HUMA 1231 – Popular Culture of East Asia

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    HUMA 1231 Popular Culture of East Asia

    Professor May-yi SHAW ( TA Jingfen ZHANG (

    Class Time: Tue & Thur 10:30-11:50am (Rm 2464) Office Hours: Tue & Thur 2-4pm or by appointment (Rm 3350)

    I. Course Description:

    This course provides an overview of the various forms of popular culture music, film, TV drama, manga/anime, literature, art and design in modern East Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan). It explores not only the uniqueness of each locations popular genres but also the shared interconnectedness among different East Asian cultures. The key questions that this course would like to raise and address are How does East Asian popular culture reflect peoples desire for modernity or modernization at each location? How has each cultural wave or craze significantly influenced East Asian relations in the post-WWII period? Moreover, as the global fascination of East Asian popular culture continues to grow, how has such regional soft power begun to inspire the global aesthetics and transform both the public imagination and understanding of East Asia? By placing the issues of modernity vs. modernization and localization vs. globalization in the heart of our discussions, this course also hopes to develop critical thinking beyond the seemingly popular trends and inspire students to form their own reflections and creative responses to the prevalent cultural phenomena that they experience everyday. II. Course Themes & Readings: Week 1 (Sept 2 & 4) Introduction: Why Popular Culture Matters?

    Article Soft Power by Joseph Nye Article Best of Both Worlds: Wisteria Tea House and Starbucks by Lung Yingtai

    Week 2 (Sept 11) Yearning in the Metropolis: For Love or Modernity??

    TV Drama (selected episodes) Tokyo Love Story (Japan) Winter Sonata (Korea)

    Response Essay #1 (due on Sept 11) Week 3 (Sept 16 & 18) A Common East Asian Childhood: Postwar Memories & Nostalgia

    TV Anime Sazaesan, Doraemon, Chibi Maruko-chan & Crayon Shin Chan (selected episodes; Japan) Article The Cuddliest Hero in Asia by Pico Iyer Article From Sazae-san to Crayon Shin-chan: Family Anime, Social Change & Nostalgia in Japan by

    William Lee Week 4 (Sept 23 & 25) A Common East Asian Adolescence: The Rise of the Otaku Era

    Manga/Anime Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball & One Piece (selected pieces; Japan) Video Games Super Mario Bros., Romance of the Three Kingdoms & Final Fantasy (Japan) Article This City is Full of Otaku by Nakamori Akio

    Week 5 (Sept 30) Expressions of the Indigenous: Cultures & Values in Animation

    Anime Film Spirited Away by Miyazaki Hayao (Japan)* Pleasant Goat And Big Big Wolf 4: Mission Incredible Adventures On The Dragon's Trail (China) My Life as McDull (Hong Kong)

    Response Essay #2 (due on Sept 30)

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    Week 6 (Oct 7 & 9) A Cacophony of Pop Tunes

    Music Selected songs from J-pop, K-pop, and C-pop singers Article Pop Culture China by Chua Beng Huat (excerpt) Article Exploding Ballads: The Transformation of Korean Pop Music by Keith Howard

    Week 7 (Oct 14 & 16) Mid-term Exam

    A field trip to PMQ, Central (date & time TBA) Week 8 (Oct 21 & 23) Screening East Asia I: History & Society on the Silver Screen

    Film Tokyo Story by Ozu Yasujiro (Japan) Taegukgi by Kang Jegyu (Korea)*

    Response Essay #3 (due on Oct 23) Week 9 (Oct 28 & 30) Screening East Asia II: Identity on the Silver Screen

    Film City of Sadness by Hou Hsiao-hsien (Taiwan) Aberdeen by Pang Ho-cheung (Hong Kong)*

    Response Essay #4 (due on Oct 30) Please confirm your final projects topic & members by Oct 28

    Week 10 (Nov 4 & 6) Global East Asia I: When Interchange Runs Wild

    TV Drama (selected episodes) Hana Yori Dango (Japan), Meteor Garden (Taiwan) & Boys Over Flowers (Korea)

    Short Story A Slow Boat to China by Murakami Haruki (Japan) Art Interview with Murakami Takashi (video clip; Japan)

    Week 11 (Nov 11 & 13) Global East Asia II: When China Goes Global

    Film Pushing Hands by Ang Lee (Taiwan) To Live by Zhang Yimou (China)

    Response Essay #5 (due Nov 11) Week 12 (Nov 18 & 20) Students Presentations Week 13 (Nov 25 & 27) Students Presentations *Screening Sessions As some materials placed on media reserve do not carry English subtitles or whose online sources cannot be found either, screening sessions will be held outside the regular classroom hours for English-speaking students. III. Course Requirements:

    In-class Quizzes 15% Response Essays 20% Mid-term Exam 25% Group Final Project

    Presentation 20% Paper 20%

    In-Class Quizzes:

    To ensure that you do complete all the reading/media assignment PRIOR to coming to class, pop quizzes will be given from time to time in class without prior notice.

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    The quiz usually consists of 2-3 questions that relate to the assignment of that week. Those who are absent on the day of the pop quiz will NOT be permitted to retake the quiz so be mindful of your attendance!

    Response Essays:

    Throughout the course, you will need complete 5 short response essays (1 to 2-page double-spaced; 12-point font or smaller) on YOUR OWN reflections on the works assigned in class.

    While there are no right or wrong answers to the response essays, being truthful, thoughtful, original and introspective is the key to quality essays, and xcessive use of online commentary or analysis will not guarantee high marks.

    All entries need to be typed & submitted at the BEGINNING of the class on the due date. Submission by the end of class or the end of the due date will be marked as late with a grade deduction; any submission that is beyond ONE day late will not be accepted.

    Mid-term Exam:

    The mid-term exam will assess your understanding of the themes, topics, and works covered in the first half of the course.

    The exam will comprise several types of questions including definition of terms/phrases, short-answer questions, and short essays. The best way to study for the exam is to complete all the assignment and pay close attention in class!

    Group Final Project:

    The final group project (4-5 students max per group) consists of 2 parts 1) one in-class group presentation; 2) one final work.

    The final project will ask you to take a creative approach to the themes and topics discussed in this course by producing an original work of art in one form of popular culture. For example, you could create a short film that conveys your version of the Hong Kong story, a short story that reflects a rising new trend among your peers, a song that carries the potential of becoming the next Gangnam Style in the world, or a business proposal for a new cultural park in Greater China.

    The golden rule the more creative the better! And this should be a project that truly matters to you and your group mates.

    The in-class group presentation needs to incorporate some form of multimedia e.g. self-made PowerPoint, iMovie, video clips, etc.

    Each group only needs to submit 1 final work of art online (via LMES or Dropbox) and 1 short essay (2-3 pages) that explains the inspiration, vision, and intent of the project as well as the contribution of each group member.

    Please confirm the members and topic of your group with the professor/TA by Oct 28th the latest. IV. Class Rules:

    NO plagiarism! violations (including using online device such as Google translation) will result in a ZERO on your assignment.

    No use of mobile phone i.e. no talking, texting, emailing, or web browsing on your mobile phone. Please put your phone on silent mode in class.

    RESPECTFUL use of personal laptop while taking notes on your laptop is gladly welcomed, non-class-related use such as checking your email, updating your Facebook status, or online chatting/shopping is NOT. Please be respectful and leave those habits at home!

    Listening etiquette please listen carefully when someone whether it is your professor or classmate is talking. This also means NOT gluing your eyes to the screen of any digital devices when someone is speaking in the room!

    Speaking etiquette please raise your hand if you would like to ask a question or raise a comment. Please also allow others to finish before you begin!