HISTART 393-006

Undergraduate Seminar: Private Gardens and Public Issues in Song China

Tappan 210
Tuesday 1:00-4:00pm
3 Credit Seminar

As Jürgen Habermas observed, private spaces did not exist for the greater part of human history, and one might add that its continued existence in the modern world can no longer be taken for granted. That is why this is a good time to re-consider the emergence of private space at a moment when the nature and need for privacy was only beginning to feature in public debate. In China that debate first took shape during the Tang/Song transition. In this seminar we will trace the evolution of the private garden and its design structures intended to reflect individual choice. At the same time we'll follow the debates over privacy and formal protections for privacy instituted in response to those debates. In addition, we will read a range of sociological and political theory so as to understand better the nature of privacy East and West, and how it functions in a complex society

The seminar complements a special exhibition of Song dynasty painting being shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The class will visit New York later in the term so that we can see "in person" some of the works we have been viewing virtually in class. Students are expected to participate in weekly discussions and will write a 10 to 12 page term paper. Students will make an initial presentation and later, a more expanded presentation, followed by the final paper. No previous training in Chinese Studies or Art History is necessary. Readings will be available online.

HISTART Category for concentration distributions: 3. Early Modern, C. Asia