Courses

Spring 2018

  R1B Section 7 | CCN: 24873

Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: The​ ​Dot​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Line​ ​in​ ​East​ ​Asia

Jon Soriano

Tuesday | Thursday: 11:00 - 12:30pm

Throughout​ ​centuries​ ​of​ ​dynastic​ ​change​ ​in​ ​East​ ​Asia,​ ​mastery​ ​over​ ​ink​ ​and​ ​brush could​ ​reliably​ ​be​ ​used​ ​to​ ​advance​ ​one's​ ​position​ ​in​ ​society.​ ​ ​Specific​ ​ethical,​ ​educational, and​ ​aesthetic​ ​attainments​ ​could​ ​be​ ​read​ ​through​ ​an​ ​individual's​ ​abilities​ ​in​ ​calligraphy and​ ​painting.​ ​ ​The​ ​exhibition​ ​of​ ​these​ ​attainments,​ ​in​ ​turn,​ ​granted​ ​artists​ ​elite​ ​positions in​ ​government​ ​and​ ​great​ ​esteem​ ​from​ ​many.​ ​ ​Dots​ ​and​ ​lines,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​fundamental​ ​formal elements​ ​in​ ​script​ ​and​ ​depiction,​ ​thus​ ​also​ ​constitute​ ​the​ ​visual​ ​and​ ​textual​ ​world​ ​of​ ​the East​ ​Asian​ ​literati​ ​class,​ ​even​ ​to​ ​today.​ ​ ​What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​differential​ ​social,​ ​cultural,​ ​and environmental​ ​factors​ ​that​ shaped​ ​the​ ​art​ ​history​ ​of​ ​dots​ ​and​ ​lines​ ​in​ ​East​ ​Asia?​ ​ ​How does​ ​one​ ​adequately​ ​describe​ ​these​ ​formal​ ​elements​ ​in​ ​English,​ ​a​ ​language​ ​foreign​ ​to the​ ​art​ ​in​ ​question?

This​ ​reading​ ​and​ ​composition​ ​class​ ​responds​ ​to​ ​these​ ​questions​ ​by​ ​providing​ ​students with​ ​a​ ​basic​ ​art​ ​historical​ ​grounding​ ​from​ ​which​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​how​ ​to​ ​write​ ​about​ ​the​ ​dot and​ ​the​ ​line​ ​in​ ​East​ ​Asia.​ ​Moreover,​ ​students​ ​will​ ​practice​ ​looking​ ​carefully​ ​at​ ​relevant objects​ ​and​ ​texts,​ ​conducting​ ​independent​ ​research,​ ​and​ ​incorporating​ ​these​ ​skills​ ​into thoughtful​ ​and​ ​well-organized​ ​written​ ​compositions.​ ​ ​Repetition​ ​and​ ​revision​ ​are​ ​key​ ​to these​ ​practices.​ ​​A​ ​diversity​ ​of​ ​forms​ ​and​ ​formats​ ​will​ ​be​ ​examined,​ ​with​ ​special attention​ ​given​ ​to​ ​local​ ​objects​ ​collected​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Berkeley​ ​Art​ ​Museum​ ​and​ ​the​ ​East​ ​Asian Library.​ ​ ​Readings​ ​will​ ​include​ ​texts​ ​by​ ​Su​ ​Shi​ ​(1037–1101),​ ​Dong​ ​Qichang​ ​(1555–1636), Okakura​ ​Kakuzō​ ​(1863–1913),​ ​James​ ​Cahill​ ​(1926–2014),​ ​and​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of​ ​others. The class will culminate in the writing of a 10–12 page research paper on a relevant topic.