East Asia Seen on Maps, Ancient & Modern (EAS308)
What can we learn from looking closely at a map? And how do we look beyond the map itself to find out about its process of creation, circulation, and use? In this course we explore selected maps created in China, Korea, and Japan, ranging from early history to the contemporary era; our goal is to become more informed and astute cartographic readers, and to relate what we see on these maps to a larger context of East Asian history and world history.
Far from being objective representations of reality, maps have always showcased imagination, religious faith, duty, ambition and desire; they can also be extremely varied and versatile. As social, philosophical, religious, or political documents, they raise questions about how knowledge or belief is propagated, and about how space and the experience of travel might be visualized. Because maps are also both art and artifact, designed to impress and even mesmerize its viewers, throughout the semester we will have the opportunity to flip through, unroll, and hover over reproductions of a few visually striking maps, in order to get a hands-on feel for their materiality and size. (These maps are marked by * in the syllabus.) Last but not least, we also consider what it means to create maps, and the kinds of decisions that must go into such representations.
Cultural History of Food in East Asia (EAS219)
This interdisciplinary course introduces historical, cultural, and socio-economic aspects of food and foodways in China, Japan, and Korea, from the earliest societies down to the present. Thinking about food provides us with critical and scholarly tools to understand historical change, structures of consumption and collective life, and allows us to delve into topics such as the role of ritual, religion and cosmology, the evolution of trade, the transfer of ideas/technology, plus many more.
Toronto, with its many vibrant Asian communities, allows us to experience food cultures in a global context. Often, questions about food and its history begin with encounters that involve our senses. For this reason, this course will suggest various “field activities” (observations of food ingredients and situations) to supplement our lectures and reading.
Rethinking Chinese Cultural History: Conceiving and Representing Space (EAS2323)
How was space—broadly defined—accounted for, depicted, formulated and imagined in imperial China? How did shifts in cultural logic and/or aesthetic norms affect the production and interpretation of space? To achieve a historically grounded understanding of these questions, this seminar explores selected literary representations, geographic treatises, cartographic image/texts, and religious cosmographies—mostly from early China to the mid-imperial era.