South and Southeast Asian Studies 84, Section 1

Contemporary Southeast Asian Society and Culture through Film (2 units, LG)

Dr. Maria Josephine Barrios-Leblanc and Lecturer Hanh Tran
Friday 2:00-4:00, 233 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 21457

In this seminar, we will examine contemporary Southeast Asian society and culture through the lens of contemporary Southeast Asian films from two countries -- Vietnam and the Philippines. In discussions about the films in class we will seek to understand how these films mirror modern and traditional aspects of the societies in which they were produced. We will also consider the films as examples of current world cinema and vehicles of storytelling. In their four page papers for each section of the course, students will address the above broad issues (referencing class discussions when appropriate) in relation to their own experiences and opinions, focusing either on one film or comparing two or three from the same country.

Instructor Bio

Maria Barrios-Leblanc has a Ph.D. in Filipino (Philippine Literature) from the University of the Philippines (UP). Before coming to UC Berkeley, she served as Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the UP College of Arts and Letters. She has written/edited more than a dozen books including language textbooks, poetry collections and research on Philippine drama and literature.

Faculty web site:

Hanh Tran holds an M.A. degree in South and Southeast Asian Studies with a concentration in Political Studies and Literature. He has been a lecturer of Vietnamese language and literature at UC Berkeley since 2006. He has also guest-lectured and co-taught several seminars on Southeast Asian Literature and Movies. His current research interest is in Southeast Asian Material Culture and History of Art.


Students should plan to participate actively and consistently in class discussions, remembering that class participation makes up 25% of the grade in the course. Previous knowledge of or personal experience with Southeast Asian societies and cultures, and if possible Southeast Asian film, is desired but not required. Students with no previous knowledge of Southeast Asia who have experience watching and discussing a wide range of films from other countries with a critical eye are also welcome.

This seminar is part of the following programs

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