Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

The module will be team taught by DEALC staff specialising in Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Korean Studies.  It aims to sharpen student awareness of both the interconnectedness and the specific regional cultural variations within the East Asian sphere.  The course will be team taught, but the course convenor will attend every week in order to maintain intellectual integrity and student focus.

The 10 teaching weeks begin with two methodological classes (general introduction and library/sources), followed by eight thematically defined classes that provide students with a range of approaches to East Asian studies.  These general themes are deliberately left open to broad interpretation so as to allow a wide range of disciplinary and regional approaches, and in order to reflect the specific interests of individual lecturers, whose participation may vary from year to year.

The lecture will provide a general background to the weekly theme and the seminar will explore the weekly theme through literary/cultural/historical texts related more specifically to the students own region of interest.  Students will be formally affiliated to only one of the three East Asian areas studies programmes, but this module will develop student awareness about the different ways in which each of the three East Asian cultures has responded to the overall themes raised each week.


This module is core for students on the following programmes:

MA Chinese Studies

MA Japanese Studies

MA Korean Studies

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. acquire a solid foundation in the ‘core’ disciplines of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Studies
  2. become familiar with a range of approaches and theoretical frameworks in the various disciplines, and gain the ability to critically question and evaluate scholarship and data
  3. have the opportunity to specialise in the subject of interest, without missing the bigger picture
  4. assimilate and synthesise prior knowledge while also developing original critical views
  5. formulate appropriate research questions, propose and evaluate analyses and present evidence (for and/or against) these analyses
  6. gain knowledge of how to assess data and evidence critically from primary and secondary sources; how to formulate arguments within the system of concepts and assumptions of the various disciplines; how to solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations
  7. practice research techniques in the library and through tutor consultation
  8. retrieve and select information from a variety of sources, such as specialised papers, digital material and reference books


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour seminar.

Scope and syllabus

The following syllabus is for guidance only and is subject to alteration at the discretion of the module convenor.

Methodology classes
  1. Introduction to Area Studies
  2. Sources/library
General Thematic classes

(examples below may vary depending on lecturer availability)

  1. National identity
  2. Tradition and modernity
  3. Imperialism/colonial rule
  4. Territory/borders
  5. Bodies/sexualities/genders
  6. History and memory
  7. Individuals, society and the state
  8. Literature and the arts
  9. Violence in East Asian Societies
  10. The sinographic world
  11. Belief and ideology

Method of assessment

A reaction papers of 750 words to be submitted on day 5, week 5, in the term of teaching (20%); an essay of 2500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following teaching (80%).

Suggested reading

  • Learning places : the afterlives of area studies / edited by Masao Miyoshi and H. D. Harootunian
  • Remaking area studies : teaching and learning across Asia and the Pacific / edited by Terence Wesley-Smith and Jon Goss
  • Area studies in the global age : community, place, identity / edited by Edith W. Clowes and Shelly Jarrett Bromberg
  • Asian studies in the age of globalization / edited by Kwon Tai-Hwan and Oh Myung-Seok
  • Goldman, Merle and Andrew Gordon (eds.) 2000. Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asia. Harvard University Press.
  • Shih, Shu-mei. 2007. Visuality and Identity. Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific. Berkeley, University of California Press.
  • Kim, Mikyoung (ed.) 2015. Routledge Handbook of Memory and Reconciliation in East Asia. Routledge.
  • Baker, Don. 2017. Catholics and Anti-Catholicism in Choson Korea. University of Hawaii Press.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules