Asia.

  • Dist: ART; WCult: NW
  • Chin

ASCL 70.10/MUS 45.06 Music from the Lands of the Silk Road

Drawing from the world's rich and diverse musical traditions, this course focuses on music and musical life in a particular geographic region or on a specific topic addressed from a cross-cultural and/or interdisciplinary perspective. In winter 2017, the focus is on music from the lands of the Silk Road, the trans-Eurasian network of trade routes that stretched from Europe to the Japan. Examples will be drawn from contemporary and historical musical traditions of the Middle East, Azerbaijan, China, Korea, Japan, India, and Central Asia. No prerequisite; no prior musical experience is required.

  • Dist: Art; WCult: NW
  • Levin

ASCL 70.12 Voices and Images from Asian Borderlands

Borderlands are where modern nation-states are geographically defined and where their orders are both challenged and reinforced. This course studies the formation of modern nations in Asia and its consequences in the twentieth century from a "borderland perspective." The cases to be studied include Hokkaido in Japan, Manchuria in mainland China, the Partition of India and Pakistan, the division of the two Koreas, the Taiwan island, and the highlands connecting East and South Asia commonly referred to as Zomia. The long historical process from colonial expansion to post-war demarcation across Asia, along with the ordinary people's experience of this process, is witnessed by writers and artists from the borderlands with distinctive creativity and criticism. The disciplinary perspectives involved in the course range from literature, film, and art to history, anthropology, and linguistics. Enrollment is open, and there are no prerequisites. You do not need to know any Asian language to take the course.

  • Dist: LIT; WCult: NW
  • Xie

ASCL 70.16 Eat Drink Japan: Interdisciplinary Approach

This course is an interdisciplinary survey of food and beverage in Japan from premodern times to the present. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and films, we will explore the subject from the multiple perspectives of history, culture, and contemporary politics and society. The topics covered will range from food production and consumption to religious and artistic representations and the construction of cultural identities in Japan's past and present.

  • Dist: SOC Wcult: NW
  • Ericson

ASCL 70.18 Social Revolutions East and West: Japan and the United States in the 1960s

This course examines social movements in the United States and Japan during the turbulent 1960s. Activists and artists engaged with civil rights causes, anti-war movements, and campaigns to end discrimination of all sorts, blending these political agendas with the production of culture and the deployment of new technologies. As a result, new cognitive praxes came into place, and the patterns of knowledge production were forever changed. With a focus on the genres of music, comics/manga, and literature as they evolved in America and Japan in the 1960s, students in the course will learn to recognize how knowledge and worldviews are shaped by the systems of culture that generate them. There are no prerequisites for this course.

  • Dist: INT and LIT, WCult: CI
  • Dorsey

ASCL 70.19/REL 41.02 Buddhism and Film

"What is Buddhism?" "How can it be something expressed in and through the medium of film?" and "What actually constitutes a Buddhist film?" After an introductory survey of central topics in Buddhism, this course will explore the cinematic presentation of Buddhist religion, philosophy, practices, saints, and institutions. By learning to watch films critically from a Buddhist perspective, students will explore the process through which we create the meaning in films and everyday life. Open to all.

  • Dist: TMV, WCult: NW
  • Seton

ASCL 70.20/REL 41.04 Buddhist Meditation Theory

The Buddhist theory of meditation was first articulated 2,500 years ago and has since been adapted to numerous cultural contexts in Asia and the West. This course offers a survey of the three traditional religious frameworks for meditation practice, but also pays some attention to the secularized applications of mindfulness techniques in modern society and to the current status of scientific studies on the effects of those techniques. The course primarily concerns theoretical questions and controversies surrounding Buddhist meditation, but students will get the chance to experiment with secular mindfulness techniques outside of class and to attend a field trip to a local Buddhist temple. Open to all.

  • Dist: TMV, WCult: NW
  • Seton

ASCL 70.22 Developing Vietnam: History, Environment, and Culture

This interdisciplinary course explores the history, society, and culture of Vietnam, with particular attention to the theme of development in Vietnam since the 1980s. It is part of a teaching and learning partnership between Dartmouth and Fulbright University Vietnam, a Vietnamese liberal arts university in Ho Chi Minh City. Throughout the term, Dartmouth and Fulbright students will interact and co-learn with each other via online discussions, collaborative assignments, and a small group research project.

