Introduction to the cultural history of ancient and medieval Asia incorporating examples of art, literature, philosophy, and religion, providing a survey of China, India, and several other distinct cultures of the areas surrounding them, especially Japan. (GE Area: C3)
[View map of Asia.]
THIS SECTION does NOT attempt to survey all of ancient and medieval Asian art, literature, philosophy and religion, but rather aims to train students as "culture consultants." Specifically, the course teaches the interrelated skills of analyzing historical records of past practices, with an eye to recommending adaptations that could be made to similar contemporary practices. This skill will require repeated attention to three broad, interrelated questions, which have guided the selection of reading materials and assignments:
- What are the essential elements of culture?
- In what ways does culture connect people to each other, their environments and themselves?
- How can people shape their culture to maximize this potential for connection?
These questions help to understand not only Asian culture, but also our place in the culture in which we participate and to which we contribute. To find out more about how we will approach this focus, begin reading the introductory essay, "Essential Elements of Culture."
IMPORTANT NOTE: like most offerings in this department, "Arts & Ideas of Asia" is **READING INTENSIVE,** assuming that you will dedicate 5-7 hours per week for reading and assignments outside of class time. Team-based learning will be the primary mode of engaging with historical records of Asian practice (see www.teambasedlearning.org), facilitated by assessments and intra-class communication through SacCT, the university's on-line instructional system.
Course Policies (PDF download)