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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Wei Zhi Gao
B CUSP 188
Bothell Campus

Topics in Asian Cultures

Introduces the traditional arts, cultures, and history of countries of Asia. Emphasizes the interaction between culture and geography, politics, economies, and social structures that shape, and are shaped by cultural processes and products. Specific countries varies with the instructor and quarter offered. Offered: WSp.

Class description

B CUSP 188 (UW Bothell) is a gateway to the traditional arts, cultures, and history of countries of Asia. It emphasizes the interaction between culture and geography, politics, economies, and social structures that shape, and are shaped by cultural processes and products. Specific countries vary with the instructor and quarter offered. In the spring 2011 version we will survey the cultural, intellectual and literary history of China from the introduction of Confucianism and Taoism in the ancient "Central Kingdom" to the present, following a set of interconnected texts in complex contexts. There are five sections in this course.

1. The Founding Philosophical Paradigm: Readings on Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism will initiate a dynamic dialogue between you and the founding fathers in ancient China; 2. Gardens & Guardians: Classics on Chinese gardens and taijiquan (tai chi) will lead you closer to natural harmony; more important, we will infer the philosophical underpinnings in garden designs and martial arts. 3. Poetry & Paintings: in this section, students will be trained in engaging poetic reasoning in addition to appreciating euphonious effect in a poem; moreover, we will explore some aesthetic principles shared in Chinese poetry and paintings; 4. Revolutions & Revelations: samples of prose fiction, long or short, that offer a tip of an iceberg in decoding the so-called oriental myth or riddle; 5. Market Economy wrapped in a socialist garment: We will explore Deng Xiaoping's famous redefinition of "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" and his epoch-making reform.

Student learning goals

Develop critical insight into Chinese cultural, intellectual and political history;

Introduce major philosophical and literary and artistic works, ancient and modern;

Introduce students to fundamental ideas reflected in Chinese language;

Develop an appreciation of the relationship of man to nature in Chinese art;

Create an intellectual community in the classroom for the discussion of Chinese art, history, and culture.

General method of instruction

Lectures, discussions, group presentations, field trip to Seattle Chinese Garden, and Chinese tea tasting and food sampling, etc.

Recommended preparation

Class is conducted in English. There are no prerequisites. Students should be open to exploring different ideas and points of view. The course is counted as elective VLPA/I&S, open to all students.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments and Assessment

Worksheets 20% (.8) Knowledge Tests 20% (.8) Quizzes 20% (.8) One Research Paper 20% (.8) Teamwork 10% (.4) Project/Presentation 10% (.4) ------------------------------------------------------------- Total 100% (4.0)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Wei Zhi Gao
Date: 03/30/2014