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C LIT 240 E: Writing In Comparative Literature

Meeting Time: 
TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
MGH 074
Qian He

Syllabus Description:

in the mood for love.jpg

Comparative Literature 240 E

 In the Mood for Cinema: Film and Love in East Asia

Spring 2018


Instructor: Belinda Qian He                                             Office Location: Padelford B202

Class Time: TTh 3:30-5:20                                               Office Hours: F 3:30-5:30/ by appointment

Classroom: MGH 074                                                       Contact:



This is a course about cine-love, namely, various films of love and the love of cinema in East Asian entities: South Korea, Japan, Mainland China (PRC), Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

How does cinema "look" at and, or rather, invent love? Is film history also a history of love? How can we dissect the cinematic language of love in order to understand love and develop an anatomy of love in everyday life? What kind of readings of love might enable multiple inquiries into and deeper understandings of hatred that is pervasive and, dynamically, holds a diverse collection of people together and drives them apart?

What is "East Asia"? Can the coupling of “cine-love” and “East Asia” generate new strategies to work against existing disciplinary frameworks, including those drawn along national boundaries, historical periodization, and medium-specific approach to cinema and media?

Considering cinema as a parameter and as method, this course is designed to help you become a strong writer who can construct critically and deliver effectively in particular writing contexts by approaching and exploring such questions. In this course, we will learn to explore, execute, utilize, and also reflect on the interrelated power of both written and visual language through the medium of film analysis. This course covers a multitude of cultural artifacts including fiction films such as In the Mood for Love (2000), Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003), Miss Granny (2014), and Farewell My Concubine (1993); animated film such as Millennium Actress (2001); video essays and shorts such as Movie Night (2007). We will also take a critical look at our cinematic experiences in relation to a kaleidoscope of film stills, paratexts, iconic images, or collages that fleetingly cross people’s perception and memory in the everyday life. These different “texts” around cinema and moviegoing will serve as an immersive setting for your writing adventure as well as function as a toolbox of living archives with which your writing will deal and interact.






Cinema of Love

Farewell My Concubine 1993 by Chen Kaige (PRC, 171 min)

Love Letter 1995 by Shunji Iwai (Japan, 118 min)

In the Mood for Love 2000 by Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong, 98 min)

Miss Granny 2014 by Hwang Dong-hyuk (South Korea, 124 min)

The Fourth Portrait 2010 by Chung Mong-hong (Taiwan, 102 min)


The Handmaiden 2016 by Chan-wook Park (South Korea, 145 min) (optional)


Love of Cinema

Millennium Actress 2001 by Satoshi Kon (Japan, 87 min)

Goodbye Dragon Inn 2003 by Ming-liang Tsai (Taiwan, 82 min)

Chacun Son Cinema (To Each His Own Cinema) 2007 by 35 directors (all the world)


SIFF films




Brunette, Peter. “In the Mood for Love,” in Wong Kar-wai. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005, 86-100.

De Villiers, Nicholas. "Leaving the Cinema: Metacinematic Cruising in Tsai Ming-liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn." Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media 50 (2008).

Ann Kaplan, "Reading Formations and Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine", from Lu, Sheldon Hsiao-peng, ed., Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997) 265-275

Max Tessier, Shu Kei, Chris Berry, reviews and commentary on Farewell My Concubine.

Zha Jianying, "Shadows on a Screen" from China Pop (interview with Chen Kaige)


Kuhn, Annette. “The Little Girl Wants to be heard” in Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination. New ed. London; New York: Verso, 2002, 25-46.

Gocsik, Karen M., Barsam, Richard Meran, and Monahan, Dave. Writing about Movies. Fourth ed. New York; London: W. W. Norton &, 2016.



Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. Ninth ed. Boston: Pearson, 2015.

Spadoni, Robert. A Pocket Guide to Analyzing Films. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014.



To achieve our main goal, we will focus on the following objectives:

  • Developing Rhetorical Awareness: to understand when we write in a certain way and be able to transfer that knowledge to new or different writing contexts
  • Working with research: to utilize a variety of strategies for analyzing (filmic/visual) texts and using those texts as generative parts of inquiry
  • Formulating Effective Claims: to develop well-supported arguments of intellectual depth that can contribute to an academic conversation
  • Targeting Revision: to view writing as a process where we constantly reflect on the effectiveness of our rhetorical choices and continually make changes to better our writing





