Asian Studies Program

Director: Yu Zhou (Geography: East Asia); Steering Committee: Christopher Bjork (Education: Japan, Indonesia), Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase (Language and Literature: Japan), Wenwei Du (Language and Literature: China), Tomo Hattori (English: Asian-American Studies), E. H. Rick Jarow (Religion: South Asia), Martha Kaplan (Anthropology: South Asia and the Pacific); Haoming Liu (Language and Literature: China), Seungsook Moon (Sociology: East Asia), Himadeep Muppidi (Political Science: South Asia), Peipei Qiu (Language and Literature: Japan and China), Fubing Su (Political Science: East Asia), Bryan Van Norden (Philosophy and Literature: China), Michael Walsh (Religion: China), Andrew Watsky (Art History: East Asia) Participating faculty: Yuko Matsubara (Language and Literature: Japan), Anne Parries (Language and Literature: China).

The Asian Studies Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of Asia with courses and advising in anthropology, art, economics, geography, history, language, literature and culture, philosophy, politics, religion, and sociology of Asia. While majors focus on a particular region of Asia (e.g., East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia) including language study, intermediate and advanced coursework, and a senior thesis in this area, they are also expected to be familiar with some other parts of Asia through the introductory courses and some coursework outside their area of specialty. A correlate sequence in Asian Studies is also offered.

While majors take courses on Asia offered in a wide range of disciplines, they are also expected to choose one or two disciplines in which they develop a theoretical or methodological sophistication that they apply to their study of Asia, particularly in their thesis and senior seminar work. Students interested in developing a concentration in Asian American Studies should refer to the catalogue section of the American Culture Program.

A student’s program of study for the major or correlate is designed in close consultation with the director and an advisor. Students should obtain an application form, which includes a statement of interest, from the program office or the Asian Studies website prior to meeting with the program director. This should be done by the end of the first semester of the sophomore year if the student plans to apply for study abroad. The director and members of the program faculty review the application and make suggestions for modifications. Any changes to a plan of study should be discussed with the advisor in advance; significant changes are reviewed by the director.

Study Abroad: Study abroad in some region of Asia greatly enhances a student’s learning experience and understanding of Asia and is highly recommended for program majors. Advice and literature on different programs are available through the Office of the Dean of Studies (Study Away office), Asian Studies, and the Department of Chinese and Japanese.

Asian Studies Courses: Courses approved for the Asian Studies major and correlate include courses offered by the Asian Studies Program (see Section I below) and Approved Courses (courses on Asia offered in other departments, see Section II below). A list of Asian Studies courses approved for majors is prepared and posted on the Asian Studies website before preregistration each semester. Courses not on the list which may be appropriate to an individual student’s plan of study are considered for approval by the director and steering committee upon special petition by the student major, after consultation with the advisor.

Requirements for the Concentration in Asian Studies: 12 units of which at least 7 are normally taken at Vassar. After declaration of the major, all courses taken towards the major must be graded. Students may request, however, that up to 1 unit of independent study or field work be counted towards the major.

1) Introductory-Level Study: Two introductory level courses either offered by Asian Studies, cross listed, or from the approved course list (excluding language courses).

2) Language: Competency in one Asian language through the intermediate college level must be achieved and demonstrated by completion of relevant courses or special examination. Normally, 100-level language work does not count toward the major. A maximum of four units of Asian language study may be counted toward the 12 units for the major. Chinese and Japanese are offered by the Department of Chinese and Japanese. Hindi and Korean may be taken through the Self-Instructional Language Program. The language studied should be directly relevant to the area of emphasis and be approved by the Director.

3) Intermediate-Level Study: A minimum of 3 units of intermediate course work (200-level) of direct relevance to Asia in at least two disciplines, selected from the lists of Program Courses and Approved Courses below. Recommendation: At least two of these courses should be related to the student’s regional focus within Asia and at least one should be outside the area of regional specialty.

4) Advanced-Level Work: A minimum of 3 units at the 300-level including the designated Asian Studies “Senior Seminar”, 1 unit of thesis work (Asian Studies 300-301 or Asian Studies 302), and at least one additional 300-level seminar from the lists of Program Courses and Approved Courses below. The senior seminar and the thesis constitute the Senior Year Requirement.

5) Discipline-Specific Courses: Majors are expected to choose one or two disciplines in which they will take courses and develop a theoretical or methodological sophistication that they will bring to bear on their study of Asia, particularly in their thesis and senior seminar work. Introductory work in each discipline should be taken early to fulfill prerequisites for upper level work in the chosen discipline.

6) Area-Specific Courses: Majors should try to include three or four courses (not including language study) that focus on a student’s geographical area of specialization within Asia, and two courses that include a geographic area other than the region of focus.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence in Asian Studies: 6 units of coursework on Asia (program courses, cross-listed courses, or approved courses) including one 100-level course and at least one 300-level seminar. Courses chosen for the correlate should reflect a topical, or area, or methodological focus. Asian language study is recommended but not required. Up to two units can be taken outside the College, through Study Away or other programs. Up to two units of Asian language study may be counted toward the correlate. Up to two 100-level courses may be counted (however, only one 100-level unit can be language). One course can be double-counted for a major and for the correlate sequence. After declaring a correlate sequence, no ungraded courses can be taken to fulfill the requirements.

A short “Declaration of Correlate” proposal form is available on line at the Asian Studies Program home page, and in the Asian Studies Program Office. On this form students prepare a short, one paragraph proposal and a list of the six planned courses, after consulting the course list in the catalog and discussing the sequence with an adviser. Declaration proposals should describe the focus of the coursework and how it complements the student’s major. The proposal must be approved by the program director.

I. Program Courses*

101a. Approaching Asia (1)

An introductory course in Asian Studies that is multi-disciplinary in approach and/or multicultural in area. May be repeated for credit when a new topic is offered.

Topic for 2005/06: Approaching Asia: Introduction to East Asian Humanities. This course introduces some of the major texts, thinkers and themes from the cultures of China and Japan, using various humanistic methodologies. Topics include Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Texts include The Scholars, The Story of the Stone, The Tale of Genji and selected haiku by Basho. Methodologies employed include philosophical and structuralist. Mr. Van Norden.

Open to all students.

110b. Asian Studies Study Trip: China and the World (1)

(Same as Geography 110) Normally the study trip takes place during the spring semester break, rotating to different destinations in Asia. Enrollment for the trip is determined early in the Fall semester.

Destination 2005/2006: China. This course studies China’s evolving global perceptions and relationships from ancient to contemporary times from a geographical perspective. Tracing China’s long history of trade and cultural exchange with other parts of the world, we confront the myth of the insular, stable, and traditional China. We also examine the impact of China’s encounter with Western and Japanese powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and its contemporary reemergence as a new global center of economic and political power. As part of the course, we visit three key Chinese cities and adjacent regions: Xi’an, the ancient Tang dynasty multicultural capital on the Silk Road; Beijing, Chinese political center since the Ming dynasty; and Shanghai, China’s colonial port city and the new cosmopolitan metropolis. From the ancient Silk Road to the modern seaport, from the Forbidden City to the colonial waterfront, from the Great Wall to foreign enterprise zones, these sites help us explore the lineage, manifestations, and contradictions of globalization in China through the ages.

A 6-week Introduction to Chinese Language for Visitors’ course (Asian Studies 184) is offered in the early part of ‘b’ semester. It is highly recommended, but not required. Ms. Zhou.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

152a and b. Religions of Asia (1)

(Same as Religion 152) This course is an introduction to the religions of Asia (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zen, Shinto, etc.) through a study of practices, sites, sensibilities, and doctrines. The focus is comparative as the course explores numerous themes, including creation (cosmology), myth, ritual, action, fate and destiny, human freedom, and ultimate values. Mr. Jarow, Mr. Walsh.

Open to all students.

[160b. Introduction to Classical Chinese] (1)

(Same as Chinese 160) Classical Chinese is the literary language in which almost all of Chinese literature was written prior to the twentieth century. This course introduces students to the rudiments of reading Classical Chinese, with an emphasis on early Chinese philosophical texts. No previous background in Chinese language, history, or culture is required. Among the texts to be studied are passages from the sayings of Confucius and Taoist works. Mr. Van Norden.

Open to all students.

Not offered in 2005/2006.

184b . Introduction to Chinese for Visitors (1⁄2)

(Same as Chinese 184) This is a special half semester course designed for faculty and students who are participating in the spring semester Asian Studies 110b course: “China and the World” and are taking the spring break study trip to China. The goal of this course is to give the participants an opportunity to establish some basic knowledge and understanding of the Chinese language and its culture. By achieving in advance some familiarity with the language of the country they are traveling to, students’ traveling experience is enriched with knowledge of how a tone language works, how to make direct contact with people, and how to exchange a few basic greetings. This course is open to students who have not previously studied Chinese. We begin with a brief introduction to the pinyin style of Chinese Romanization and Mandarin phonetics. The basic structure of Chinese grammar and common conversational phrases are covered. A few frequently used Chinese characters are also introduced. Emphasis is placed on speaking, listening, and understanding the fundamentals of the Chinese language. The course requires students to attend two 50-minute sessions each week, for a total of six weeks before the China trip. Ms. Parries.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

