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ASIA 290

Topics in Asian Studies

Usually a course on aspects of one of the societies and cultures studied in the Asian Studies program (India, China and Japan) or a comparative treatment of aspects of these cultures.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Sherry Mou

290A: Tps: From Confucius to Kung-fu

What does kung-fu mean? Did Confucius know kung-fu? How is gun-fu related to kung-fu? Through close examination, reading, and analysis of thirteen Chinese films and an assortment of readings on Confucianism and Taoism, we will investigate the world of Chinese knight-errantry. We will look at the philosophical orientations, world views, aesthetic features, and cultural motivations that produced what is broadly known as the kung-fu film genre, which for more than half a century has captured the imagination and interest of many Chinese and Western audiences. These films show how the rituals, spectacle, moral values, and social practices fostered in traditional theatre and in real life are re-presented on screen. We will trace the origins of important cultural traditions and ideas embedded in the kung-fu films, look at how they transform into action movies, and explore how the original ideas associated with knight-errantry are presented through various cultural signs, symbols, language, and codes of behavior.