Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

East Asian Studies Portal

A Brief Exploration of Japanese Poetry

Over the course of this module we will read and explore the work of a few major pre-modern Japanese poets in translation, putting them in their historical, cultural, and religious contexts along the way, but always focusing on the poetry itself. Group discussion is strongly encouraged. Poetry and poets covered will include that of the Manyōshū, Saigyō, Princess Shikishi, and Bashō. Time permitting, we can add to the list.
Precepted by Robert Steed and Pilar Barrera.

A Cultural History of Anime

In this module we will look at the historical development of anime, with special attention to its uses in re-imagining post-war Japanese culture and society. From Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors to mushroom-cloud explosions and kawaii aesthetic, come explore how anime shapes Japanese (and others’) perceptions of Japanese history and culture.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

An Intensive Reading of the Tao Te Ching (Daode jing)

"The Way that can be talked about is not the lasting Way": so begins this classic text of world literature and Chinese philosophical and religious thought. The Tao Te Ching has been read, interpreted, and applied in a variety of ways throughout Chinese and world history. We'll do a close reading as well as explore the larger commentarial tradition surrounding it, using it as a gateway to explore further dimensions of East Asian culture and to spark conversations within the class.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Beginning Japanese 1 First in the Series

Come join us as we begin to learn basic Japanese, focusing on the four areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Over the course of this module series we will start by learning: the characteristics of the three scripts (hiragana, katakana, and kanji); how to read and write hiragana; to be able to say and understand set phrases (social interaction-related); how to formulate a simple declarative sentence (AはBです structure); how to formulate a simple interrogative sentence; how to read orally; and vocabulary relevant to dialogues in the textbook. 一緒に日本語を勉強しましょうか! (Shall we study Japanese together?!)
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 2 Continuing Series

Building on the material covered in Beginning Japanese 1, we will cover lessons three and part of four in the Genki textbook, including: introduction to and learning to use katakana; solidifying usage of hiragana; introduction to kanji (around 10-20); developing communication abilities beyond stative sentences, focusing on the introduction of non-stative verbs; new vocabulary; continuing the development of fluency in the four aspects of language mastery.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 3 Continuing Series

Focusing on chapters three (depending on how far we got in Beginning Japanese 2), four, and five in the textbook, we plan to improve our understanding of particles, verb categories and conjugations, describing where things are, forming the past tense of verbs, and increasing our abilities to use and "conjugate" adjectives----which do have tense in Japanese. As always, we will also be increasing our vocabulary and kanji knowledge. This module should be especially exciting because after laying various foundations in the first two units, we now begin to be able to actually have short conversations and form everyday useful sentences.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Beginning Japanese 4 Continuing Series

Picking up from where we leave off in Beginning Japanese 3, we'll review what needs solidifying from the first two modules and advance to new material in Genki. We will focus especially upon verb, adjective, and noun tenses, as well as continuing to build vocabulary, katakana, and kanji knowledge, as well as oral skills.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 5 Continuing Series

Continuing from where we ended in Japanese 4, we will advance our knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, and kanji as we work our way through the Genki textbook.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 6 Continuing Series

Continuing from where we ended in Japanese 5, we will advance our knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, and kanji as we work our way through the Genki textbook.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 7 Continuing Series

Continuing from where we ended in Japanese 6, we will advance our knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, and kanji as we work our way through the Genki textbook.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 8 Continuing Series

Continuing from where we ended in Japanese 7, we will advance our knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, and kanji as we work our way through the Genki textbook.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 9 Continuing Series

Continuing from where we ended in Japanese 8, we will advance our knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, and kanji as we work our way through the Genki textbook.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese Series Series

Come join us as we begin to learn basic Japanese, focusing on the four areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Over the course of this module series we will start by learning: the characteristics of the three scripts (hiragana, katakana, and kanji); how to read and write hiragana; to be able to say and understand set phrases (social interaction-related); how to formulate a simple declarative sentence (AはBです structure); how to formulate a simple interrogative sentence; how to read orally; and vocabulary relevant to dialogues in the textbook. 一緒に日本語を勉強しましょうか! (Shall we study Japanese together?!)
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Buddhism 2: Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism

Building on the "Introduction to Early Buddhism" module, we will explore the development of Mahayana Buddhist traditions, focusing especially on Madhyamika and Yogacara trends, the Zen and Pure Land Schools, the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, and interactions with Chinese religio-philosophical systems, especially Daoism, and the fascinating culture of the Dunhuang caves.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Buddhism 3: Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism

Building on the previous two Intro to Buddhism modules in this sequence, we will explore the colorful and varied forms of Vajrayana Buddhism, focusing especially on developments in Tibet, but not ignoring the larger world of esoteric Buddhism. The various sects, arts such as the creation of sand mandalas, ritual practices, and various forms of teaching will all be explored.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Classical Chinese 1

This is the textual language of the early classical Chinese philosophical and literary tradition, bearing a relationship to modern forms of Chinese like that of classical Latin to a modern Romance language. Just as one does not need to know Italian to study Latin, no prior knowledge of modern forms of Chinese is needed to study the classical language. This language served as a kind of "lingua franca" throughout East Asia for much of history, much like the role Church Latin served in medieval Europe. In this module we will begin building the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to eventually be able to engage with the texts associated with Chinese thinkers such as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Mozi. If a cohort forms, we can continue this study within a continuing sequence. We will focus exclusively on developing the ability to read it as a literary language.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Daoism: The School of the Way

In this class we will explore some of the major texts and movements within historical Daoism, especially Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Daoist alchemy and long-life practices. We will also examine how some of these Daoist concepts are incorporated by Ursula K. Le Guin into her speculative fiction.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Discovering, Understanding, and Loving Haiku

Known as the shortest form of poetry in the world, haiku overwhelm us with their beautiful imagery and evoke incredible emotions. Join preceptors Robert Steed and Pilar Barrera in this module where we’ll explore the historical, religious and cultural background of haiku, read and analyze a variety of haiku by different authors, and play with haiku as you’ll have the opportunity to write your own!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed.

Expanding and Practicing Japanese Vocabulary 1

This is a supplementary module to the Japanese language course. In this vocabulary-centered module taught by preceptors Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed we will explore different vocabulary related to daily life topics such as parts of the house, food, animals, as well as the use of certain important grammar structures. Using lots of pictures, students will have the opportunity to use and practice the vocabulary while exploring important cultural elements.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed.

Exploring Death's End Continuing Series

The third volume in Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past series, Death's End builds on the setting of the first two novels, culminating in a dazzling series of events and thoughtful ruminations on their meaning. Join us as we explore this novel largely through class discussion framed by preceptor commentary. There are few series better for an introduction to Chinese science fiction than this one.
Precepted by Robert Steed and Jennie Starstuff.

Exploring Journey to the West

One of the most beloved of all classical Chinese novels, Journey to the West features Monkey, Pig, Sand-demon, White Horse, and the monk Tripitaka as they make a pilgrimage from Tang-dynasty Chang’an to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures, having outrageous adventures all along the way. Full of humor and wit, this is a major work of East Asian fantastic literature. Come along with Monkey and the gang for a tour through this foundational text!
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring Mushi Shi

We will watch and discuss Mushi Shi, paying special attention to aspects of Japanese religion and culture which are woven into the fabric of the story. The class will be discussion-oriented, framed by preceptor commentary. This is a beautifully designed series that rewards slow and relaxed contemplation.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a contemplative and heartfelt anime/manga series about a boy who inherited a book from his grandmother, allowing him to control youkai. Instead, he chooses to free them. This series sits at the intersection of fantasy and slice of life, and it touches on many aspects of Japanese folklore and culture, at the same time telling a story about connection and compassion. In this module, we will watch and discuss the first two seasons of the anime, paying particular attention to themes including: the iyashikei (healing) genre of anime, the portrayal of youkai in popular culture, and the use of concepts and imagery from Japanese literature and folklore in the series.

This module is primarily discussion based, with some contextual information provided by the preceptor. There will be a Google Doc for class discussion and your preceptor will use slides, but sparingly.
Precepted by Nancy "Anni" Foasberg.

Exploring The Dark Forest Continuing Series

The second volume in Liu Cixin's The Remembrance of Earth's Past series continues the story of Trisolaran alien invasion and the range of human responses to that threat. As with the Three-Body Problem module, we will read and discuss the novel, both for its inherent interest and for the ways it can serve as an accessible gateway to various aspects of Chinese history, culture, and science fiction.
Precepted by Robert Steed and Jennie Starstuff.

