|Semester and Year||SP 2013|
|Time||3:30 PM - 6:10 PM|
Ever since Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th century, China has provoked the Western imagination less as a place than a set of ideas—a cipher of difference and a test-case for universals. For thinkers from Leibniz to Sontag to Badiou, and in recent controversies around Ai Weiwei as much as FoxConn, determining how China and the Chinese are (or ought to be) like or unlike other states and cultures has sounded out essential questions about governance, human rights, civilizational progress, epistemology, and the bounds of fellow-feeling. Guided by the history of diplomatic, economic, and cultural exchanges between China and the Western world, this course is built around several key tropes that have persisted adaptively throughout that history, such as despotism and internationalism, the laboring body and the revolutionary masses. Our emphasis is on critical analysis of the political as well as the aesthetic imagination. Writing assignments consist of weekly response papers, a midterm essay, and a final research project. Readings span literature, history, political philosophy, critical theory, and travel writing. We also scrutinize several works of art, film, theatre, and performance.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)