The Asian Studies Program prepares students to conduct multidisciplinary, multiregional, and comparative studies of historical and contemporary Asia and the Asian diaspora.
Our foundational courses ensure that all students gain an understanding of Asia’s diversity by learning about more than one country and region and by exploring Asia’s role in an historical global context.
Elective courses, including upper-level seminars involving independent research, enable students to gain competency in at least one Asian language and to acquire in-depth knowledge of Asia in one or more of the following areas: citizenship, governance, and politics in the age of globalization; communication through arts, literature, music and film; critical analyses of gender and sexuality; earliest complex societies; ecology and environment; economic development; health and medicine in a global context; history; philosophy; and religious practice.
Our curricular offerings problematize the concept of “Asia” as a constructed and contested category as we encourage students to be reflexive about their personal assumptions and positions about the continent.
Students are strongly encouraged to complement their on-campus coursework with study abroad and field work experiences in Asia. A typical semester in China, India, Japan, or Thailand involves direct interaction with Asian faculty, peer groups, and homestay families as well as experiential learning through independent field research and internships with local organizations. Students also incorporate short-term field work in Asia as part of their summer research or senior thesis projects and join faculty-led research trips.
Students graduating from our program are well-prepared to further pursue their interest in Asia at the graduate level or to embark directly on careers in communication, global education, international affairs and business, policymaking and government, museums and archives, as well as other non-profit work and public service.
The Asian Studies Program expects that students completing a minor or combined major are able to:
- Approach Asia from a multidisciplinary perspective and engage in comparisons across cultural and national borders and time periods.
- Develop a broad knowledge base of Asia’s diverse cultural, political, socio-economic, and ecological systems, theories, philosophies and practices.
- Cultivate a critical understanding of Asia’s historical and contemporary roles in a global context.
- Engage in introductory, intermediate, or advanced level acquisition of at least one Asian language in its cultural context, and use language skills to develop mutual understanding and empathy across cultural and linguistic borders.
- Become self-reflexive in studying Asia so as to recognize, challenge and test personal assumptions as students of this region.
- Conduct independent research on Asia and critically evaluate a broad range of sources, including sophisticated scholarly texts produced both within and outside of Asia.