WGSS 255
"Disease" in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture
Last Offered Fall 2016
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 254 / CHIN 253 / WGSS 255
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

From early modern anxieties about China’s status as the “sick man of Asia” to contemporary concerns regarding the prospect of transnational pandemics, “diseases” and their related stories have played a critical role in making and contesting individual psychologies and Chinese modernity in the 20th and 21st centuries. Actual diseases, from tuberculosis to AIDS, constitute not only social realities that trouble political and popular minds in their own right; but further provide powerful metaphors for exploring issues of human rights, national identity, and transnational circulation. This course examines how Chinese literature in the 20th and 21st centuries writes and visualizes “disease”–a universal human experience that is nevertheless heavily bounded by culture and history. Specifically, we examine the cultural and social meaning of “disease”; the relationship between diseases on the one hand, and the politics of body, gender, and class on the other; we ask how infectious (sexual) disease, and mental illness are defined, represented, and understood in both male and female writers’ analytical essays and fictional writings in the 20th century; we examine how metaphorical “diseases,” such as infectious cannibalism and fin-de-si├Ęcle “virus,” are imagined and interpreted by key culture figures ranging from the founding father of modern literature (Lu Xun), to the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature (Mo Yan), to the “Second New Wave” film director of Taiwanese Cinema (Tsai Ming-liang); and we explore how Freud’s psychoanalysis and post-Freudian psychotherapy are “practiced” in literature circulated in both print and internet cultures. Throughout the course, we will focus on the interplay between literature canons (fictions, essays, and dramas) and popular media and genres: blockbuster cinemas and art house films, popular novels, photographs and posters, etc.
The Class: Format: lecture; lecture/discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1905
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular in-class presentation, three short papers (3-5 pages) and one final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 254 Division I CHIN 253 Division I WGSS 255 Division I
Attributes: PHLH Bioethics + Interpretations of Health

Class Grid

Updated 6:16 am

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