Trang X. Ta
Examines the nexus between culture and systems of social stratification/class in East Asia, with an emphasis on Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and China. Topics include class formation, mechanisms of social mobility and reproduction, markers of status and hierarchy, resistance, and the formation of class identity. Offered: jointly with JSIS D 443.
East Asia is seen as a dynamic engine of economic growth in the greater Asia Pacific Rim. In this course, we will examine the socioeconomic changes that have transformed the class structure in the societies of China, Japan, and South Korea. In the beginning of the course we will focus on economic development policies, global circuits of capital, and neoliberal restructuring in the region. Then we will proceed to exploring in more depth the transformations in the realms of labor, education attainment, social mobility, and engagement with global culture to understand the emergence of new class and cultural identities. Readings will be drawn from several disciplines such as anthropology, cultural studies, economics, geography, history, and political science. Students will be asked to apply the methodologies from these disciplinary approaches to complete their own original research assignments.
Student learning goals
• Gain an understanding of the complex history and social changes in contemporary East Asia beyond the simplified stereotypical representations.
• Learn how to conduct scholarly research and compile an annotated bibliography and web-based lesson plan on a topic concerning East Asia.
• Develop critical thinking skills and employ those skills to leading class discussions and synthesizing theoretical arguments for analytical papers.
• Practice how to closely read a variety of texts that include academic papers from the social sciences and humanities.
General method of instruction
Seminar style discussion.
Students should complete a survey history course on the region. Additional area studies courses will be highly useful.
Class assignments and grading
Final web-based research assignment, go-posts, presentation and leading discussion, geography quiz, and participation.
Grades are based on the clarity of the presentation of ideas, perceptive analysis of the research topics, insightful utilization of the course readings, and quality of written prose.