In this course, you will complete two major assignment sequences, each of which is designed to help you fulfill the course outcomes. Each assignment sequence requires you to complete a variety of shorter homework leading up to a major paper/project. These shorter assignments will each target one or more of the course outcomes at a time, help you practice these outcomes, and allow you to build toward a major paper at the end of each sequence. You will have a chance to revise significantly each of the major papers using feedback generated by your instructor, peer review sessions, and writing conferences. Toward the end of the course, having completed the three sequences, you will be asked to compile and submit a collection of your work along with a short cover letter (as your critical reflection). The collection need to include the following:

  • All original assignments: two major papers/projects (one film analysis, one self-ethnography of moviegoing or video essay) and eight short assignments (such as Canvas posts, free writes, one-page response, creative annotated bibliography, etc). (Note: only two major assignments and the first four short assignments will be graded after your original submission each time and re-graded as a whole after your revision and final submission; the other four short assignments in the second sequence will be given feedback either by me or your peers each time and will NOT be graded until your final submission)
  • two revised Major Papers (60 points), four of the eight Short Assignments (30 points), and a Critical Reflection (10 points) that explains how the selection demonstrates the four outcomes for the course.


  • one of the two revised Major Papers (30 points), all eight Short Assignments (60 points), and a Critical Reflection (10 points) that explains how the selection demonstrates the four outcomes for the course.



Throughout the quarter, your papers will receive feedback to help you identify what you are doing well and what you need to improve. The following evaluation rubric will be used as part of my feedback:

  • Outstanding: Offers a very highly proficient, even memorable demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), including some appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.
  • Strong: Offers a proficient demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), which could be further enhanced with revision.
  • Good: Effectively demonstrates the trait(s) associate with the course outcome(s), but less proficiently; could use revision to demonstrate more skillful and nuanced command of trait(s).
  • Acceptable: Minimally meets the basic outcome(s) requirement, but the demonstrated trait(s) are not fully realized or well-controlled and would benefit from significant revision.
  • Inadequate: Does not meet the outcome(s) requirement; the trait(s) are not adequately demonstrated and require substantial revision on multiple levels.



Your participation in this course will be a necessary element to the success of the class. You may go to any of the writing centers as “extra credit” to help your participation grade. I will count up to two visits, and you must write a one-page reflection of how the experience helped you (submit on canvas). We will be discussing your participation grade throughout the quarter, so that your participation grade is no surprise to you at the end of the quarter.

5% Conference: You will meet with me individually once this quarter (see syllabus for when they are scheduled). These conferences give you the opportunity to get feedback about your papers/projects and to express any concerns, questions, or suggestions you might have about the course or the assignments. I will provide you with a sign-up sheet for the conference with detailed instructions about how to prepare for it.

10% In-Class Discussion: Your willingness to contribute to class discussions by making comments, asking questions, and your engagement in presentations, group work and peer workshops.

5% Preparation for Class and Meeting Deadlines: Your overall preparedness in completing all reading and writing assignments on time, and the timeliness of your papers. Remember that class discussions, presentations, free writes, and peer-review sessions cannot be made up if you miss class.



All assignments are due (using Canvas) on the time and date specified (usually 11:59 pm), and I will not accept any assignments submitted in any other way unless given approval ahead of time. Unless you have spoken with me ahead of time, late work is due by the next class meeting and you will lose participation points. However, you will still need to complete late work, as your final collection must include all assignments in order for it to receive a passing grade. As with attendance, turning in late work will affect your participation grade. If you are having trouble and may be unable to turn things in on time, speak with me before the assignment is due (this does not mean the day that it is due). If you have a very good reason, I may be nice when it comes to the participation grade.




  • Please come to class prepared to participate in the activities for the day. You can keep up with the course schedule by referring to the course calendar (attached). The course calendar is subject to change. I will email the class email list after class each day with an overview of what we discussed in class and what is for homework. 
  • To each class, please bring: your textbook, a notebook (or something to take notes in), and your homework (when it is assigned). I will assume that everyone has done the assigned reading/films before class begins. Those students that do not keep up with the reading/films might see that reflected in their participation grade.
  • Handouts: I will be printing and distributing various handouts throughout the course. In the unlikely event that you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get a copy of the handout(s) from one of your peers or from the course website.


  • The more you engage in this academic community, the more you will learn. As with class attendance, it is important for you to participate in class discussions as thoroughly as possible; we want our time to be productive. Even if you have a hard time participating in discussion, for whatever reason, I ask that you give it your best shot. Participation in classroom discussion will be part of your participation grade, and we will discuss your participation grade in conferences so there are no surprises.
  • Respect: Because the exchange of ideas is so important to this class, it is necessary for everyone to be respectful of one another. Differences can be discussed, but not fought over. Derogatory or discourteous language is never necessary in any situation.


