Understanding Cities and Literature through Cultural Heritage in China and Japan

This course aims to provide a basic understanding of the important role of places and memories among literati in the formation of cultural identity; to understand the development of cities culture through travel literature in the context of the world’s heritage in China and Japan. This course also focuses on the cities of Chang’an (modern Xi’an in China) and Kyoto (Japan). They are the two major capitals with cultural and commercial ties since the eighth century. By exploring the similarities and differences in the voluminous corpus of traditional and contemporary travel literature on these cities, students will have a better understanding of how places and sites in a city turned into a “cultural landscape,” and be able to illustrate the “literary footprints” of notable Chinese and Japanese writers. This course provides new means for students to understand how travel literature on cities shaping a nation’s soft power.


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