MES 381 • EUROPE'S ASIAS
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
How many kinds of "East" are understood to exist before the onset of the so-called modern period, & how is access to them gained or imagined? Greek texts on Alexander's dialogues with the Brahmans, & the genre known as the Indika, suggest a fascination with India in the early Mediterranean West. Thanks to the commodity-value of silk, China's ancient Roman name, Sinae or Serica, is still part of the English lang today. After antiquity, & before the period called the Renaissance, remarkable documents also assembled a sense of the many Asias: as, inter alia, a locus of pilgrimage, natural & cultural wonders, commerce & mercantilism, missionary activity, & military enterprise. This seminar proposes that we track, through medieval travel literature, Europe's Asias: the Near/Middle East or West Asia; Cathay/China/Indochina; continental Eurasia; the three Indias; archipelago Southeast Asia; and even Japan, between the 12th &15th centuries. For a more detailed description, please check with the Department of English.
2 presentations and a seminar paper for a letter grade (for pass/fail credit, 2 presentations; no seminar paper).
To be provided by the instructor.