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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Society and culture in pre-modern East Asia (ASST08052)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe countries of East Asia show a remarkable diversity of social and cultural forms, whether it be a re-working of Chinese exemplars (which pervade the region, due to China's historical pre-eminence) or permutations of their rich indigenous cultures. This course looks at the various forms of pre-modern society, and the cultural diversity of their arts, both narrative and graphic.
Course description This course introduces students to the world-views that underlie the fascinating diversity of social forms and practices in the countries of East Asia, and looks in some detail at the cultural artefacts that they have produced. Topics may include the literary traditions of China and Japan, as well as the arts broadly understood (painting, calligraphy, sculpture). Throughout, the roots of cultural activity in the social forms, including ritual, are kept to the forefront, allowing for an integrated insight into the region's cultural history. Students who have taken "Pre-modern East Asian history and the forces that shaped it" (Semester 1) will appreciate the role of the body politic in these processes.

The course is built around the following modules:
1 Fundamentals of Chinese Buddhism and Daoism
2 Permutations of Japanese Buddhism
3 Shinto in Japanese life
4 Ritual and performance in China and in Japanese life
5 Narratives, prose fiction, drama and poetry

On completion, students will have gained a broad insight into society and culture in East Asia and will have had the opportunity to engage with examples of Chinese and Japanese culture in particular through materials in translation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  36
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 45 %, Coursework 35 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2,500-word essay (35%)
One two-hour examination (45%)
Participation, including a presentation (20%)
Feedback Indicative feedback on the formative assessment exercise (mid-semester); detailed feedback on the essay through the online system.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appreciation of pre-modern East Asian society and culture, and the role of traditional ideas in the modern era
  2. Display skills in gathering information from appropriate sources
  3. Analyse relevant material in a concise and pertinent manner
  4. Report and present views on their findings both orally and in written form
Reading List
Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, et al., East Asia: a cultural, social, and political history. Boston, 2006. [EUML: Short Loan and HUB]
Lurie, David, et al. A brief history of Chinese and Japanese civilizations. 4th ed. Wadsworth, 2012. [Updated version of Schirokauer's work from 1978.]
Totman, Conrad. A history of Japan. Oxford; Massachusetts, 2000, 2004.
Gernet, Jacques. A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge, 1982.
Specific readings for the individual topics covered by the course are given in the relevant folders on Learn. The above works are intended as indicative, comparative reading and for general reference throughout the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Information-gathering, analysis, presentation, debating
KeywordsEast Asia,art,literature,Daoism,China,Korea,Japan,Buddhism,Shinto,poetry,calligraphy
Course organiserDr Ian Astley
Tel: (0131 6)51 1358
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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