[215b. Masterpieces of Traditional Chinese Literature] (1)

(Same as Chinese 215) Selected works of Classical Chinese literature from a variety of periods and genres, such as the Book of Odes (early lyric poetry), the Tang Dynasty poems of Li Bo and Du Fu, historical narratives, including selections from the Book of Documents and the Zuo Zhuan, and the classic Chinese novels, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Scholars, and Dream of the Red Chamber. We discuss and interpret these texts from a variety of perspectives, including historical, structuralist, philosophical, feminist and “hermeneutics of suspicion.” Assignments include brief weekly essays. Instructor to be announced.

Prerequisite: one course in any humanities discipline, or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[216. Classics, Canon and Commentary in China] (1)

(Same as Chinese 216) Studying classic or canonical texts through commentarial traditions is a near universal form of education in pre-modern cultures. This course examines the nature, development and evolution of canons and commentaries, focusing on the immensely influential Five Classics and the Four Books of the Chinese tradition. We also read and discuss seminal Western discussions of canonicity and hermeneutics, including works by Emerson, Jaroslav Pelikan and Alasdair MacIntyre. Mr. Van Norden.

Prerequisite: one course in any humanities discipline, or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[231a. Hindu Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 231) Mr. Jarow.

Not offered in 2005/06.

232b. Imagining the Dao: Daoism and Chinese Culture (1)

(Same as Religion 232) Mr. Walsh.

233a. Buddhist Traditions (1)

(Same as Religion 233) Mr. Jarow.

235a. Religions of China (1)

(Same as Religion 235) Mr. Walsh.

[236. East Asia: People, Culture and Economic Development] (1)

(Same as Geography 236).

Not offered in 2005/06.

[238. China: Political-Economic Transformation] (1)

(Same as Geography 238).

Not offered in 2005/06.

254b. Chinese Politics and Economy (1)

(Same as Political Science 254) This course offers a historical and thematic survey of Chinese politics, with an emphasis on the patterns and dynamics of political development and reforms since the Communist takeover in 1949. In the historical session, we examine major political events up to the reform era, including China’s imperial political system, the collapse of dynasties, civil war, Communist Party’s rise to power, land reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and launch of reform. Thematic session deals with some general issues of governance, economic reform, democratization, globalization and China’s relations with Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States. This course is designed to help students gain some perspectives to comprehend political issues in contemporary China. Mr. Su.

[272b. Comparative Education] (1)

(Same as Education 272) Mr. Bjork.

Not offered in 2005/06.

280 Topic in Asian Studies (1)

Selected topics in Asian Studies. May be repeated for credit when a new topic is offered.

Topic for 2005/06: To be announced. Instructor to be announced.

Open to non-majors.

290a or b. Field Work (1⁄2 or 1)

Prerequisites: 2 units of Asian Studies Program or approved coursework and permission of the program director.

298a or b. Independent Study (1⁄2 or 1)

Prerequisites: 2 units of Asian Studies Program or approved coursework and permission of the program director.

300-301. Senior Thesis (1⁄2)

A 1-unit thesis written over two semesters.

302a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

A 1-unit thesis written in the fall or spring semester. Students may elect this option only in exceptional circumstances and by special permission of the program director.

306a. Senior Seminar: Women’s Movements in Asia (1)

The Senior Seminar addresses topics and questions that engage several areas of Asia and Asian Studies as a discipline. Topic may change yearly. The senior seminar is a required course for Asian Studies senior majors; ordinarily it may be taken by other students as well.

(Same as Sociology 306 and Women’s Studies 306). Topic for 2005/06: Women’s Movements in Asia. This interdisciplinary course examines the reemergence of women’s movements in contemporary Asia by focusing on their cultural and historical contexts that go beyond the theory of “resource mobilization.” Drawing upon case studies from Korea, Japan, India and China, it traces the rise of feminist consciousness and women’s movements at the turn of the twentieth century, and then analyzes the relationships between contemporary women’s movements and the following topics: nationalism, political democratization, capitalist industrialization, ambivalence toward modernization and postmodern conditions. Ms. Moon.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

320b. The Imagined and Material in Chinese Textuality (1)

(Same as Religion 320) Mr. Walsh.

350a. Advanced Topics in Asian Studies (1)

An examination of selected topics relevant to the study of Asia in an interdisciplinary framework. Topics vary from year to year.

