Folklore | Reading & Writing Culture in East Asia
F600 | 11861 | M. Foster


Fulfills: Area, Theory

This seminar explores the ways in which the cultures of East Asia
(i.e., China, Korea, and Japan) are represented in ethnographic
literature. For each region we will read a number of works written
in English from a range of time periods. While primarily focus will
be on scholarly ethnographies, one objective of the course is to
explore innovative and creative ways of writing about “other”
cultures; we will therefore also read texts not normally considered
ethnographic, including fiction, travel literature, and biography.
Throughout the course we will be attentive to theoretical issues of
Orientalism, cultural essentialism, and the roles of language,
narrative and self-reflexivity in ethnographic (and other) writing.
Whenever possible, we will also explore the ways in which East Asian
scholars and authors observe and write about their own cultures,
about other East Asian cultures, and about foreign observers of
their cultures.

No background in Asian languages or history is required for this
course.