ASIA 228
Present Pasts: The Politics of Memory in Contemporary Chinese Literatures and Films Spring 2022
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ASIA 228 / COMP 297 / CHIN 428

Class Details

What happens when memories, already slippery, are further massaged by literary and cinematic narrative strategies? How is the historical “pasts” remembered, forgotten, and subverted in a literary “presence”? This tutorial explores the politics of memory in contemporary literatures and films from the People’s Republic of China (post-socialist era, 1978), Taiwan (post-martial law, 1987), and Hong Kong (postcolonial era, 1997). We will look at how literary and cinematic works in each of these “post” societies represent state-sponsored narratives of remembrance, dissidents’ collective amnesia, and at the popular level, a playful yet cynical flirtation with politics. With close- and distant- readings of textualized and visualized memories, we will examine themes of nation and locality, public and private, mesology and mythology, amnesia and nostalgia, and diaspora and settlement in the PRC, Taiwan, and Hong Kong from the late 1980s until to today. Course readings include “root-seeking”, “new realist”, “avant-garde” and “hooligan” novels, examples from the Taiwanese small theater movement, and the transnational cinemas made by the fifth, sixth, and second new wave filmmakers from these three “post” societies. This tutorial is conducted in either Chinese or English. Students wishing to take the course in English should register under ASST or COMP and language learners wishing to take the course in Chinese should register under CHIN.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3452
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and participation, five 5-page papers, five peer-review and critique papers, revisions on selected papers.
Prerequisites: None for students taking the course under ASST and COMP 297; CHIN 402 or permission of the instructor for students taking CHIN 428
Enrollment Preferences: current or prospective majors in the Department of Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; COMP majors; Asian Studies Concentration
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASIA 228 Division I COMP 297 Division I CHIN 428 Division I
WS Notes: Students will write a 5-page paper every other week for a total of five papers. On weeks when they are not writing papers, they are expected to critique their tutorial partner's paper as peer reviewers. Detailed writing prompts will be provided to students to generate and organize ideas for each essay. Students are also required to revise key paragraphs, sections, and papers throughout the semester.
DPE Notes: This course provides students with the opportunity to analyze and critique the following entangled modernist dualisms: present and pasts; memory and representations; diaspora and settlement; transnationalism and localism. By discussing texts produced from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other diaspora areas in these "post" societies, this course asks students to explore how literary and cinematic narratives invoke (and erase) differences, and challenge (and consolidate) borders.
Attributes: FMST Core Courses

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