Undergraduate Seminar: Problems of Representation in Ancient and Medieval China
Kwi Jeong Lee
The concept of representation assumes a distance between reality and its doubles. Images, symbols, diagrams, events, and acts serve to represent reality deemed inaccessible without such mediating devices. While the validity of the representation is often measured by the degree of its proximity to that which is represented, in ancient and medieval China the assumed distance between the two gave rise to diverse discourses and controversies that brought into focus the philosophical, political, religious, and moral problems of representations. This course explores such Chinese hermeneutics of representation by engaging a selection of classical Chinese texts (in English translation), including, but not limited to, the Book of Changes, Laozi, and Chinese Buddhist scriptures. The goal of the course is to better understand how Chinese intellectual traditions conceptualized representation and how Chinese artistic practices were informed by such intellectual discourses.
This course fulfills the following requirements for the History of Art major: Geographical area (B) and Chronological period (I).