East Asian Studies 103L (catalogue # 6903)

Sources of East Asian Civilization I

Fall 2005

T-TH 2:45-4:05

Humanities 115


Instructor:  Sarah Allen

Office:  Humanities 283

Telephone:  518-442-4120; email:  TBA

Office Hours:  Monday & Wednesday 1-2  and by appointment


This course is an introduction to some important and representative texts from the Chinese tradition.  The texts we will read span some two thousand years and include philosophy, poetry, essays, a novel, and a play.  All readings are in English translation. 


Required Texts:

Mencius, trans. D.C. Lau (ISBN 0-14-044228-6)

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, trans D.C. Lau (ISBN 0-14-044131-X)

Monkey, trans. Arthur Waley (ISBN 0-8021-3086-0)

Tang Xianzu, The Peony Pavilion, trans. Cyril Birch (ISBN 0-88727-206-1)

On E-reserves:  Selected texts of the medieval period



Attendance at all course meetings is required.  Please come to class having done the reading assigned for that lecture; unannounced quizzes on the readings are a significant part of your grade.  The midterm and final exams will include short answer and essay questions.  You will also write one five-page paper based on close examination of a text or texts we have read in class (i.e. no outside research is required).


Grading breakdown:  Class attendance and participation (20%); Quizzes (20%); Mid-term exam (20%); Paper (20%); Final exam (20%). 

Scale for final grades: 93-100%=A; 90-92%=A-; 87-89%=B+; 83-86%=B; 80-82%=B-; 77-79%=C+; 73-76%=C; 70-72%=C-; 67-69%=D+; 63-66%=D; 60-62%=D-; 0-59%=E.


Weekly Schedule:

August 29:  Course introduction:  no reading assignment

Philosophical Foundations

August 31:  Mencius, pp. 7-46 (introduction), pp. 49-73

September 5:  no class

September 7:  Mencius, pp. 74-137

September 12:  Mencius, pp. 138-204

September 14: Tao Te Ching, pp. 7-52 (intro), pp. 57-73

September 19:  Tao Te Ching, pp. 74-143

Literature and Literati Culture

September 21:  The Classic of Poetry and the foundations of Chinese literary thought (e-reserves)

September 26:  Early medieval poetry:  speaking the self, observing the world (e-reserves)

September 28:  Tang poetry:  themes and situations (e-reserves)

October 3:  no class

October 5:  no class

October 10:  Tang poetry:  the poetry of war and rebellion (e-reserves)

October 12:   no class

October 17:  Tales of Romance (e-reserves)

October 19:  Tang and Song essays:  investigating patterns (e-reserves)

October 24:  midterm exam

Mischief and Self-control (a novel about a monkey)

October 26:  Monkey, pp. 1-8 (introductions), pp. 1-52

October 31:  Monkey, pp. 53-118

November 2:   Monkey, pp. 119-180

November 7:  Monkey, pp. 181-246

November 9:  Monkey, pp. 246-305

Return to Romance (a play)

November 14: Peony Pavilion, pp. ix-xv (introduction), pp. 1-30; first draft of paper due

November 16:  Peony Pavilion, pp. 30-95

November 21:  Peony Pavilion, pp. 95-155

November 23:  no class

November 28:  Peony Pavilion, pp. 155-214

November 30:  Peony Pavilion, pp. 214-273

December 5:  Peony Pavilion, pp. 273-305; final draft of paper due

December 7:  Peony Pavilion, pp.  305-340 (last day of class)


December 15, 10:30-12:30:  final exam


This course fulfills the General Education Categories of Humanities and Regions Beyond Europe.


Characteristics of all General Education Courses

1. General Education courses offer introductions to the central topics of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.

2. General Education courses offer explicit rather than tacit understandings of the procedures, practices, methodology and fundamental assumptions of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields.

3. General Education courses recognize multiple perspectives on the subject matter.

4. General Education courses emphasize active learning in an engaged environment that enables students to be producers as well as consumers of knowledge.

5. General Education courses promote critical inquiry into the assumptions, goals, and methods of various fields of academic study; they aim to develop the interpretive, analytic, and evaluative competencies characteristic of critical thinking.


Objectives for General Education Humanities Courses

Humanities courses teach students to analyze and interpret texts, ideas, artifacts, and discourse systems, and the human values, traditions, and beliefs that they reflect.  Humanities courses enable students to demonstrate knowledge of the assumptions, methods of study, and theories of at least one of the disciplines within the humanities.  Depending on the discipline, humanities courses will enable students to demonstrate some or all of the following:

1. an understanding of the objects of study as expressions of the cultural contexts of the people who created them

2. an understanding of the continuing relevance of the objects of study to the present and to the world outside the university

3. an ability to employ the terms and understand the conventions particular to the discipline

4. an ability to analyze and assess the strengths and weaknesses of ideas and positions along with the reasons or arguments that can be given for and against them

5. an understanding of the nature of the texts, artifacts, ideas, or discourse of the discipline and of the assumptions that underlie this understanding, including those relating to issues of tradition and canon


Objectives for General Education Regions Beyond Europe Courses

Courses in the General Education category of Regions Beyond Europe enable students to demonstrate:

1.  knowledge of the distinctive features (e.g. history, institutions, economies, societies, cultures) of one region beyond Europe or European North America

2.  an understanding of the region from the perspective of its people(s)

3.  an ability to analyze and contextualize cultural and historical materials relevant to the region

4.  an ability to locate and identify distinctive geographical features of the region