Course code SDSK1039
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Credit points, number of lectures
Credit points ECTS Credit points Total number of auditorium hours Number of lecture hours Number of student independent work hours
2 3 32 32 48
Course annotation
This is an interdisciplinary course to introduce students into the processes of cultural, historical and literary developments of Western Europe from Old Europe to contemporary times. The formation of ideas and literary genres is considered as related to the dominating events of cultural history. The main focus is on the evolution of concepts and ideas, on intercultural relations and on the stimulating effects mutual interference has had in various European cultures. Students will be trained in considering common problems in international context along the axis of a historical retrospective and in working on solutions for these problems within a contemporary European environment.

Results Students will learn about early contacts of Western and Eastern civilizations and their synthesis since the times of Old Europe and the arrival of Indo-Europeans. The students will learn to analyze the development of literature within broader intercultural context. Focusing on cultural and literary interrelations they will acquire competences to find their way in the multicultural contemporary world. By using interdisciplinary research and study methods the students will be able to understand and practically apply them for analysing contemporary literary and cultural phenomena and evaluate their role in building the present day society.

Course plan No.TopicPlanned amount in hours
1.Clash and interference of cultures nowadays and in a historical perspective. Indo-European arrival in Old Europe and in Ancient India, its reflection in ancient texts ( Manu Laws, Mahabharata, Celtic legends). S. AnkravaL2
2.Interference if IE and Dravidic cultural tradition in society and its reflection in literature. (Tales from Central India, Rāmayana, ‘Dhvanyaloka’ by Anandavardhana, Bhavabhuti lyrics, plays by Kālidāsa). S. AnkravaL2
3.Arab literature in Spain, its influence upon the literary and cultural tradition of Medieval Europe (Omarit, Usrit, Trroubadour poetry, Sweet New Style, The Cult of Madonna). S. AnkravaL2
4.The Role of Silk Road in the development of European arts and letters. The influence of Pharsi literary tradition upon European literature (The Tales of a Parrot, Hitopadesha, Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’, G. Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’). S. Ankrava L2
5.The invasion of the Ottoman Empire in Europe in the 15th century and its influence upon European Renaissance art and literature (Marlow’s ‘Tamerlan the Great’, Essays by Montaigne etc.). Translations from Eastern languages into European languages. Great inventions and discoveries as reflected in arts and literature. S. AnkravaL2
6.‘Persian Letters’ by Montesquieu and their role in the development of European cultural and political life. Orientalism in European cultures. (J.W. Goethe).S. Ankrava L2
7.Anglo-Indian literature as a sample of cultural hybridism, its role in the fight for national liberation. Indocentrism vs. Anglocentrism in Indian literature and arts in 19/20th centuries (Aru and Toru Dattas, M. Gandhi, S. Naidu, J. Nehru as the founders of modern India). S. AnkravaL2
8.New European literatures as hybridliteratures. The problem of Hybridity as reflected in contemporary culture, literature, cinema ( K. Ishiguro ‘The remains of the Day’ etc.). S. AnkravaL2
9.The portrait of the Chinese Empire in Marc’O Polo’s travel description ‘Il Milione’ and its interpretation in later medieval and renaissance literature and arts. Themes: narrative motifs of medieval and renaissance literature. F. Kraushaar L2
10.The letters of the jesuits and European enlightment thinker’s ideas about civilized nations. Themes: The Chinese emperor as the exemplary ruler in an enlightened state. Voltaire’s utopies. G.V. Leibniz’ conception of China as „Asia’s Europe” and his ‘Novissima Sinica’. F. Kraushaar L2
11.The first translations of chinese canonical works into European languages and the role of Chinese products in everyday life in Europe. Themes: P. Lacharme’s latin translation of the Canon of Songs (Shi Jing) and later adaptations (Friedrich Rückerts „Chinesisches Liederbuch“Gesammelt von Konfuzius’ and J.W.Goethes ‘Deutsch-Chinesische Tages- und Jahreszeiten’ F.KraushaarL2
12.Modernity and the new conception of civilisation, 1850 – 1950. Themes: The development of sinology as a new academic discipline and its influence on the reception of Chinese culture. (James Legge, Richard Wilhelm, Arthur Waley) The First World War as the cause of fundamental changes in the cultural life and self-consciousness of Europe. (Oswald Spengler, „Untergang des Abendlandes”)F. Kraushaar L2
13.Exotism and avantgarde. Themes: The culture of the dying empire as a symbol of dying civilization in V, Segalens novel ‘René Leys’. Segalen’s works ‘Odes’ and ‘Stèles’. E, Pound’s early work ‘Cathay’ and Ernest Fenellosa’s essay ‘The Chinese Written Character as a Medium of Poetry’ F. Kraushaar.L2
14.The impact of traditional Chinese culture on European intellectuals, the „alternative classical concepts”: traditional confucianism, daoism, new confucianism. Theme: Chinese classics as modern utopies, historical reality and postmodern chiphers in E. Pound’s oeuvre ‘Cantos’ and in his translation of the Canon of Songs ‘The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius’. F. KraushaarL2
15.China as a postmodern deviation to a new understanding of „tradition” in Europe. Theme: works on arts and aesthetics by the french philosopher and sinologist François Jullien: ‘Eloge de la fadeur’ (‘In Praise of Blandness. Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Asthetics.’) and ‘La grande image n’a pas de forme’ (‘The Great Image has no Form’). F. KraushaarL2
16.Confucianism as an intellectual tendency in the transformation of China in the 20th century and export product of „Chinese cultural values” at the beginning of the 21st century. F. KraushaarL2

Requirements for obtaining credit points 2 intermediate written tests - each 25%. Final examination: written test – 50 %.

Study programmes Asian Studies