Professor L. Selden
East Asian Languages & Literatures, University of Notre Dame
First offered as an ExEAS course at Columbia University in Spring 2003
Course Description

This course introduces students to short stories by 20th-century writers in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and the East Asian diasporas. The goals of the course are to examine the intertwined modern histories of East Asian nation-states, investigate the short story as a literary genre, and explore critical concepts of literary and cultural identity studies. The stories will be read in conjunction with critical essays on nation, gender, and the short story with particular attention to the narrative strategies of the authors. Reading the stories both in terms of the cultural and ideological contexts in which they were written and as material artifacts available to us in English today helps to problematize the meanings of “Chinese,” “Japanese,” or “Korean” in East Asia and beyond. Ultimately, this course will provide students with the conceptual framework and vocabulary to interrogate gender, race, and nationality as socially constructed categories.

All readings are in English; no prior knowledge of Asia is presumed.

Required Texts

1. Course Pack

2. Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference: with Apa Guidelines, Fourth Edition (Bedford, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

3. David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly (New York: Penguin, 1990; first edition 1988).

4. Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman (New York: Penguin, 1997).

Required books may be purchased at Hammes Bookstore. The Course Pack is available at the Copy Center on the second floor of Decio Hall.

Cost of books: approximately $110. The course pack is about $35, A Writer’s Reference under $45, M. Butterfly and Comfort Woman each under $15.

Course Expectations

1. Active class participation

2. Common sense in dealing with hindrances

3. Web postings

4. Group presentation and handout on a critical essay

5. Midterm exam

6. Final exam

7. Critical analysis paper (8-10 pages)

*The ultimate aim of this course is to help students advance their critical thinking and writing skills. In order for students to succeed, they will need to prepare sufficiently so as to be able to

  • participate actively and congenially in discussion
  • complete assignments according to the guidelines provided

*If you miss class, contact a classmate to catch up on notes and announcements.

E-mail addresses of two classmates who are willing to share their notes with you:

  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________

*Students are expected to post a memo at least once a week on the course website. Web-memos will not be graded individually but will count toward class participation.

To access the course website, scroll down at the “Popular Sites” bar on the University homepage to “WebCT.” You will need to enter your AFS ID number and the password you use for e-mail. Click first on the course number (in blue) to enter the course website, and then on “Discussions” to post memos.

*The group presentation is graded on content, self-presentation, handout, and web question (to be submitted to instructor a week in advance). Students will be asked to sign up for a critical essay in groups of two or three, depending on the length of the essay. Students must meet with instructor one week in advance of the presentation, having prepared a rough draft of the handout.

*The midterm and final exams are take-home. Topics will be distributed in class a couple of days before an exam is due. The exam will include ten identification questions and a choice of two essays out of several possibilities. Each essay should be approximately one page long, typed (300-500 words).

*Paper topics will be distributed in class the week that paper proposals are due. Proposals are due as e-mail attachments (in Microsoft Office format) and will be returned with feedback within 72 hours. Contact the instructor if you do not receive comments. Paper drafts must be submitted as hard copy. Rough drafts will be graded and returned with comments during paper conferences. However, only rewrites will count toward the final grade.

*If you feel that something about the classroom environment hampers your intellectual development in any way, big or small, please alert the instructor as soon as possible. You may visit during office hours, or you may wish to drop off an anonymous note. I will do my best to respond constructively to your concerns.


The final grade is broken down as follows:

Critical analysis paper 30%

Midterm exam 20%

Final exam 20%

Class participation, web postings, group presentation 30%

Time Management

1. The reading load in this class has been kept fairly light in order to allow you ample time to think, analyze, and write. Please keep up with the schedule so as to allow for productive discussion in class.

2. All due dates are indicated in the syllabus, so plan ahead. No extensions will be granted for paper proposals, drafts, and final versions without a doctor’s note or equivalent

Provisional Class Schedule

Introduction: The Short Story and its Dominance in the Modern

East Asian Literary Scene

August 26 (T)

1. Overview of course (Asian history, trip to copy center)

>purchase coursepack by Friday, August 29

August 28 (Th)

2. The history of the short story in East Asia

>start reading ahead for next week’s discussion

September 2 (T)

3. Some parameters of the short story

Pak Wansô. “She Knows, I Know, and Heaven Knows (1984).” Trans. Chun Kyung-Ja. In Chun Kyung-Ja, ed., My Very Last Possession and Other Stories by Pak Wansô, 1-25. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

Nguyen Quang Thieu. “Two Village Women (1993).” Trans. Nguyen Nguyet Cam and Peter Zinoman. In Wayne Karlin, Le Minh Khue, and Truong Vu, ed., The Other Side of Heaven: Postwar Fiction, 65-72. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1995.

Kim, Richard. “Lost Names.” In Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, 87-115. New York: Praeger, 1970.

Tawada, Yoko. “The Reflection (1997).” Trans. Susan Bernofsky. In Where Europe Begins, 59-66. New York: New Directions, 2002.

