AMST 311
US-China Foreign Cultural Relations, 1900-1950
Last Offered Fall 2008
Division I
Cross-listed ASST 311 / ENGL 334 / AMST 311 / COMP 311
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Foreign relations between the United States and China, particularly on the level of culture, have emerged as a vital, if poorly understood, topic in recent years. This course attempts to historicize this interest by exploring a period of intense US-Sino cultural exchange from the turn of the 20th century to the start of the Cold War. We begin from the perspective of cultural comparison: how did major American and Chinese authors respectively understand their place in the world? How did they define and narrate issues such as industrialism, populism, and modernity? How did they perceive their Chinese or American “Other,” and develop new cultural forms to represent these perspectives? In this section we will read major texts by (US) John Dos Passos, Frank Norris, Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, Jack London, and (China) Lu Xun, Shen Congwen, Mao Dun, Zhou Zuoren, Yu Dafu. Then, we proceed from an angle of cultural connection by exploring authors who directly engaged and experienced both cultures, often building bridges between the two. How did American writers in China use their time abroad to challenge their own culture, and vice versa? What types of bonds did US and Chinese writers develop during this period? How did contact and collaboration between these authors lead to new forms of literature and social critique? In this section, we will read cultural works by (US) Pearl Buck, Agnes Smedley, Edgar Snow, W.H. Auden, and (China) Lin Yutang, Lao She, Hu Shi, Zhang Ailing. Overall, the goal of this course will be to gain a better understanding of our current moment of US-Sino contact by examining a period in which most of our present ideas of the “Other” took shape and crystallized. No reading knowledge of Chinese is required; all readings in Chinese will be offered in English translation.
The Class: Format: discussion/seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 1871
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, weekly response papers, and one final research paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students majoring in Comparative Literature or Literary Studies and who have previously studied Chinese
Unit Notes: meets post-1900 requirement in English major only if registration is under ENGL
Distributions: Division I
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ASST or AMST
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASST 311 Division I ENGL 334 Division I AMST 311 Division I COMP 311 Division I

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