East Asian Languages and Cultures | Popular Culture in East Asia
E110 | 26224 | O'Bryan, S.

Undergraduate students only
3 credits
This course carries culture studies credit and COLL A&H distribution

This course studies contemporary popular culture in East Asia.  It
is also about the nature of popular culture itself.  Thus the course
provides an introduction to the fascinating, contemporary cultures
of China, Japan, and Korea while it also focuses on the structure
and processes that have both produced and globalized mass culture
itself.  We will study the issue of globalization and how the
transnational flows of commodities and culture affect local
societies and individual identities—this also applies to our own
culture and society. Contrary to the pessimistic thesis that bemoans
the flattening effects of Western mass culture upon the non-Western
world, this course will focus on how East Asian societies have
synthesized and re-positioned what might be thought of as Western
culture and created hybrid forms that carry new, authentic meanings
and identities.  The same process holds for our own popular culture;
we can observe many examples of Asian cultural forms that have
worked their way into American popular culture.  In the end, we hope
to emerge from this course with a new understanding of today’s truly
global culture. In addition to extensively thinking about the
question of just what the concept of popular culture means, there
will be modules in the course that examine contemporary historical
trends in East Asian film, visual culture (painting and
printmaking), and food culture.