Undergraduate Seminar: Beautiful Writing: Explorations of East Asian Calligraphy
This course will explore practices of brush writing in Japan, with a secondary emphasis on Chinese and Korean calligraphic traditions. We will consider basic linguistic features of East Asian cultures; fundamental art historical ideas including style, abstraction, materiality, and formal analysis; social and cultural issues such as valuation; and the formation of gender and proto-national identities. We will follow a basically chronological narrative moving from the beginnings of Chinese script in central China up to 21st century calligraphy in Japan. However, different themes will necessarily involve comparisons of diverse cultural and historical moments.
This course adopts an explicitly unconventional approach to the study of calligraphy, bringing in guests from diverse fields including studio practice, art conservation, anthropology, computer engineering, musicology, and Japanese linguistics and pedagogy,. Thus, students from all backgrounds are welcome and they will be expected to actively engage with the material from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. No prior knowledge of East Asian languages or culture is required, but students who have particular linguistic skills will be encouraged to apply them in the course of the semester and in their final research papers.
Estimated Cost of Materials: $0-$50.
HISTART category for concentration distributions: C. Asia (Includes China, Japan, India, South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific), 2. Medieval, 3. Early Modern.
Target Level: All students at all levels.
Textbooks/Other Materials: There is no required textbook for this class.
Format: Seminar meetings primarily involving discussion and some lecture.
Course Requirements: Apart from background reading and participation in class (25%), your coursework will include one short visual analysis (20%), a creative project (15%), and a final research project (30%) and a related in-class presentation (10%).
Intended Audience: Upper-level undergraduates with interests in art history theory, Japanese visual culture, and/or the relationship of writing, language, and the visual arts. If you have a question about whether or not the class would be appropriate to you, please contact the instructor.