This semester’s focus is Tang dynasty’s tales, balancing canonical tales with less well-known ones. Central themes include 1) the relationship between humans and things; 2) sexuality and romance—especially romance with the alien kinds; violence; metamorphosis; 3) representations of trauma, nostalgia, and cultural memory. The readings are thematically divided into three modules, each with sub-sections; these sub-sections are interlinked, and the discussion of one week’s assigned tales may continue in the next week. All readings are available as digital resources via Hollis or the course website. The main source is Taiping guangji 太平廣記 in Hanji dianzi wenxian ziliao ku 漢籍電子文獻資料庫 via Hollis.
Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and the close reading and translation of portions of the selected tales, to develop a research project that includes tales beyond assigned readings, and to give a presentation on the project in the last class. Each week, twenty-four hours before the class (by 3:00pm EST Sunday), every student will post a weekly blog on the course website, commenting on one or more of the readings.