September 4 (Th)

4. The short story as literary genre

Pratt, Mary Louise. Excerpts from “The Short Story: The Long and the Short of It.” In Charles E. May, ed., The New Short Story Theories, 91-113. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.

Gordimer, Nadine. “The Flash of Fireflies.” In Charles E. May, ed., The New Short Story Theories, 263-67. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.

Culler, Jonathan. “Narrative.” In Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, 78-89. Oxford and

Chatman, Seymour. “What Is a Narrative? Some Basic Terms.” In Reading Narrative Fiction, 7-8. New York: Macmillan, 1993.

September 9 (T)

5. Writing workshop i—how to write a critical analysis paper

>bring A Writer’s Reference to class

I. Imagined Communities, National Identity, and Diasporas

September 11 (Th)

5. The constructed nature of national and racial identities

Anderson, Benedict R. “Origins of National Consciousness” and “Patriotism and Racism.” In Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 37-46 and 141-54. London: Verso, 1983.

-----. Skim “Introduction” and “Cultural Roots” (but read 22-26 and 36 with care). In Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 1-7 and 9-36. London: Verso, 1983.

Ôe, Kenzaburô. “Prize Stock (1958).” Trans. John Nathan. Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels by Kenzaburô Ôe, 113-68. New York: Grove Press, 1977.

Kim Yisôk. “The Cuckoo (1957).” Trans. Peter H. Lee. In Peter H Lee, ed., Modern Korean Literature: An Anthology, 105-24. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1990.

Chatman. Excerpt from “Plot.” Reading Narrative Fiction, 20-26.

September 16 (T)

6. Tradition as an ideological construct

Vlastos, Stephen. “Tradition: Past/Present Culture and Modern Japanese History.” In Stephen Vlastos, ed., Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions in Japan, 1-17. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.

Chatman. Excerpt from “Character and Setting.” Reading Narrative Fiction, 58-65.

September 18 (Th)

7. Border crossings then and now

Anon. “The Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute” (a poem in 18 stanzas). Trans. Hans Frankel. Excerpts from “Cai Yan and the Poems Attributed to Her,” 137-42. In Chinese Literature Essays Articles Reviews 5: 2 (July 1983): 133-56.

Liu Shang. “Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute.” Trans. Robert A. Rorex. Class handout, adapted from Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute: The Story of Lady Wen-chi. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. Excerpt from “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe.” In Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, reissue edition, 163-209. New York: Vintage, 1989 (first edition 1976).

Chatman. Excerpts from “Narration: Narrator and Narratee” and “Narrative Irony.” Reading Narrative Fiction, 90-97 and 186-92.

September 23 (T)

8. Homelands, diasporas, ethnic identity

McKeown, Adam. Excerpts from “Conceptualizing Chinese Diasporas, 1842-1949.” In Journal of Asian Studies 58:2 (May 1999): 306-37.

Ong, Aihwa. Excerpts from “The Pacific Shuttle: Family, Citizenship, and Capital Circuits.” In Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationalism, 110-36. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.

Umezawa, Rui. “Symbiosis.” In Descant 89, 26:2 (Summer 1995), 180-84.

Chatman. Excerpt from “Authors and Readers: Real and Implied.” Reading Narrative Fiction, 240-46.

II. Orientalism and the Exoticization of Asians  

September 25 (Th)

9. The Near and Far Easts as Europe’s Other

Said, Edward. Excerpts from “Introduction.” In Orientalism, 1-28. London: Routledge, 1978.

Loti, Pierre. “Un Bal a Yeddo (1889).” Trans. David Rosenfeld. Private publication, 2001. (17 pp.)

Akutagawa, Ryûnosuke. “The Ball (1920).” Trans. Seiji M. Lippit. In The Essential Akutagawa: Rashomon, Hell Screen, Cogwheels, A Fool’s Life and Other Short Fiction, 71-78. New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1999.

September 30 (T)

10. Critiquing Said

Porter, Dennis. “Orientalism and its Problems (1983).” In Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman ed., Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, 150-61. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Sardar, Ziauddin. “Orientalism on Film.” In Orientalism, 95-96. London: Open University Press, 1999.

October 2 (Th)

11. Writing workshop ii—how to approach an essay exam

October 7 (T)

12. Midterm discussion: nation, cultural identity, and literary representation

> Take-homeexam due Friday, October 11 at 5:00 p.m.

October 9 (Th)

13. No class meeting—start reading ahead for discussion on M. Butterfly

October 14 (T)

14. Race, gender, and sexuality in East-West relations

Hwang, David. M. Butterfly and “Afterword.” New York: Penguin, 1990 (first edition 1988). (100 pp.)

III. War, Imperialism, and Pan-Asianism

October 16 (Th)

15. War in twentieth-century East Asia

Medoruma, Shun. “Droplets (1997).” Trans. Michael Molasky. In Michael Molasky and Steve Rabson, ed., Southern Exposure: Modern Japanese Literature from Okinawa, 255-85. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 2000.

Yi Hoesông/ Ri Kaisei. “The Woman Who Fulled Clothes (1971 in Japanese, trans. into Korean 1972).” Trans. Beverly Nelson. In Peter H. Lee, ed., Flowers of Fire: Twentieth-Century Korean Stories, revised edition, 344-72. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1986.

