Comparative Literature | Images of the Self: East and West
C147 | 8916 | Ju Young Jin

MW 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Fulfills CS & A & H requirements

What are Yin and Yang and how are they represented in Feng Shui? Why
do Asians put their last name first? Our inquiry into the East will
illuminate the ways in which these everyday, mundane questions are
in fact related to much deeper issues such as the tension between
self and society and the meaning of one's existence. Am I dreaming
this dream of butterfly or is the butterfly dreaming of me? Or is
the reality that I call nothing but the shadows on the wall while I
am stuck in a cave? What does a ball of wax have to do with proving
my existence? How has the idea of "good life" been imagined and
formulated in the East and the West? How does the force of
globalization affect and shape the relationship between the two?
This class aims to provide a survey of Eastern and Western
conceptions of the self and society through discussing literature,
painting and film without privileging either perspective. By pairing
Eastern texts with comparable Western counterparts, the
understanding of both sides will be enhanced. The readings range
from classical texts such as Plato, Descartes and Confucius to
modern works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre and Murakami
Haruki. Assignments include one short essay (4-5pp), midterm exam
and final paper (7-8pp).
No prior knowledge of either Western or Eastern philosophy and
literature is expected.