  • You will be expected to set your cell phone to silent before class begins (NOT vibrate).
  • Please don’t text during class. It is extremely disrespectful for your peers.
  • A similar policy applies to laptops. If you use your laptop to take notes during class, actually use it to take notes during class. Please don’t e-mail during class, don’t check Facebook, and don’t do work for your other classes during this one.


  • I do my best to post notes and assignments as far in advance as possible, but due to the idiosyncratic nature of each class, this doesn’t always work out. We will inevitably deviate from our calendar in order to accommodate relevant, spontaneous questions and issues (and rightly so), and so assignments and reading materials may change. If and when I make any changes to the course structure (calendar, assignments, etc.), I will always send out a class email explaining the changes and I will direct you to the course web page. Therefore, it’s crucial that you check your UW email account often, and that you use the course website—it will reflect any updated changes that have been made.
  • When you e-mail me, which I encourage you to do when you have any questions or concerns, I will try my best to get back to you within 24 hours (probably 48 on the weekends). If you e-mail me later than 5 pm, I might not respond until the next day. Please don’t wait until the last minute to contact me.



In the highly unlikely event that I would ever have to cancel a class, I would let you know by 3:50 pm the day of class. However, if I am ill or have an emergency, it is most likely that you would simply have a substitute that day. If for some reason (also highly unlikely) that I am not present when class begins, please wait for twenty minutes (03:50 pm) before leaving.



If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at



UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at:



The University of Washington Q Center builds and facilitates queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving, allies) academic and social community through education, advocacy, and support services to achieve a socially-just campus in which all people are valued. For more information, visit



Foundation for International Understanding through Students: FIUTS is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning. "FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month beginning with a lunch on September 28 from 11:30-1:30 in the Kane Hall Walker-Ames room. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources



There are two particularly fantastic writing resources for you here on campus at UW. Both are free of charge, and I would very strongly encourage you to take advantage of these resources. The Odegaard Writing and Research Center allows you to schedule 45-minute tutoring sessions in which to talk about your writing or specific writing assignments for any class. You may book these on-line at: (and I would suggest booking early, as they tend to fill up quickly!) The CLUE Writing Center is located in Mary Gates Hall, and offers late-night drop-in tutoring. You can get all the details here:



Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.



Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at



Please see the updated Canvas calendar page for details.

Week 1

Mar 27 First Class Meeting, Syllabus

Mar 29 Watching In the Mood for Love (Allen Auditorium)

April 1   (SA1.1 DUE)

Week 2

April 3   Mise-en-scene: In the Mood for Love (I)

April 5   Framing Love: In the Mood for Love (II)

April 6-8 Watching Farewell My Concubine at home  

April 8    (SA1.2 DUE)

Week 3

April 10   Camera Movement: Farewell My Concubine

April 12   Film as Historiography: Farewell My Concubine

April 13-15 Watching Love Letter at home                          

April 15   (SA1.3 DUE)

Week 4

April 17   Sound and Editing: Love Letter 

April 19   Romance as a Genre in East Asia: Comparison

April 20-22 Watching Miss Granny at home                        

April 22   (SA1.4 DUE)

Week 5

April 24   Guest Speaker: The Handmaiden (TBD)

April 26   Chick Flick and Female Spectatorship: Miss Granny across border

April 27-29   Watching The Fourth Portrait at home                 

April 29   (MP1 DUE)

Week 6

May 1   The Child as a Viewfinder: The Fourth Portrait

May 3   Children in East Asian Cinema

May 4-6   Watching Millennium Actress at home                    

May 6   (SA 2.1 DUE)

Week 7

May 8   Animation and Cinephilia: Millennium Actress

May 10   Meta-cinema as Method

May 11-13   Watching Goodbye, Dragon Inn at home     

May 13   (SA2.2 DUE)

Week 8

May 15   Slow Cinema and Spectatorship: Goodbye, Dragon Inn

May 17   The Art of Moviegoing

May 18-20   Watching To Each His Own Cinema          

May 20    (SA 2.3 DUE)

Week 9

May 22   Cinematic Life

May 24   NO Class; Individual Conferences

May 25-27   Watching TBD                                            

May 27   (SA2.4 DUE)

Week 10

May 29   NO Class; Individual Conferences

May 31   NO Class.

End of Instruction                                              

Jun 3   (MP2 DUE)                


Catalog Description: 
Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements Met: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
February 13, 2018 - 9:12pm