|Semester and Year||SP 2014|
|Time||3:30 PM - 6:10 PM|
This class presumes prior coursework in critical theory, comparative literature, or postcolonial studies; some knowledge of Chinese history would be useful as well.
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 Kristeva, 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, civilizational progress, epistemology, creativity, 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. Readings span literature, history, political philosophy, and travel writing. We also scrutinize several works of art, film, theatre, and performance.
Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)