1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Notification of Changes
  14. Custom Sections
  15. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  16. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  17. Severe Weather Protocol
  18. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  19. Religious Observances
  20. UAct Statement

Tales from Asia

REL 322-001Fall 2020 | 3 Credit Hours


Dr. Steven Ramey

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:


Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

No description found

Due to the circumstances of the Fall 2020 semester and the social distancing requirements of our assigned classroom, we will be meeting weekly online using Blackboard Collaborate, as that will provide a better educational experience than having a fraction of the class in attendance for any one week, with the remainder online. Class sessions will be recorded and posted if anyone is unable to attend for any reason, including an internet outage or illness. Every student will have multiple ways to engage class discussion each week.

In addition to counting for the Religious Studies major and minor, this course counts towards the Writing core requirements and the Asian Studies minor.

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
  • YU(VP) / MONKEY & THE MONK (Required)

Course Objectives

This course will

  • Introduce religions of India and China

  • Present and apply various modes of analysis relevant to studying narratives popular in Asia

  • Analyze presentations and adaptations of the Ramayana

  • Analyze presentations and adaptations of Journey to the West

Student Learning Outcomes

Students in REL 322 will be able to

1) Analyze representations of tales from Asia and their ideological interests.

2) Apply critical analysis and theory to examples in popular culture and media.

3) Present in writing a comparative analysis of versions of a story of their choosing.

4) Develop effective written communication skills for academic writing

Other Course Materials

Additional Readings (marked with * in the Outline of Topics) will be available on Blackboard.

This course will make significant use of the Blackboard Learning system (https://ualearn.blackboard.com/) as well as Blackboard Collaborate. You will need internet access to complete the course, as well as access to a computer or other device. For assistance with Blackboard Collaborate (including the browser requirements), please consult https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant. For general tutorials for Blackboard, you can go to https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Watch_Videos. If you have problems with using Blackboard, Collaborate, or anything else in the course, please contact the professor as early as possible.

Outline of Topics

The following schedule of topics, readings, and assignments is tentative and subject to change. Any changes will be announced in class and/or via email as early as possible, allowing sufficient time for students to adjust.

Until circumstances and needs change, each class session will begin with a short, individual writing assignment before meeting virtually using Blackboard Collaborate at 3:45 each Wednesday. You can find the link to the class session on Blackboard under the Class Sessions option on the left side of the page.





19 Aug


26 Aug

Interpreting Tales

* Barthes "Myth Today" pp. 109-117

* Hinduism chapter

2 Sept

Diversity in Tales from India

* Ramanujan "300 Ramayanas"

Ramayana pre-TOC page, Introduction, Prologue

* Lincoln "Pandits and Mr. Jones"

9 Sept

Ramayana 1

Ramayana thru chapter 3

* Erndl "Mutilation of Surpanakha"

16 Sept

Ramayana 2

Ramayana thru chapter 6

Analysis 1 due

23 Sept

Ramayana 3

Ramayana thru chapter 12

30 Sept

Ramayana 4

Finish Ramayana

* Richman "Ramasami's Reading"

7 Oct

Introducing China

*Chinese Religions chapter

Analysis 2 due

Journey chapters 1-2

14 Oct

Journey 1

Journey chapters 4-5, 7

21 Oct

Journey 2

Journey chapters 8, 12, 14, 19

28 Oct

Journey 3

Journey chapters 20-22, 26-27

Analysis 3 due

4 Nov

Journey 4

Journey chapters 29-31

* Cozad "Reeling the Demon"

11 Nov

Final Paper discussion

No readings

Scheduled individual meetings to discuss Final Paper Proposal (instead of submitted paper versions)

18 Nov

Adaptations of Journey and Conclusions

Yang American Born Chinese

2 Dec

Peer Review

Draft due to peers by 5:00 pm on Dec 1. Peer Review should be completed by classtime on Dec 2.

8 Dec

Final Analysis Paper

Due by 7:00 pm, along with image of peer review elements

Exams and Assignments

Participation Grade

The online format for the seminar (which we will follow for however long is necessary and effective for learning) will provide multiple ways to participate in the course. As a seminar, real-time discussion is ideal. Anyone can speak up to comment or ask a question, or post a question or comment in the chat function. If a student is unable to attend a session, they will be able to view the session later via a recording, and they can participate by engaging the discussion related to the writing assignment that begins each class session and the video or reading that concludes each class session, using a Blackboard discussion board.

Reading Response

Before the start of class each week, each student should post on the Blackboard discussion board a comment or questions responding to the assigned readings for that week (about 1 paragraph worth). Comments may address a specific passage or an issue across the entire reading. They may involve an observation about the representation of a particular issue (power dynamics, social relations, gender, religious identification, etc.) or observations about specific characters or events in the assigned readings. Each response is worth 10 points, with credit for a maximum of 10 responses out of the 12 weeks with assigned readings.

