East Asian Languages and Cultures | East-West Comparative Study: Framing the Modern "Individual"
E600 | 27895 | Zou


This course examines the concepts of individualism and (non)subject—
two important frameworks to characterize the modern person in
Western theory—in the context of Chinese modernity.  We will look
into the concept of the “individual” in Western theory of the novel,
and read short works on the topic of the “subject” by such theorists
as Derrida, de Man, Freud, Althusser and Marx.  In doing so, we will
ask how the concepts of the “individual” and the “subject” are
explored in relation to narrative, language, psychological,
ideological, and economic structures.  These readings will be
juxtaposed with Chinese literature and theories (in English
translation) from both the late imperial period and the 20th
century, and we will explore how they speak to each other.
Particularly, we will ask how material and entertainment culture,
commercialization and consumption, the contact with the West, and
the changing socio-political milieu in Chinese modernity (a concept
that needs to be examined in class) shape the ways in which Chinese
literature and theory define the “individual,” and the ways in which
they complicate and contest Western theory.  Knowledge in the
Chinese language is not necessary.  Course requirements include in
class presentation, a research project, and a final paper.