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World Civilizations

In this requirement, students explore the cultural heritage, history, and religious and philosophical traditions of civilizations around the world, beyond the scope of what is typically thought of as "Western" culture. Most courses that fulfill this requirement focus primarily on Asian cultures, but other areas of focus include the Middle East, Africa, and the precolonial cultures of the Americas.

This requirement aims to expand students' perspectives and global knowledge to achieve a fuller understanding of the world around them.

Courses that fulfill the World Civilizations requirement:

ARTH 300 Non-Western Art (4)

A survey of the art and architecture of China, Japan, India, Africa, the Islamic world, and the pre-Columbian Americas. Satisfies the Fine Arts GE requirement
or the World Civilizations GE requirement, but not both. (GE)

ARTH 442 Islamic Art (4)

The art, architecture, and visual culture of the Middle East and the Islamic world from the pre-modern period to the early modern period. Fulfills the Fine Arts Ge requirement or the World Civilizations GE requirement, but not both.

ARTH 446 Chinese Art (4)

The art, architecture, and visual culture of the Middle East and the Islamic world from the pre-modern period to the present.

ARTH 448 Korean Art (4)

The art, architecture, and visual culture of Korea from the pre-modern period to the present. Fulfills the World Civilizations GE requirement. Students may elect to have this course fulfill the Fine Arts GE requirement instead if requested through One Stop.

ASIA 301 Sources of Asian Tradition (4)

An introduction to the concepts and experiences that have informed and sustained Asian civilization for 4,000 years. Major ideas and events that have shaped the historical record of the great civilizations of India and China (and all nations under their influence, including Southeast Asia, Tibet, Korea and Japan) will be presented and examined through lectures, demonstrations, assigned readings, and discussions. Students will gain a working knowledge of Asian institutional and intellectual history and a sense of the common human experiences that link East and West.

ASIA 305 Survey of East Asia (4)

A historical survey of the nations of East Asia from the earliest period of Shang Dynasty China to the present ascent of the Pacific Rim. The nations of East Asia--China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam--were bound by political, social, and economic ties, but it was primarily the ties of culture and language that sustained their commitment to a common civilization. The course will introduce students to the most important events, people, institutions, and achievements of this civilization.

ASIA/HIST 310  (4)

Examines the history of modern Japanese society from the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate (seventeenth- to nineteenth-century military rule) to the end of the Pacific War (1937-1945). The ideas, historical events, and social forces that underpinned the Tokugawa era (early modern), as well as Japan's selective absorption of European and American influences will be studied. The course seeks to understand the role ideas and action (thought and practice)--traditional and modern, Japanese and non-Japanese--played in national integration, rapid industrialization, and Japan's emergence as a twentieth-century power. A modern history, the course places its topic in the broader study of modernity and modernization theory.

ASIA 325 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature (4)

Surveys 1,100 years of pre-modern Japanese literature, one of the most extensive literary traditions of world civilizations. Explores a variety of key texts in the Japanese lyric and narrative canon: ancient poetry, romances, and diaries by court aristocrats; samurai warrior tales; Imperial poetry sequences; recluse literature by hermit monks; travel journals by itinerant priests; banraku puppet and No theater scripts; and comic tales produced in the urban entertainment quarters. The course also pays attention to the visuality of these texts, as most of the canonical stories have their corollary in painting, scrolls, or screens.

ASIA/HIST 330 History of Traditional Chinese Civilization (4)

     A survey of Chinese civilization from the ancient kingdoms of the Shang and Zhou dynasties through the time of the Ming dynasty (1644 A.D.). Major personalities, significant events, and critical developments in the politics, society, and culture of this period are examined. Special focus on Confucius and Confucianism, political authoritarianism and despotism, social mobility and meritocracy, women and the traditional family, and China and the emerging world economy.

ASIA/HIST 331 History of Modern China (4)

     A survey of modern Chinese history from the founding of the last imperial dynasty, the Qing, in 1644 A.D. through the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911 to the return of the British colony of Hong Kong in 1997. Political, economic, social, and intellectual developments will be examined. Special focus on democracy and the legacy of authoritarianism, "free trade" and opium wars, westernization and modernization, Confucianism and Chinese identity, economic development and equality, and communist revolution and reform.

ASIA 340 Traditional Chinese Thought and Society (4)

     A study of traditional Chinese thought from ancient and classical China through the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1644). The traditions of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism will be considered in their social, political, and intellectual contexts and through their ethical impact. Special emphasis on the natural and the moral order, good men and the society, change and immutability, and truth and rationality.

ASIA 350 Buddhist Texts, Images, and Practices (4)

     A lecture-seminar on the development of Buddhist doctrine and iconography in Asia from India to Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan using original-language texts in English translation as well as slides of historically significant temples and their contents. First-hand impressions of Buddhist images and practices will be gained through field trips to Buddhist communities in the Los Angeles area.

ASIA/Film 365 Japanese and Asian Film (4)

This course explores the thematic and formal aspects of Japanese film, dealing with topics such as the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the rise of Taisho commodity culture in the 1920s, the Pacific War, postwar reconstruction, and postmodernism. Study of works by Ozu, Mizoguchi, and Kurosawa will introduce the course, followed by a series of more recent Japanese films, including science-fiction animation. IN addition, works from China, Hong Kong, and South Korea raise the issue of colonialism and the role Japanese colonialism played in the development of East Asian film industries and sensibilities.

COM 313 Introduction to Intercultural Communication (4)

     The study of interpersonal, small group, organizational and mass media communication as it influences the creation of meaning between representatives of major cultures or co-cultures within a predominant culture. Includes verbal and nonverbal elements influencing communication. Contemporary insights from a variety of areas including communication, anthropology, sociology and psychology. Students must earn a minimum grade of C- before they can advance to subsequent courses in the Communication major. Prerequisite: COM 180.

FRE 366 Francophone Civilizations of Africa and the Levant (4)

Survey of the Francophone presence in West Africa, North Africa, and the Levant. Students will explore the history of these regions, factors leading to their movements for independence, and sociocultural and political issues related to post-colonialism. Prerequisite: FRE 252 or equivalent competency.

GSHU 333 Asian Great Books (4)

     Using this shared inquiry method, this course considers great literary, philosophical, and religious texts of the East, such as the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, and works by Confucius, Mencius, Hsun Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Basho, Murasaki, and others. The course requires intensive work in writing and oral participation. Prerequisite: completion of GSHU 122 or consent of instructor.

HIST 320 Pre-Columbian Civilizations of the Americas (4)

     An examination of major Native American civilizations from prehistoric times to approximately 1600. Social and cultural aspects will be emphasized as archaeological, anthropological, and historical data are examined. Special attention will be given to the Native American cultures of Central and either North or South America.

HIST 390 Modern History of the Middle East (4)

     An introductory course which explores the causes underlying the rise of sovereign nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the conflicts that have attended modern social, technological, and political change. In addition, particular attention will be paid throughout the course to Islam and its influence over the socio-political history of the Middle East. The basic tenets of Islam and its significance and role will be critically examined. Generally, the course will strike a balance between chronological and thematic/analytical approaches.

HIST 409 Ancient Civilizations (4)

     Examines the major civilizations of the ancient world before the emergence of the Greeks and Romans in the Mediterranean. The political, religious, cultural, and social histories and legacies of the Egyptian and the Mesopotamian civilization will be studied in detail, as will the histories of less widely-studied cultures such as those of pre-dynastic China, the Indus River and Ganges civilizations, and the Celts. Special attention is given to the monotheistic cultures of the Jews and Persians and to the role of archaeology in ancient history.

HIST 450 Modern History of Africa (4)

Explores the history of Africa from 1800 to contemporary times. Attending to both thematic diversity and regional particularism, it addresses such topics as the slave trade in Western and Central Africa, the Zulu and Asante empires, Christian missions, colonization and human rights abuses in the Congo and German Southwest Africa, apartheid in South Africa, and indigenous resistance to, and ultimately victory over, European systems of exploitation and control. The course also investigates the endemic social and political crises of the post-independence era

INTS 445 Contemporary African Politics (4)

     A study of the contemporary political, social, economic, and cultural life of Africa with emphasis on three central themes of governance, development, security. Specific attention is devoted to political and economic liberalization in Africa, the Rwandan genocide, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the role of South Africa.

INTS 456 East Asian Politics (4)

A comparative study of politics and society in several countries or regions of East Asia. Examines pan-Asian history and culture and explores the determinants of political and economic liberalization. Students majoring in international studies may apply this course to either the political studies or Asian studies specialization, but not both.

POSC 456 East Asian Politics (4)

     A comparative study of politics and society in several countries or regions of East Asia. Examines pan-Asian history and culture and explores the determinants of political and economic liberalization.

REL 501 The World of the Old Testament (4)

     A study of the world of the ancient Near East, of which Old Testament Israel was a part. Special attention will be given to the literary and artifactual remains that shed light on the historical and socio-cultural context of ancient Israel.

REL 526 The Religions of the World (4)

     An examination of the major religious traditions with focus on Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other religions such as Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Jainism, and Sikhism are covered as time permits.