Asian Studies Program

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

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 list 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 three 100-level courses may be counted (however, at least one has to be a content course). One course can be double-counted for a major and for the correlate sequence. After declaring a correlate sequence, no NRQ courses can be taken to fulfill the requirements. Students may request that up to 1 unit of independent study or fieldwork be counted towards the correlate.

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 2006/07: Approaching Asia: Culture, Colonialism, and Modernity. This course seeks to convey the diversity of “lived experience” in the Asian region through a close and careful reading of significant literature/novels from some of the major areas, e.g. China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, India/Pakistan, West Asia, and also to conceptualize and theorize the singularity and commonality of some of these lived experiences by addressing the broader “theoretical “/social science questions that speak to them. Mr. Muppidi.

Two 75-minute periods.

Open to all students.

101b. Approaching Asia: Literary Paradigms of Traditional Asia (1)

An introductory survey of the classical literary and cultural traditions of East and South Asia. The course focuses on the foundational ideals of Asian cultures as well as their “prevailing paradigms” found in literature, fine arts, and philosophical texts whose influence continues on to this day. Topics include (from India) Vedic Hymns, Epics, the Presence of the Buddha; (from Japan) the Way of the Warrior, the Lover from the Tales of Genji, and the Aesthetics of Emptiness; (from China) the Philosophy of Confucious, the Taoist Way of Zhuangzi, and the Dream of the Red Chamber. Mr. Jarow.

Two 75-minute periods.

Open to all students.

[110b. Asian Studies Study Trip] (1)

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.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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.

214a. Tumultuous Century: Twentieth Century Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Chinese 214) Mr. Liu.

[231a. Hindu Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 231) Mr. Jarow.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

(Same as Religion 232) Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[233a. Buddhist Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 233) Mr. Jarow.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[235a. Religions of China] (1)

(Same as Religion 235) Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2006/07.

236b. The Making of Modern East Asia (1)

(Same as Geography 236). Ms. Zhou.

[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.

Not offered in 2006/07.

255b. History of India (1)

This course focuses on the history and historiography of British India from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Readings draw on current historical scholarship, primary sources and fiction in order to understand the complex and sometimes unanticipated outcomes of the colonial encounter in the Indian subcontinent. The course provides a chronological as well as thematic account of colonial history, focusing on the formation of the modern state, as well as the institutions of civil society. This class also critically examines colonial and nationalist discourses on race, gender, caste and religious community during this period. Ms. Paidipaty.

Two 75 -minute periods.

Open to non-majors.

[267. East Asian Security] (1)

(Same as Political Science 267) Mr. Su.

Not offered in 2006/07.

272b. Comparative Education (1)

(Same as Education 272) Mr. Bjork.

280b. Japan in the Age of the Samurai (1)

This course explores pre-modem Japan from the late-1100s to the mid-1800s, when it was ruled by a warrior class, or the samurai. Social and cultural developments at the popular as well as elite levels are emphasized, and assigned readings include many primary materials in translation. The most distinctive feature of the course is a weekly screening of classic Japanese feature films dealing with the course themes. This course offers not only an historical introduction to pre-modern Japanese society and culture, but also a graphic impression of how the past is visualized in contemporary Japan. Mr. Shimoda.

One 75-minute period.

One 2-hour film screening.

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. Women’s Movements in Asia (1)

(Same as Sociology 306 and Women’s Studies 306). Topic for 2006/07: 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.

Not offered in 2006/07.

360. Senior Seminar: Asian Diasporas (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 Anthropology and Geography 360). Asian Diasporas. Focusing on Asian diasporas, this course engages the current surge of interest in diaspora studies from both anthropological and geographical perspectives. Attention is given to issues of colonial and post colonial struggles, formation and transformation of ethnic identities, roles of middlemen minorities, and nationalism and transnationalism of Asian diasporas. The principal cases are drawn from East Asian and South Asian communities in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the U.S. Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Zhou.

Prerequisite: Previous 200-level coursework in Anthropology, Asian Studies, or Geography.

One two-hour period.

[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.

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

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

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 240 Cultural Localities (when topic is Asian) (1)

Anthropology 243 The Pacific (1)

Anthropology 360 Problems in Cultural Analysis (when topic is Asian) (1)

Anthropology 363 Nations, Globalization, and Post-Coloniality (when topic is Asian) (1)

Art 257 The Arts of China (1)

Art 258 The Arts of Japan (1)

Art 259 Warriors, Deities and Tea Masters: Japanese Art of the Momoyama Period (1568-1615) (1)

Art 260 Japanese Art of the Edo Period (1615-1868) (1)

Art 358 Seminar in Asian Art (1)

Chinese 160 Introduction to Classical Chinese (1)

Chinese 212 Chinese Film and Contemporary Fiction (1)

Chinese 360 Classical Chinese (1)

Chinese and Japanese 120 Introduction to Chinese and Japanese Literature: Traditions Genres and Methodology (1)

Chinese and Japanese 250 Special Topics in Chinese and Japanese Literatures (1)

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 350 Comparative Methodology (1)

Chinese and Japanese 361 Chinese and Japanese Drama and Theatre (1)

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

Chinese and Japanese 363 Seminar: Transcending the Limit: Literary Theory in the East-West Context (1)

Economics 268 Economic Development in Less Developed Countries (1)

English 228 Asian/American Literature (1)

Geography 276 Spaces of Global Capitalism (1)

Geography 340 Advanced Regional Studies (when topic is Asian) (1)

History 222 Revolutionary Traditions in Modern China (1)

History 224 Modern Japan (1)

History 255 The British Empire (1)

History 279 The Vietnam War (1)

History 381 Love and Death ini Tokugawa Japan 1603-1868 (1)

Japanese 222 Narratives of Japan: Fiction and Film (1)

Japanese 223 Gothic/Supernatural/Japanese Literature (1)

Japanese 364 The West in Japanese Literature Since the Nineteenth Century (1)

Music 212 World Musics (1)

Philosophy 110 Early Chinese Philosophy (1)

Philosophy 210 Neo-Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism (1)

Political Science 150 Introduction to Comparative Politics (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member) (1)

Political Science 160 International Policies (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member) (1)

Political Science 280 Subaltern Politics (1)

Political Science 358 Comparative Political Economy (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member) (1)

Political Science 363 Decolonizing International Relations (1)

Religion 250 Across Religious Boundaries: Understanding Differences (when topic is Asian) (1)

Religion 320 Studies in Sacred Texts (when topic is Asian) (1)

Religion 350 Comparative Studies in Religion (when topic is Asian) (1)

Religion 355 The Politics of Sacred Centers (1)

Sociology 284 Food, Culture and Globalization (1)