Exploring The Ghost Bride

Join us as we explore Choo’s delightful debut novel, which has also been made into a Netflix series. The story focuses on Li Lan, a young Chinese woman, who lives in 1890s colonial Malaya with her father, who returns one evening with a proposition — to become the bride, a ghost bride, of the recently deceased heir to the fabulously wealthy Lim family. After a visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her growing desire for the Lim’s living heir, Tian Bai. She is drawn into the multifold realms of the Chinese afterlife, with their ghost cities, funerary paper offerings, wandering spirits and rigid bureaucracy. Li Lan must navigate her way through this web of complicated relationships both to save her life and meet her destiny.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring The Remembrance of Earth's Past Series

Join us as we explore this award-winning Chinese science fiction series from Liu Cixin. The focus will be on participant discussion framed by preceptor commentary. Beginning with The Three-Body Problem, we will explore the various themes of technological and social crisis that alien invasion might present, as well as how they can be interpreted in the context of Chinese history and society.
Precepted by Robert Steed and Jennie Starstuff.

Exploring the Themes of Miyazaki Hayao through Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away

For this class we will take the two films of the title as the primary media through which we explore some of Hayao Miyazaki's major themes appearing throughout most of his work. These include themes of regard for nature, tensions between human society and the natural world, the prominence of shōjo (young female protagonists,) and questions of identity, of friendship, and of trust. Time permitting, we can consider even more.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring The Three Body Problem First in the Series

First ever Asian winner of the Hugo award for best novel, as well as winning the Chinese Yinhe (“Galaxy”) award for best novel, and nominated for the Nebula award for best novel, and serving as the source material for an upcoming Netflix series by the same name, The Three-Body Problem is an exploration of both humanistic and technological themes in the context of Chinese history and contemporary society, all set in a narrative of alien invasion. There are few novels better for beginning to explore Chinese science fiction, so please join us as we take a deep dive into this fascinating masterpiece!
Precepted by Robert Steed and Jennie Starstuff.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Redemption

Join us for the second of two modules dedicated to exploring Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. In this second module we’ll cover episodes 33-64 and the development and placement of its major themes including Truth, Science, Religion, Oppression, and Loss amongst others. Attending the next module in this series is not required, but for full enjoyment it’s definitely recommended.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Sin

Join us for the first of two modules dedicated to exploring the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series. In this first module we’ll cover episodes 1-32 and the development and placement of its major themes including Truth, Science, Religion, Oppression, and Loss amongst others. Attending the next module in this series is not required, but for full enjoyment it’s definitely recommended.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Introduction to Early Buddhism

In this module we will explore the formation and development of early Buddhist traditions, focusing on the life of the historical Buddha, the Deer Park Dharma Discourse, the formation of the Sangha (Buddhist monastic community), and the foundational teachings of the Four Noble Truths, the Three Marks of Existence, and the Chain of Dependent Origination.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Japanese Classical Theater: Noh, Bunraku, Kyogen, and Kabuki

In this module we will explore the historical origins and development of these forms of Japanese theater. We will situate them in their historical, cultural, religious, and economic contexts, as well as watching substantial video clips from each to spur discussion.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Japanese Fairy Tales and Children's Literature

In this module we will talk about Japanese children’s literature and fairy tales and their connection to specific Japanese cultural aspects and values such as the acceptance of death and the imperfection of the world.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese for Beginners 1 First in the Series

In this series of modules, you will get familiarized with basic Japanese vocabulary and structures. Using a communicative approach, you’ll learn basic expressions, start to learn the hiragana script, and recognize katakana and kanji in a fun and interactive way. We will also explore Japanese culture in general. いっしょに日本語を学びましょう!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese for Beginners 2 Continuing Series

In this series of modules, you will get familiarized with basic Japanese vocabulary and structures. Using a communicative approach, you’ll learn basic expressions, start to learn the hiragana script, and recognize katakana and kanji in a fun and interactive way. We will also explore Japanese culture in general. いっしょに日本語を学びましょう!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese for Beginners 3 Continuing Series

In this series of modules, you will get familiarized with basic Japanese vocabulary and structures. Using a communicative approach, you’ll learn basic expressions, start to learn the hiragana script, and recognize katakana and kanji in a fun and interactive way. We will also explore Japanese culture in general. いっしょに日本語を学びましょう!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese for Beginners 4 Continuing Series

In this series of modules, you will get familiarized with basic Japanese vocabulary and structures. Using a communicative approach, you’ll learn basic expressions, start to learn the hiragana script, and recognize katakana and kanji in a fun and interactive way. We will also explore Japanese culture in general. いっしょに日本語を学びましょう!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese for Beginners Series Series

