East Meets West      MHUMAN 110



East Meets West is a humanities course that introduces students to how imaginative and actual encounters between Eastern and Western cultures have affected our lives and perspectives in profound and intriguing ways. Our lens will be the humanities: we examine our topic by studying and discussing cultural, creative and intellectual aspirations, achievements, and exchanges - in culture, philosophy, arts, religion, storytelling, writings, film, and history.

Available at MJC E. Campus: Pirate’s Bookstore
online venues, and other outlets, used.

1. Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical  
    Journeys through 31 Nations, Continents, and
Martin Gannon and Rajnandini Pillai. Sage
5th Ed, 2012. ISBN: 13:978-4129-9593-1.

  1. 2.The Silk Road and Beyond: Travel, Trade, and Transformation, ed. Karen Manchester. Art Institute of Chicago, 2007. YaleU Press ISBN 978-0-300-12428-6

  2. 3.Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures,
        Different Harems.
    Fatema Mernissi, 2002. Washington
        Square Press
    (ISBN 10-0743412435)



OPTIONAL: We will be reading selections from the following texts, electronically, on the Internet, but if you want papers copies of these classics, they are available used and new, online, and in used bookstores.

- The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in

Time of War, trans. Barbara Miller, 1986.  

  Bantam Classics (ISBN 10- 0553213652).

- Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings. trans. Burton Watson, Columbia U Press (1974 ed. ISBN 978-0231086066).

  1. -Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Compiler Paul Reps.
    Many editions (1st edition, 1957). Tuttle Publishing, 1998 (
    ISBN-10: 0804831866).


IMPORTANT! About the class format.

This class includes online enhancements.  Students must use the Internet and our Canvas online course management system to read some materials, post homework, take quizzes, and communicate with members of the class.


Our course framework, the humanities, is an academic discipline which applies knowledge, critical and creative thinking, and discussion methods to understand cultural, artistic, practical, and intellectual aspirations of human beings at various times and places in the world.

We will examine both Western and Eastern cultures, arts, ideas, and stories (historical and fictional) by people who have lived, traveled in, or imagined the lands of East and West. We will consider people who have made pivotal creative and cultural contributions, and who have offered substantial knowledge, metaphors, and insights that affect our everyday lives.

We will study
interchanges in meeting places - settlements, cities, and other contact zones; and movements along the so-called Silk Roads and Maritime routes  - of traders of silk, spice, knowledge, stories, and musical entertainment; of animals, warriors, monks, and adventurers; of immigrant, refugee and traveling artists and writers - leading to mixes of peoples, religions, ideas, and art forms. All these are part of the transcultural merging and emerging forms of what/who may be seen as: “Eastern” (Oriental / Asian) or “Western”(Occidental).

East Meets West raises challenging social and cultural issues: difference and otherness in Orientalist and Occidentalist perceptions of countries, religions and philosophies, aesthetics and ethics; of knowledge, identity, and power, and traditional and modern values.  We will look at recurring and changing notions of wisdom, beauty, meaning, morality, and justice. We will reflect on the impact of colonialism, wars, diaspora, globalization, privacy, technology, social media and the World Wide Web.


Course Objectives. Gain academic and experiential knowledge of world cultures and arts. Strengthen critical thinking skills to make more sense of different group and individual viewpoints, traditions, customs, and values. Develop greater understanding and stronger communication skills. Gain opportunities for personal and professional growth and advancement.

Larger Academic goals: Upon completing this course successfully, you will earn credit toward an MJC General Education Associate Degree, with  Humanities Area of Emphasis transfer credits to a four-year college or university.


   East Meets West


           MHUMAN 110

   Recommended for success: Eligibility for English 101.

Letter grade or Pass/No Pass.