HIST 14
Loyalty and Righteousness: Female Knight Errants in the Chinese Tradition Winter 2020

Cross-listed HIST 14 / CHIN 14
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The aura of the Chinese knight-errant’s alternative universe (jianghu, lit. rivers and lakes) has never waned thanks to the thriving literature of Chinese martial arts. Recognized as the oldest genre of Chinese popular fiction still being written today, the martial arts novel constructs a fascinating human sociality where chivalry and altruism govern, stateless subjects wander, and heroic grace unfolds. This course will examine the literary, artistic, and social imagination of this jianghu in selected modern martial arts novels written by Jin Yong (aka Louis Cha Leung-yung) and Gu Long. It also compares Jin Yong’s oeuvre, endorsed by die-hard fans, with the breathtaking yet controversial C(H)ollywood martial arts extravaganzas that have been released in the current millennium. Students will inquire into the themes of righteousness and law, self and state, martial arts and medicine, body and gender, and the martial arts world and postcolonial history; as well as traditional philosophical concepts of yin and yang, and “between the people” (minjian) and “all under heaven” (tianxia). Finally, we will explore the genre’s aestheticism via literary and visual constructions in the cultural text.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 30
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: short paper and final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students will be asked to write an essay to explain their interest and rationale for this course
Materials/Lab Fee: $35 and cost of books
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 14 CHIN 14

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