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Reading Spaces and Places: Exploring East Asian Cities through the Visual and Literary Arts

City skyline


Reading Spaces and Places examined major cities in China, Japan and Korea across different eras to witness the emergence of these political and cultural centers as they responded to shifting politics, religious traditions, foreign incursions and natural disasters. We began our studies in Xi’an, China, formerly Chang’an, home of the First Emperor’s Army and the terminus of the Silk Road wherein we examined political shifts and the convergence of religious and philosophical traditions in the classical past. From there we moved to Nara and Kyoto, Japan to see the expansion of Buddhism into Japan and the shift from a decidedly Chinese influenced society to the emergence of a uniquely Japanese perspective. We concluded our study of major cities of East Asia in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries by looking at Beijing and Shanghai, China; Seoul, Korea; and Tokyo, Japan as each city center responded to imperialism, the war years, and the legacy of World War II. Our consideration of each location focused on literary and visual characteristics of each space as they were impacted by the events of world history.


  • Saturday, January 10, 2015: 8:30-3:00 on the UW Seattle campus
  • Saturday, January 24: 8:30-3:00 on the UW Seattle campus
  • Saturday, January 31: 8:30-3:00 on the UW Seattle campus
  • Thursday, February 5: 5:00-7:00 at the Seattle Asian Art Museum
  • Saturday, February 21: 8:30-3:00 on the UW Seattle campus


Melanie King, Art History faculty at Seattle Central College


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  • 35 free Washington State clock hours, Montana OPI renewal units, or a certificate of completion
  • Course books listed above.
  • $100 for the purchase of additional teaching materials
  • A 2015-16 subscription to Education about Asia
  • Lunches