May be repeated for credit when a new topic is offered.

Open to nonmajors.

Topic for 2005/06: Comparative Methodology. (Same as Philosophy 350). An exploration of some of the methodological issues raised by the prospect of one culture understanding and making judgments about another. The course considers essays on ethical and cognitive relativism, incommensurability, and the hermeneutics of suspicion and faith. Although the focus is primarily methodological, recent Western approaches to understanding Chinese philosophy provide test cases for some of the theories examined. This course is open to all qualified students. Instructor to be announced.

Prerequisites: A 200-level course in Asian Studies or a 200-level course in Philosophy.

362a. Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Chinese and Japanese 362 and Women’s Studies 362)

364b. East Asian Security (1)

(Same as Political Science 364) Mr. Su.

385a. Asian Healing Traditions (1)

(Same as Religion 385). This seminar offers a comprehensive view of the traditional medical systems and healing modalities of India and China and examines the cultural values they participate in and propound. It also includes a “laboratory” in which hands-on disciplines (such as yoga and qi-gong) are practiced and understood within their traditional contexts. From a study of classical Ayur Vedic texts, Daoist alchemical manuals, shamanic processes and their diverse structural systems, the seminar explores the relationship between healing systems, religious teachings, and social realities. It looks at ways in which the value and practices of traditional medical and healing systems continue in Asia and the West. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisites: Hindu Traditions (Religion 231) or permission.

399a. or b. Senior Independent Study (1⁄2 or 1)

II. Approved Courses

In addition to the Program courses listed above, there are approved courses given in other departments and programs. These can count towards an Asian Studies major or correlate. Look under the respective departments for course descriptions and semester or year offered. An updated list of approved courses is available in the Asian Studies Program Office and on-line on the Asian Studies Program web site before preregistration. Students are also urged to consult the additional course offerings of Asian Studies Program faculty members listed under their home departments; while these courses may not focus specifically on Asia, they often include case studies, examples, or materials related to regions of Asia.

Anthropology 240Cultural Localities (when topic is Asian)

Anthropology 360Problems in Cultural Analysis (when topic is Asian)

Anthropology 363Nations, Globalization, and Post-Coloniality (when topic is Asian)

Art 257The Arts of China

Art 258The Arts of Japan

Art 259Japanese Art of the Momoyama Period (1568-1615)

Art 260Japanese Art of the Edo Period (1615-1868)

Art 358Seminar in Asian Art

Chinese 160Introduction to Classical Chinese

Chinese 212Chinese Film and Contemporary Fiction

Chinese 214The Tumultuous Century: Twentieth Century Chinese Literature

Chinese 360Classical Chinese

Chinese and Japanese 120Introduction to Chinese and Japanese Literature: Traditions Genres and Methodology

Chinese and Japanese 250Special Topics in Chinese and Japanese Literatures

1) Experiencing the Other: Representation of Each Other in Chinese and Western Literature Since the Eighteenth Century

2) Masterpieces of Classical Japanese Literature

3) Chinese Popular Culture

4) Introduction to Chinese Literature: Poetry and Fiction

Chinese and Japanese 350Comparative Methodology

Chinese and Japanese 361Chinese and Japanese Drama and Theatre

Chinese and Japanese 362Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature

Chinese and Japanese 363Seminar: Transcending the Limit: Literary Theory in the East-West Context

Economics 268Economic Development in Less Developed Countries

English 228Asian/American Literature

Geography 276Economic Geography: Spaces of Global Capitalism

Geography 340Advanced Regional Studies (when topic is Asian)

History 112Modern Asia: Tradition and Transformation

History 222Modern China

History 224Modern Japan

History 279The Vietnam War

Japanese 222Narratives of Japan: Fact/Fiction

Japanese 223Gothic/Supernatural/Japanese Literature

Japanese 364The West in Japanese Literature Since the Nineteenth Century

Music 212World Musics

Philosophy 110Early Chinese Philosophy

Philosophy 210Neo-Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism

Political Science 150Introduction to Comparative Politics (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member)

Political Science 160International Policies (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member)

Political Science 280Subaltern Politics

Political Science 358Comparative Political Economy (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member)

Political Science 363Decolonizing International Relations

Religion 250Across Religious Boundaries: Understanding Differences (when topic is Asian)

Religion 320Studies in Sacred Texts (when topic is Asian)

Religion 350Comparative Studies in Religion (when topic is Asian)

Sociology 284 Food, Culture and Globalization

Sociology 347Reenvisioning Women in the Third World