Supernatural China

Confucius in the Analects asserts that “The Master never spoke of the strange, the violent, the disorderly, and the numinous.” Yet “recording the strange” was a thriving literary genre in classical and imperial China—one collection of supernatural tales was in fact entitled What the Master Never Spoke Of. How do we understand this contradiction? This course is a survey of stories and essays on ghosts, spirits, talking animals, and spooky events, beginning from the earliest Chinese writings incised on turtle shells to the twentieth century. We will examine changing worldviews and religious practices during these three millennia, retracing the storylines retold around East Asia and across media ancient and modern.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30

Prerequisites: None.

Instructor: Du

Distribution Requirements: REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy; LL - Language and Literature

Typical Periods Offered: Every other year

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered