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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2010

ANS 301 • Everybody is Kung-Fu Fighting: East Asian Martial Arts Films

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30855 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
JGB 2.218
JGB 2.102

Course Description

At the turn of the twentieth century, one notices the fast-growing popularity of Asian films outside Asia. What used to be high-brow, academic, or even "cultish" has now, in the twenty-first century, become a popular if not entirely routine part of visual experience in the US. Seemingly, everything Asian becomes the “It,” ever in trend and ever showcasing the awareness and sensitivities of foreign culture. Certainly, things are always more complex than one would like to imagine. For instance: How do we understand Asian, geographically or ethnically or both? This undergraduate class reconsiders the notion of “East Asian” from the cinematic perspective. To get the minimal specificity of the issue at stake, we are to focus on the specific genre of martial arts film. Through weekly screenings, we are to rethink the following issues: What are the possible significances of the choreography of martial arts? How does the choreograph of actors in East Asian martial art films correspond to heroism, self-discipline, and routine training? How does the expressiveness of body correspond to cultural, ideological, and economic transactions, or even political confrontations, either inside or outside the East Asia proper? What influence do East Asian martial arts films have on its western counterparts?

Grading Policy

Participation 15% Weekly reading response 10% Quizzes 10% Clip analyses 15% Group Final Project 25% Final exam 25%


Eleftheriotis, Dimitris and Gary Needham. Asian Cinemas: A Reader and Guide. Honolulu: U of Hawaii Press, 2006. Lau, Jenny Kwok Wah. Multiple Modernities: Cinemas and Popular Media In Transcultural East Asia. Temple University Press, 2003. Shin, Chi-yun. New Korean Cinema. Edinburg: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. West, David. Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film. I.B.Tauris, 2006. Yau, Ching-Mei Esther. At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema In A Borderless World. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2001. Films (Full films and clips): Wei Lo. The Chinese Connection. Ang Lee: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Yoji Yamada. The Twilight Samurai. Seung-wan Ryoo. Dachimawa Lee: The Orient Espionage Ramesh Sippy. Chandni Chowk to China.


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