Collett D. Cox
Selected major works of Asian literature. Taught on a rotational basis with the literary traditions of China, Japan, India covered in successive years. Content varies depending on specialization and interest of instructor. Primary emphasis on literary values of works and their tradition; attention also given to historical and social contexts and the thought and value systems of the culture involved.
The course will survey the Buddhist literature of India, China, and Japan through selected excerpts chosen from the genres of biography, poetry, narrative, ritual manuals, doctrinal treatises, and historical accounts. The course will begin with the origins of Buddhist literature in India and will trace its further development in India, China, and Japan. Attention will also be given to the themes of textual composition, authorship, audience, transmission, context and function. All works are read in English translation. NO PREREQUISITES!!
Student learning goals
Through this class, students will
- gain a general familiarity with the variety of Buddhist literature from South and East Asia
- explore the Buddhist practices and teachings that this literature describes
- recognize the differences among genres of literary texts in terms of their authorship, audience, structure, function, and context of use
- investigate the various perspectives from which literary works can be interpreted
General method of instruction
PowerPoint-assisted lectures will present the historical and cultural background for each text selection, introduce characteristics of the text genre, and raise issues relevant to the interpretation of the text. Text selections will be further analyzed through discussion sections in which students will take an active part.
This class assumes no background in the study of Buddhism and has no prerequisites.
The most effective technique for success in this course is to read the assigned text selections carefully. Secondary readings will provide a context for broader issues of textual interpretation. (Study guides and discussion questions will assist students in assigned readings.) Students should be prepared to discuss the text selections and to think critically about the issues they raise.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly reading assignments aided by study guides, lecture outlines, and discussion questions. Preparation of textual analysis for discussion sections.
Two midterm examinations (20% each); final examination (35%); discussion section participation (15%); in-class quizzes (10%).