Chatman. Excerpt from “Theme and Ideology.” In Reading Narrative Fiction, 273-80.

October 18-26 Fall Break —no class

October 28 (T)

17. Western imperialism and East Asian migration in the 19 th and 20 th centuries

Zhang Ailing/ Eileen Chang. “Steamed Osmanthus Flower: Ah Xiao’s Unhappy Autumn (1944).” Trans. Simon Patton. In Research Centre for Translation, ed., Traces of Love and Other Stories, 59-91. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000.

October 30 (Th)

18. Japanese imperialism and Pan-Asianism

Dower, John. “Patterns of a Race War” and “Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus.” In War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, 3-14, 262-90. New York: Pantheon, 1986.

Shih Wei. “Retreat (1996).” Trans. Howard Goldblatt. In The Chinese PEN (Taiwan) 25:3 (September 1997): 69-76.

> Paper Proposal due Thursday, October 30 as a Microsoft Office 2000 or 2001 file

November 4 (T)

19. Contemporary tensions in East Asia

O Chônghûi. “The Bronze Mirror (1982).” Trans. Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton. In Peter H. Lee, ed., Modern Korean Literature: An Anthology, 392-411. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1990.

Huang Chun-ming/Hwang Chun-ming. “Preface” and “Sayonara, Zaijian (1975).” Trans. Howard Goldblatt. In Howard Goldblatt, ed., The Taste of Apples, xiii-xv and 209-51. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

IV. The Desiring Male Gaze and the Objectification of Women

November 6 (Th)

20. No class meeting—read ahead for next class

November 11 (T)

21. Masculinity, femininity, and desire

Kessler, Suzanne and McKenna, Wendy. “Developmental Aspects of Gender.” In Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach, 81-111. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Hayashi, Fumiko. “Late Chrysanthemum (1948).” Trans. John Bester. In Japan Quarterly Editorial Board, ed., Modern Japanese Short Stories, 236-62. Tokyo: Japan Publications Trading Co., 1960.

Huang Baolian. “Original Intention (1997).” Trans. Howard Goldblatt. In Kuo-ch’ing Tu and Robert Backus, ed., Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, 15-28. University of California at Santa Barbara, no. 7, June 2000.

V. The Female Counter-Gaze: Internalization and Resistance

November 13 (Th)

22. Theorizing the desiring male gaze

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975).” In Sue Thornham, ed., Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, 58-69. New York: New York University Press, 1999.

Doane, Mary Ann. “Film and the Masquerade: Theorising the Female Spectator (1982).” In Sue Thornham, ed., Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, 131-45. New York: New York University Press, 1999.

Gu Zhaosen. “Plain Moon (1991).” Trans. Michelle Yeh. In David Der-wei Wang and Jeanne Tai, ed., Running Wild: New Chinese Writers, 137-57. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

> Critical Analysis Paper due Friday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. (hard copy only)

November 18 (T)

23. Critiquing psychoanalytic formulations of the male gaze

hooks, bell. "The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators (1992)." In Sue Thornham, ed., Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, 307-20. New York: New York University Press, 1999.

Gaines, Jane. “White Privilege and Looking Relations: Race and Gender in Feminist Film Theory (1986 and 1988).” In Diane Carson, et al., ed., Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism, 176-90. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

November 20 (Th)

24. No class meeting—mandatory paper conferences W Th F (15 minutes per student)

November 25 (T)

25. Female protagonists and their responses to male domination

Ding Ling. “Miss Sophia’s Diary (1928).” Trans. Tani E. Barlow. In Tani E. Barlow, with Gary J. Bjorge, ed., I Myself Am a Woman: Selected Writings of Ding Ling, 49-81. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1989.

Yangdon. “A God without Gender (1988).” Trans. Herbert J. Batt. In Herbert J. Batt, ed., Tales of Tibet: Sky Burials, Prayer Wheels, and Wind Horses, 177-88. New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

November 27 (Th)

Thanksgiving —no class

December 2 (T)

26. Female protagonists and their responses to male domination, cont.

Pak Wansô. “An Encounter at the Airport (1978).” Trans. John M. Frankl. In Chun Kyung-Ja, ed., My Very Last Possession and Other Stories by Pak Wansô, 123-42. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

Kôno, Taeko. “Toddler-Hunting (1961).” Trans. Lucy North. In Lucy North, ed., Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories, 45-68. New York: New Directions, 1996.

December 4 (Th)

27. No class meeting—read ahead for discussion on Comfort Woman

> Optional revision of Critical Analysis Paper due Friday, December 5 at 5:00 p.m. (hard copy only)

December 10 (T)

28. Final discussion on gender, race, and national identity

Keller, Nora Okja. Comfort Woman. New York: Penguin, 1997 . (213 pp.)

> Optional Exam Review Session Thursday, December 12 (time TBA, refreshments served)

> Take-home Final Exam due Thursday, December 18 at 12:30 p.m. (hard copy only)