21G.030 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate

East Asian Culture: From Zen to K-Pop


The following table summarizes the assigned readings in each session:

Required Text: [Shen Records] = Translator, Intro and Notes by Fu, Shen, and Graham Sanders. Six Records of a Life Adrift. Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated, 2011. ISBN: 9781603841986. [Preview with Google Books]

Unit 1: Introduction to East Asia
1 n/a

Theodore de Bary, Wing-tsit Chan, and Burton Watson. “Confucius” and “Taoism.” Chapters 2 and 4 in Sources of Chinese Tradition. Vol. 1. Columbia University Press, 1999, pp. 15–33 and 48–53. ISBN: 9780231109390.

White, Merry, and Sylvan Barnet. “Thinking about Culture.” Chapter 1 in Comparing Cultures: Readings on Contemporary Japan for American Writers. St Martins Press, 1995, pp. 3–11. ISBN: 9780312106201.

Chua, Amy. “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2011, p. C.1.

Ziegler, Dominic. “Tiger Cubs v Precious Lambs,” The Economist, January 20, 2011.

Unit 2: Zen Buddhism and Japanese Arts: Case Study – Japanese Gardens
3 n/a

Theodore de Bary, Wing-tsit Chan, and Burton Watson. “The Introduction of Buddhism.” Chapter 12 in Sources of Chinese Tradition. Columbia University Press, 1999, pp. 266–74. ISBN: 9780231109390.

Tsunoda, Ryusaku, Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene. “Zen Buddhism.” Chapter 12 in Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 1: From Earliest Times to 1600. Columbia University Press, 2002, pp. 226–9. ISBN: 9780231121392.

Selections From

Nitschke, Gunter. “Rocks in the Sand,” “Path and Goal,” “The Rustic Tea Garden,” and “Wabi—Restraint and Poverty.” In Japanese Gardens: Right Angle and Natural Form. Taschen, 2007, pp. 65–109, 115, 146–56, 160–62 and also, look at all pictures in pp. 64–167. ISBN: 9783822830345.

Unit 3: Literati Culture in Late Imperial China: Case Study – The Scholar and His Material World

Reading the following selected chapters in Fang, J. P. “Introduction.” In Treasures of the Chinese Scholar. Weatherhill, 1997, pp. 1–3. ISBN: 9780834803992.

Zhang, Yiyang. “The Chinese Language and Scholar Objects.” In Treasures of the Chinese Scholar. Weatherhill, 1997, pp 15–17. ISBN: 9780834803992.

Zhang, Juwen. “Scholar Objects and Folk Beliefs.” In Treasures of the Chinese Scholar. Weatherhill, 1997, pp. 23–26. ISBN: 9780834803992.

Also, Clunas, C. “Furnishing the Self in Early Modern China.” In Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries . MFA Publications, 2000, pp. 21–34. ISBN: 9780878464357.

———. “Ideas about Things.” Chapter 2 in Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China. University of Hawaii Press, 2004, pp. 40–45. ISBN: 9780824828202.

Excerpts of Wen Zhenheng (1585–1645) “One Ming Gentleman’s Notion on Room Order: Sections from Zhang Wu Zhi–A Treatise on Superfluous Things.” In Cultures of Knowledge: Technology in Chinese History. Edited and Translated by Berliner Dagmar Shaefer and Huanjing Xiu Maske. Brill, 2011, pp. 85–88. ISBN: 9789004218444.

Murck, Alfreda, and Wen Fong. “The Scholar’s Garden.” In A Chinese Garden Court: The Astor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Modern Art, 1980, pp. 4–9. [Preview with Google Books]

6 [Shen Records] Chapters 1–3.
7 Beyond the Screen.” Exhibit and the East Asian galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts
Unit 4: Korean Confucianism and Gender: Case Study – Lady Hyegyoung’s Hanjungnok
8 n/a
9 Haboush. The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. University of California Press, 2013, pp. 296–330. ISBN: 9780520280489.
Unit 5: Food As a Lens: East Asian Foodways I
10 n/a

Readings: Combined with Readings for Session 13


Chang, K. C. “Food in Chinese Culture.” Asia Society Blog.

Cooper, E. “Chinese Table Manners: You Are How You Eat.” (PDF) Human Organization 45, no. 2 (1986): 179–84.


Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko. “Rice As Self: Japanese Identities through Time.” Education about Asia 9, no. 3 (2004): 4–9.

Kushner, Barak. “Food History & National Myths.” Japan Society, January 14, 2008. [On Ramen in Japan]


Chung, Haekyung. “Introduction.” In Korean Cuisine: A Cultural Journey. Translated by Yoojin Lee. 2009.

Institute of Traditional Korean Food. “Foreword (1),” “Foreword (2),” and “Preface.” In Beauty of Korean Food: With 100 Best-Loved Recipes. Hollym International Corporation, 2008, pp. 12–13, 24–27, and 31. ISBN: 9781565912533. (Based on the “Research Project for the Standardization and Globalization of Korean Food.”)

Unit 6: Food As a Lens: East Asian Foodways II
12 n/a

Readings: Combined with Readings from Session 11

Watson, James. “Prosperity Versus Pathology: A Social History of Obesity in China.” (PDF) Harvard Asia Pacific Review, 2000.

Alison, Anne. “Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus.” Anthropological Quarterly 64, no. 4 (1991): 195–208.

Han, Kyung-koo. “Some Foods Are Good to Think: Kimchi and the Epitomization of National Character.” Korean Social Science Reading Response 27, no. 1 (2000): 221–5.

History of Kimchi

Unit 7: “Asian Values”? The Confucian Revival in East Asia and Singapore
14 n/a

Weiming, Tu. “Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Exploring Moral Authority and Economic Power in Japan and the Four Mini-dragons.” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 46, no. 8 (1993): 5–19.

Sigurdsson, Geir. “Confucianism vs. Modernity: Expired, Incompatible or Remedial?Asian Studies 2, no. 1 (2014): 21–38.

Englehart, Neil A. “Rights and Culture in the Asian Values Argument: The Rise and Fall of Confucian Ethics in Singapore.” Human Rights Quarterly 22, no. 2 (2000): 548–68.

Unit 8: Cool Japan—Anime
16 n/a
17 Contry, Ian. Chapters 6 and 7 in The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan’s Media Success Story. Duke University Press Books, 2013. ISBN: 9780822353942.
Unit 9: The Korean Wave
18 n/a

Nye, Joseph S. Jr. “South Korea’s Growing Soft Power,” Daily Times, November 10, 2009.

Shim, Doobo. “Hybridity and The Rise of Korean Popular Culture in Asia.” Media, Culture & Society 28, no. 1 (2006): 25–44.

Lee, Hyangjin. “South Korea: Film on the Global Stage.” In Contemporary Asian Cinema: Popular Culture in a Global Frame. Edited by Anne Tereska Ciecko. Berg Publishers, 2006, pp. 182–92. ISBN: 9781845202378.

Unit 10: Rich and Poor in Contemporary China

Choose a chapter to read from Loyalka, Michelle. Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration. University of California Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780520266506. [Preview with Google Books]

Gerth, Karl. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous: The Creation and Implications of China’s New Aristocracy.” Comparative Sociology 10, no. 4 (2011): 488–507.

Unit 11: Westernization, Globalization, or Localization? Case Study: Food

Berliner, Nancy Zeng. Yin Yu Tang: The Architecture and Daily Life of a Chinese House. Tuttle Publishing, 2003, pp. vii–xiii and 315. ISBN: 9780804834872.

Yun Yu Tang website


Watson, James. “China’s Big Mac Attack.” Foreign Affairs 79, no. 3 (2000): 123–34.

Bestor, Ted. “How Sushi Went Global,” Foreign Policy, November 2009, 54–63.

Bak, Sangmee. “McDonald’s in Seoul: Food Choices, Identity, and Nationalism.” Chapter 4 in Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. Edited by Watson. Stanford University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780804749893. [Preview with Google Books]

Cwiertka, Katarxyna. “The Global Hansik Campaign and the Commodification of Korean Cuisine.” In The Korean Popular Culture Reader. Edited by Kim and Choe. Duke University Press Books, 2014, pp. 363–84. ISBN: 9780822355014.

Watson, eds. “Hong Kong and Taipei.” In Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. Stanford University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780804749893.

Unit 12: Student Presentations
23–26 n/a

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2015
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