East Asian Languages and Cultures | Popular Culture in East Asia
E101 | 1478 | Robinson


This course is a survey of contemporary popular culture in Japan, China,
and Korea.  We will consider East Asia as a late-developing region of
global capitalism, and how the region has developed its unique version of
modernity.  We will also be concerned with how East Asian mass culture
affects global culture through a reverse flow of cultural influence.
Modern versions of traditional Asian cultural forms (Buddhism, martial
arts, book illustration, fashion, tonsure) as well as East Asian
adaptations of modern leisure technologies (printing, film, recording,
automobile design) have influenced our own material culture in many ways.
This course will provide background in East Asian culture and society as
well as ideas that will help students understand and analyze their
immediate cultural environment.

In addition to lecture and discussion and viewing documentary films on
issues of cross-cultural contact, we will study a range of primary sources
from East Asian and American popular culture, including comic books, action
figures, animated television programs, fashion magazines.  The course
points toward a final project in which students will do an essay analyzing
an American cultural artifact that has its roots in Asia, or one that has
been influenced by Asian popular or traditional culture.