Department News

Department News:

AlumniDinner246.jpgSatoko Suzuki's First Year Course (Language and Gender in Japanese Society)

Staff and students met and enjoyed dinner with Macalester alums at the house of Elissa Mallory '07. Also pictured are Anna Farrell '06, Megan Chmielewski '06, and Stu Chmielewski '06.

Macalester Senior (Chinese Major) Andrew Notaras was awarded a $3,000 internship stipend

The stipend was through funding from the Henry Luce Foundation as part of the "Mapping Transitions through the Vehicle of the Arts" program. The Foundation is part of the Consortium for the Study of the Asias, at the University of Minnesota. Notaras' research focuses on intercultural and trans-media adaptations of ghost stories and "tales of the strange" by the Qing dynasty Chinese author Pu Songling  蒲松龄 (1640-1715).

2014 Language and Culture Prize Winners:

Yevgenia Berdysheva, Chinese, Ashley Mangan, Chinese and Elena Paulsen, Japanese.  These cash prize winners were announced at the Poetry Contest Luncheon in spring 2014.

New Courses for Spring 2015

CHIN 194 – Masterpieces of Chinese Literature 
Instructor: Rivi Handler-spitz

This course introduces students to masterpieces of Chinese poetry, drama, philosophy, and history.  We begin with ancient folk songs and poems and progress historically to China’s winner of the Nobel prize for literature, the 21st century author Gao Xingjian.  The Chinese word for “literature” -- “wenxue” -- literally means “the study (xue) of patterns (wen).”  In class we will search for thematic, rhythmic, stylistic, and philosophical patterns that structure individual texts.  We will also discover broader social patterns that transcend individual works and bind the tradition together.  Among the recurring themes we shall encounter are love and separation, loyal service to one’s country and ruler, nostalgia for the past, war, and death.  All texts will be read in English translation; no knowledge of Chinese language or literature is expected.  There will be frequent writing assignments.

JAPA 294 - Narratives of Alienation: 20th Century Japanese Literature and Film Instructor:  Arthur Mitchell

This seminar explores the themes of estrangement, isolation, belonging, and
kinship as they are expressed in works of Japanese literature, film, and graphic
novels (manga) during the 20th century. We examine how writers and filmmakers
used narratives to register marginal voices, expose the contradictions of the status
quo, and argue for new ways of being in the modern world. No knowledge of
Japanese required.

CHIN 452 - Translating Chinese
Instructor:  Rivi Handler-Spitz

To translate means to transfer texts across languages, cultures, and often media and time.  Through translation, authors render texts available to new generations of audiences.  But in the process, they risk distorting authorial intentions.   Thus the act of translation raises ethical questions involving social responsibility and empathy: should translations strive for literal accuracy even when the cultural concepts in the original are incomprehensible to readers in the target language?  Should translations accentuate their own foreignness?  Or should they accommodate the aesthetic tastes of contemporary readers?  Where does the boundary between translation and interpretation lie?  Are translators mere ventriloquists, or are they creators in their own right?  Is all communication ultimately translation?   In this course, students will examine the history and theory of translation both from Chinese into Western languages and from Western languages into Chinese.  They will study and write on cultural translation, self-translation, and translations across media (film, opera, song, etc.).  Additionally, students will frequently practice the skill of translation and reflect upon their own development as translators.

JAPA 488 - Japanese Translation:  Theory and Practice
Instructor:  Arthur Mitchell

This workshop for advanced students of Japanese explores the craft and the cultural
implications of Japanese-to-English literary translation. Through weekly assignments, we will
examine the expressive qualities of the Japanese language and gain facility in reading and
translating Japanese. Translations will be augmented with readings in theory and craft. The
course includes poetry, manga, and film (subtitles) and will culminate in a translation project of
one’s choice. Pre-requisite: JAPA305 or above.