A survey of writing systems in East Asia, ranging from the origins
of writing in early China to contemporary issues of digitalization and
electronic media. Topics will include the evolution of character-based
writing in China and other parts of the region; the development of the Japanese
kana scripts, the Vietnamese chu nom system, and the Korean
alphabet; ideologies of writing and their connections to state formation;
relations between orality and literacy; premodern manuscript cultures; the
rise of printing and its social and cultural impact; East Asian responses
to the western alphabet and European images of East Asian writing; script
reform and the modern nation-state; writing and aesthetics; and more. An
advanced undergraduate seminar; should graduate students be interested in
taking the class, provisions will be made for additional written work. (All
readings for the course will be in English.)
Some experience reading and writing a modern East Asian script is strongly
preferred, as is at least one of following courses: Introduction to East
Asian Civilization (China, Korea, or Japan; V2359, V2363, V2361) or Colloquium
on Major Texts: East Asia (V3400). Permission of the instructor is required
For a copy of the syllabus click here.
The purpose of this class is to build proficiency in reading the variety of classical Japanese written styles that are subsumed under the broad term kanbun [Š¿•¶]. More specifically, it aims at fostering familiarity with kundoku [ŒP“Ç], which is a collection of techniques for reading and writing classical Japanese in texts largely or entirely composed of Chinese characters. Because it is impossible to achieve fluent reading ability using these techniques in a mere semester, this class is intended as an introduction. Students will be expected to gain familiarity with a toolbox of reading strategies as they are exposed to the basic variety of premodern written styles and genres; this will lay the groundwork for more thorough competency in specific areas that are relevant to their individual research.
This is not a class in Classical Chinese: those who desire facility
in Chinese classical texts are urged to study Classical Chinese itself.
(On the other hand, some prior familiarity with Chinese will make much of
this class easier). The pre-requisite for this class is Introduction to
Classical Japanese (W4007x); because our focus is the use of Classical Japanese
as a tool to understand character-based texts, it is assumed that students
will already be comfortable with basic Classical Japanese grammar. Students
with concerns about their competence should discuss them with me immediately.
Page created 20 April 2004; revised 17 November 2004