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PHIL11-106: Understanding East Asian Cultures


Understanding East Asian culture – China, Japan, North and South Korea – is a crucial task for anyone planning on undertaking business in East Asia and for everyone who wants a deeper understanding of the region and its expanding significance in the world. The top two trading partners of Australia are China and Japan, and more than 50% of Australia’s exports flow to East Asia. To understand East Asian culture with depth, we explore the connection between its culture and philosophy and western culture and philosophy. The connection and balance between humans and nature has been an enduring focus of philosophical discussion in the major philosophical and religious traditions of the East Asian region: Confucianism, Daoism and Zen Buddhism. Questions of good and evil, of what makes us human, and how we can establish trust will guide us through a comparative study of East and West. Key ideas include happiness, relationships, respect and responsibility, trust and prosperity. We will explore how such values, reflected in two and half millennia of social, cultural, ethical and aesthetical discussion, can inspire creative solutions to contemporary problems. We will encounter ritual and revolution, the aesthetics of the tea ceremony and the culture of anime, the Confucian idea of joy through self-improvement and the control of over a billion people in China’s Social Credit system.


Subject details

FacultyFaculty of Society & Design
Semesters offered
  • January 2021 [Standard Offering]
  • September 2021 [Standard Offering]
  • January 2022 [Standard Offering]
  • September 2022 [Standard Offering]
  • January 2023 [Standard Offering]
Study areas
  • International Relations and Humanities
Subject fees
  • Commencing in 2020: $4,340
  • Commencing in 2021: $3,890

Learning outcomes

1. Identify basic teachings of East Asian philosophies and recognise their relationships to other cultures.
2. Communicate philosophical ideas from a personal perspective in clear and structured academic writing and oral presentations
3. Analyse, discuss and provide meaningful feedback to peers.
4. Integrate East Asian cultural ideas with personal experience and apply them towards future professional goals

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?


Subject outlines

Subject dates

Standard Offering
Enrolment opens15/11/2020
Semester start18/01/2021
Subject start18/01/2021
Cancellation 1?01/02/2021
Cancellation 2?08/02/2021
Last enrolment31/01/2021
Withdraw – Financial?13/02/2021
Withdraw – Academic?06/03/2021
Teaching census?12/02/2021