ASCL 70.22 counts towards the IITD (Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational & Diasporal Courses) requirements for the major or minor. ASCL 70.22 is paired with a course taught in winterim, ASCL 59.04, as a required part of the "Developing Vietnam" foreign study program.

  • Dist: SOC, WCult: NW
  • Miller

ASCL 59.04 Intensive Foreign Study in Vietnam

This interdisciplinary course is the second required component of the foreign study program "Developing Vietnam", exploring the contemporary history, society and culture of Vietnam. This course, held during Dartmouth's December "winterim" period, consists of three weeks of intensive and immersive learning in Ho Chi Minh City. Students live and study at a partner university in Vietnam and complete their group research project (begun during the fall term in ASCL 70.22) on some aspect of development in contemporary Vietnam.

ASCL 59.04 counts towards the IITD (Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational & Diasporal Courses) requirements for the major or minor. ASCL 50.94 is paired with a course taught in the fall term, ASCL 70.22, as a required part of the "DevelopingVietnam" foreign study program.

  • Dist: SOC, WCult: NW
  • Miller

ASCL 70.23 Travel, Migration, and Diaspora in the Transpacific Asias

This interdisciplinary course provides an overview of migration and diaspora studies in Asia and across the Pacific. The course places travelers and migrants at the heart of modern Asian history and culture while examining the social, cultural, political, and economic implications of the movement of people across geographic boundaries. The course deals with a series of case studies that include, but are not limited to, imperial travelers, missionaries, colonial settlers, labor migrants, American GIs, international adoptees, orphans and refugees, transnational domestic workers, return migrants, and Asian diasporas in the Americas. With a strong emphasis on transpacific migrants and their residential, commercial, religious, and social spaces, the course will engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue and utilize a range of activities and media—site visits, walking tours, interviews, autobiographies, literature, and film—to offer students fruitful methods for understanding multifaceted aspects of transnational connections and diasporic identities that migrants have cultivated between Asia and the world.

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

ASCL 70.24 Asian American Art and Architecture

This course introduces students to the politics of Asian American identity and visual culture in the twentieth century. With an overview of social and legal contexts of Asian America, from immigration policies and residential exclusion to Japanese American internment to struggles over citizenship rights, the course explores what it meant to be Asian American and how Asian American art and architecture have emerged at specific historical moments. By discussing case studies including Japanese American internment camps, Chinatowns, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and works of artists and architects such as David Hyun, Yong Soon Min, Maya Lin, Poy Gum Lee, Isamu Noguchi, Yun Gee, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Mine Okubo, students are expected to examine how Asian American and diasporic artists strove to define their identity and imagine their place in the material world.

  • Dist: ART, WCult: NW
  • Eom

ASCL 70.25 Translating East Asian Languages: Theory and Practice

Translation is an ancient practice tied intimately to interpretation, cross-cultural understanding, colonization, proselytization, and business. When it crosses vast cultural divides such as between Asia and the West, the challenges are amplified, the issues complicated, and the stakes raised. What are the practical, cultural, and philosophical issues involved? This course explores these questions by studying theories of translation and the history of it the East Asian context while also offering an experiential component in the form of various translation assignments ranging from technical manuals, fiction, and religious texts to poetry, song lyrics, and humor. The focus will be on Chinese, Korean, and Japanese; students hoping to work with other Asian languages should consult the instructor before enrolling.

  • Prerequisite: high intermediate reading abilities in an East Asian language (2.5+ years of study)
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: NW; Fulfills LRP
  • Dorsey

ASCL 70.26/REL 49.01 Apocalyptic Thought in East Asia

In this class we will examine ideas about the cataclysmic end of the world, possible ways to survive such calamities, or to bring them forth appear in several religious traditions in East Asia. This course examines a variety of such eschatological and salvific ideas, beginning with Daoist and Buddhist scriptures in medieval China, proceeding through various religious rebel movements to modern cults such as Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and Falun Gong in China.

  • Dist: TMV; WCult: NW
  • Raz