Analysis Papers

Each scholar will compose 3 formal academic papers (3 full double spaced pages each) that analyze one or two comic book, video, or narrative representations of tales from Asia, such as we discuss in the course. Each paper is due via email by class time on the day of class noted on the above schedule (Sept 16, Oct 7, Oct 28). The analysis in the paper should address some issue in the ways the narrative(s) are presented and reflect analytical approaches that we have discussed this semester. Possibilities include comparing two tellings of the same narrative, the way one or two comics addresses a particular issue (e.g., gender, morality, nationalism, social hierarchy, etc.), or the overall impression that a particular version makes based on its selected wording and images. Accurate citations/references are required for any academic paper. As a part of the Writing component of the course, we may use one of more of these papers in class as part of a Peer Editing exercise, but you will be alerted of this before the time for submission

Analysis Paper - 3 Steps

Each scholar must prepare and write a 10+ page analysis paper on version(s) of an Asian tale of their own choosing, which will be graded according to the grading rubric presented in class early in the semester. The selection of the tale and the mode of analysis must take place in consultation with the professor prior to submitting the formal proposal and initial reading list, which is one paragraph describing the topic, the anticipated analysis and, most importantly, the argument that the scholar anticipates making. This proposal is due on 11 November.

The second step in the process is to present a draft for peer review. Scholars will be assigned a peer review writing group. Each scholar must submit a complete draft to the group through Blackboard by 5:00 pm on 1 Dec. Each group member should review and comment on the other draft(s) in the group before class on 2 Dec. Class that day will involve small groups, via teleconferencing, discussing the drafts, comments, and rubrics.

The final analysis paper must be a formal academic paper that demonstrates analytical and critical thinking skills, presents a coherent argument, and reflects careful editing. The paper will serve as the final exam and is due at the time set by the university for the final exam (8 Dec, 7:00 pm). I expect quality academic research making use of primary sources, peer-reviewed journals and books in Gorgas Library (and its electronic resources) as appropriate, and the approaches discussed in class. Accurate citations/references are required for any academic paper. When submitting the final paper, scholars must include images of the peer review worksheets along with the final draft.

Grading Policy


Points (Total 1000 possible)

Participation in discussion (video, chat, asynchronous Blackboard discussions)


Reading Responses (10 each, maximum of 10 submitted)


Analysis 1


Analysis 2


Analysis 3


Proposal and Reading List


Peer Review Exercise (draft 50 points, review of other drafts 50 points)


Final Analysis Paper


Final grades will be based on the following ranges: 970-1000 = A+; 920-969 = A; 900-919 = A-; 870-899 = B+; 820-869 = B; 800-819 = B-; 770-799 = C+; 720-769 = C; 700-719= C-; 600-699 = D; 0-599 = F

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

Due to the progressive and cooperative nature of this writing course, late submissions of written work limit the successful feedback for the person completing the work. However, the uncertainty and stresses of 2020 mean leniency is in order. Late submissions will be accepted as much as possible. Please let the professor know as soon as possible plans for submitting late work. For the peer review, a late draft prohibits full interaction and will reduce points available on that component. Final papers not submitted by the end of the course may result in an Incomplete (I) grade, which counts as an F until it is resolved. I will ask anyone receiving an Incomplete for a plan to submit the missing material.

Please alert me as soon as possible about complications with submitting material on time so that I can work with you in a manner that is fair to both you and other students in the course..

Attendance Policy

Participation in the discussion portions of the course are important for everyone's learning. However, with the uncertainty and stresses of 2020, I will not penalize students for non-attendance. Class sessions will be recorded in case someone's internet fails, even during the middle of class. If you are concerned about the Participation grade because of attendance issues or complications with the online seminar format, please consult with me. Participation in some of the collaborative discussion elements, beyond the reading response posts, will contribute to the participation grade, so participation is possible even if someone is unable to attend a class session.

Notification of Changes

The instructor will make every effort to follow the guidelines of this syllabus as listed; however, the instructor reserves the right to amend this document as the need arises. In such instances, the instructor will notify students in class and/or via email and will endeavor to provide reasonable time for students to adjust to any changes.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The University of Alabama is committed to an ethical, inclusive community defined by respect and civility.  The UAct website (www.ua.edu/uact)  provides extensive information on how to report or obtain assistance with a variety of issues, including issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence or other Title IX violations, illegal discrimination, harassment, hate or bias incidents, child abuse or neglect, hazing, threat assessment, retaliation, and ethical violations or fraud.

Statement on COVID-19

All University faculty, staff, and students are expected to maintain a commitment to the health and safety of our campus community. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, specific health and safety standards are in place to minimize exposure and community spread on campus. In the interest of your health and safety and that of all UA students, faculty and staff, the University reserves the right to change the mode of instruction or schedule of instruction at any time, based upon prevailing public health and other guidance. While the method of delivery may change, educational instruction and opportunities will continue. As such, the University will not provide a refund of tuition, in whole or in-part, based on any such changes. Detailed information on changes in format or schedule can be found at studentaccounts.ua.edu and financialaid.ua.edu.

All students must be familiar with and abide by the requirements outlined in the UA Return Plan | UA System Comprehensive Health and Safety Plan. Students must (1) wear a mask or face covering at all times while participating in face-to-face class; (2) adhere to social distancing standards; and (3) comply with all other health and safety restrictions. If a student refuses to comply with the requirements, the student will be asked to leave the class and reported for a conduct violation. Unless a student has an exemption from the requirement to wear a face covering, (more information can be found at ods.ua.edu/covid-19-disability/), the student will be reported to Student Life for further disciplinary action. More information on these requirements and UA Healthcheck system and screening can be found at healthinfo.ua.edu/returnplan. You are expected to visit the site and comply with all noted requirements related to in-person class attendance.