In this series of modules, you will get familiarized with basic Japanese vocabulary and structures. Using a communicative approach, you’ll learn basic expressions, start to learn the hiragana script, and recognize katakana and kanji in a fun and interactive way. We will also explore Japanese culture in general. いっしょに日本語を学びましょう!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Japanese Historical Archetypal Characters: Samurai, Ninja, Monks, Miko, Yakuza

Join us as we discover the historical origins and literary presences of these categories of people who often appear in Japanese and Japan-related narratives. We will also pay attention to the "systems" in which they participate, including economic, political, and religious, as well as aspects of culture that shape them such as codes of bushido, monastic life, shamanism, and political struggle.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

JLPT N5 Test Prep

This module is offered for those Japanese language students who wish to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, level N5. We will not be learning new language skills in this module. Instead we will be reviewing and repetitively practicing the precise set of skills tested on the JLPT N5 test, as well as covering various test-taking strategies. Upon passing the test, participants will receive an official certification of language skill level from the Japanese government.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Korean for Beginners 1 First in the Series

What do Korean dramas, K-pop, webtoons, and Korean films all have in common? ... The Korean language!

This module is for those who are ready to begin their journey in Korean. In this first step, we will learn to read the Korean alphabet (Hangeul), cover basic vocabulary, and begin exploring grammar and honorifics. We will be following a textbook, but will also spend time exploring song lyrics and a webtoon. The textbook we will be following is: Yonsei Korean 1-1 published by the Yonsei Korean Institute.

Note: This course has the potential to become a series of modules for those who wish to pursue higher levels of proficiency.
Precepted by Sam Roche.

Korean for Beginners Series Series

What do Korean dramas, K-pop, webtoons, and Korean films all have in common? ... The Korean language!

This module is for those who are ready to begin their journey in Korean. In this first step, we will learn to read the Korean alphabet (Hangeul), cover basic vocabulary, and begin exploring grammar and honorifics. We will be following a textbook, but will also spend time exploring song lyrics and a webtoon. The textbook we will be following is: Yonsei Korean 1-1 published by the Yonsei Korean Institute.

Note: This course has the potential to become a series of modules for those who wish to pursue higher levels of proficiency.
Precepted by Sam Roche.

Miyazaki: Recovery of Innocence

One of the principal thematic elements found in the works of Hayao Miyazaki is the restorative power of childhood. Through his works, childhood itself becomes a utopian site. It is through this emphasis that we recover its best aspects: innocence, curiosity, and wonder. In this module we will watch and discuss four of Miyazaki’s works which best represent childhood and his usage of it to facilitate recovery.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Beginning

Come join us as we examine Hayao Miyazaki’s early years as a director and the films which set the groundwork for his career. This module covers Miyazaki’s directorial debut film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro through the rest of the films in the 1980s: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Continuation

Come join us as we consider the follow-up to Hayao Miyazaki’s breakout success of the late 90s and early 2000s. In this module we’ll cover the last three of Miyazaki’s directorial releases (Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Wind Rises) as well as two feature films that he’s credited as co-screenwriter on during the same time period (Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill).
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Fame

Come join us as we look at the decade which propelled Hayao Miyazaki into international fame. We’ll begin by covering talking about flying pigs (Porco Rosso) and talking cats (Whisper of the Heart, screenplay) before progressing to the two international breakout hits which really made this time period a turning point in his career: Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Nature and Shinto in Anime

Shinto, usually identified as “the indigenous religious tradition” of Japan, heavily influences the aesthetic and worldview of many anime films and series. Join us as we explore aspects of Shinto practice and how they influence and shape the films Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, as well as the idiosyncratic but popular series Mushi Shi.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

The Fantastic in East Asia

Come join us as we explore various aspects of the weird, the strange, the uncanny, the dreamlike, and the visionary in East Asian literature, religion, folktales, poetry, and popular media. Whether it is ecstatic visions in Daoist texts, shamanistic expressions in Chinese poetry, gumiho and ghosts in KDramas, or stories such as that of the Yuki Onna (Snow Woman) in Japanese folklore, we’ll explore them all (and perhaps more!) in this class.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Warring States Era Chinese Philosophy: Attaining Flow

Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, Mohism---these Chinese philosophical systems all have their foundational roots in the Warring States period of Chinese history (475–221 BCE), and as such share a set of common interests, even if their proposals for attaining those interests greatly differ. In this module we will cover the basic concerns of each of these systems, paying attention to their differences as well as their similarities, and perhaps most importantly, seeing how their proposals for the attainment of human flourishing may still have something to offer to contemporary people.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].