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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laurie J Sears
SISSE 364
Seattle Campus

Violence, Myth, and Memory

Explores how images and ideas of power, violence, and global modernity circulate in memories and discourses abut US relations with Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Topics include foundations myths, colonial and postcolonial encounters, historiography and narrative, and nationalist and ethnic identity formations. Offered: jointly with HSTAS 364; Sp.

Class description

"Violence, Myth, and Memory" is built around three popular films: "Apocalypse Now: The Director's Cut" (2001, orig. 1979), "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982), and "Perfumed Nightmare" (1977). All were filmed in the Philippines. These films are starting points to explore ideas of violence, narrative, and global modernity in U.S. relations with Viet Nam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The course traces the ways in which these films evoke founding myths of Southeast Asian societies, regulate ethnic and religious tensions, and reflect anxieties about modernity. For Viet Nam, students will read Duong Thu Huong's "Novel Without a Name" to investigate celebrated stories and figures that serve as metaphors for the beleaguered nation. For the Philippines students will read Jessica Hagedorn's novel "Dream Jungle" about two seemingly distinct events in the Philippines under Marcos: the discovery of a Stone Age Tribe and the filming of Apocalypse Now. The class will look at how the colonial encounters (with both Spain and the U.S.) and the Catholic passion play together serve as a complex founding myth for lowland Filipino society. Turning to Indonesia, the class will see how the film of "The Year of Living Dangerously" is built like a Javanese shadow play, with characters whose lives are modeled on mythical images drawn from Indic Mahabharata stories. The movie explores the U.S. and British involvement in the fall of Indonesia's first president Soekarno in 1965-66 and the violence that accompanied his fall. Alongside this film, students will read Ayu Utami's award-winning novel "Saman" about the violence of Indonesia's 32 year (1966-98) military regime.

Student learning goals

Please see HSTAS 364

General method of instruction

Please see HSTAS 364

Recommended preparation

Please see HSTAS 364

Class assignments and grading

Please see HSTAS 364

Please see HSTAS 364


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 Laurie J Sears
Date: 02/18/2011