Asian Studies Program

The Asian Studies Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of Asia with courses and advising in anthropology, art history, economics, education, film, geography, history, language and literature, philosophy, political science, religion, and sociology. It promotes a global understanding of Asia that recognizes interactions between Asian societies and relationships between Asia and the rest of the world that cross and permeate national boundaries. While majors focus on a particular region of Asia (e.g., East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia or Middle East) 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. The Program offers a correlate sequence in Asian Studies and a correlate sequence in Asian American Studies.

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.

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 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 (International Programs/Study Abroad 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, including cross-listed courses, (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 request 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. Arabic is offered through Africana Studies. Chinese and Japanese are offered by the Department of Chinese and Japanese. Hindi, Korean, and Turkish may be taken through the Self-Instructional Language Program. The language studied should be directly relevant to the area of emphasis and 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 take courses and develop a theoretical or methodological sophistication that they 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). After declaring a correlate sequence, no NRO 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 Asian Studies Correlate” proposal form is available on line at the Asian Studies Program website, 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 the online schedule of classes 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.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence in Asian American Studies: Each 6 unit correlate sequence in Asian American Studies is designed in consultation with an advisor from the Asian Studies program and the Asian Studies Director. The correlate should include (1) courses on Asian American studies (2) at least one course on global or transnational Asian studies/Asian diasporas or on diasporas and migration in general (3) at least one course on Asia (AS program courses, cross-listed courses, or approved courses), (4) other relevant courses on race and/or ethnicity in American society. The correlate will ordinarily include at least one 100-level and at least one 300-level course.

A short "Declaration of Asian American Studies Correlate" proposal form is available on line at the Asian Studies Program website, and in the Asian Studies Program office in New England Building.  A list of courses approved from the Asian American Correlate sequence is available form the Program Director.

I. Introductory

101b. Approaching Asia (1)

Topic for 2011/12: Challenges in a Globalizing Era. Asia is among the most diverse regions in the world, culturally, politically, and economically. We need to appreciate both the uniqueness of each society as well as similarities shared by these Asian countries. This course helps develop this sense of appreciation by focusing on a number of major Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea (both North and South Koreas), Iran, and India. During the first round of globalization (from mid 19th century to early 20th century), these countries faced serious challenges from Western industrial powers. Ancient empires were brought to their knees and some were colonized. Similar imperial and colonial experiences, however, resulted in very different political and economic outcomes. Some have adopted communism, others fascism, monarchy, Islamic fundamentalism, and parliamentary democracy. In today’s new round of globalization, these countries are faced with similar challenges. This course takes advantage of some valuable documentaries and visual materials made available in recent years to trace these developments in Asia. Mr. Su.

Two 75-minute periods.

103a. Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, 712-1857 (1)

(same as History 103a.). Communalism is a strong identification with ones own religious community over society as a whole, accompanied by discrimination and violence against rival groups. In modern South Asia, it is sometimes viewed as an unprecedented break with a harmonious past or paradoxically, as the natural outcome of contact between Hindus and Muslims. To complicate these extremes, we explore the history of Hindu-Muslim relations from the first Arab conquest in 712, through the Rebellion of 1857. By introducing the historical repertoire commonly cited in modern communal disputes, we place controversial events, individuals, and trends in context to discover how they were understood in their own time. Ms. Hughes.

Two 75-minute periods.

111b. Social Change in South Korea Through Film (1)

(Same as Sociology 111b.).This course explores cultural consequences of the dramatic and tumultuous transformation of South Korea, in four decades, from a war-torn agrarian society to a major industrial and post-industrial society with dynamic urban centers. Despite its small territory (equivalent to the size of the State of Indiana) and relatively small population (48 million people), Korea became the eleventh largest economy in the world. Such rapid economic change has been accompanied by Korea's recent rise to a major center of the global popular cultural production in Asia. In particular, Korean movies have enjoyed growing popularity in the region. Employing the medium of film and scholarly articles, we examine multifaceted meanings of the Korean War, industrialization, urbanization, and the recent process of democratization for the lives of ordinary women and men. Ms Moon.

Two 75-minute periods.

122. Encounters in Modern East Asia (1)

(Same as History 122). This course introduces the modern history of China, Japan, and Korea through various "encounters," not only with each other but also with the world beyond. We compare how each nation answered modernity's call by examining topics such as imperialism, colonialism, cultural exchange, popular protest and historical remembrance. The course begins in the nineteenth-century with challenges against the dynastic regime of each country, traces how modern nationhood emerges through war, revolution, and imperial expansion and considers some global issues facing the region today. Mr. Shimoda.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011/12.

152. a and b. Religions of Asia (1)

(Same as Religion 152a. and b.) 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.

Two 75-minute periods.

185. Baseball in Japan (1/2)

Many outside observers insist that we can learn something about Japan through its baseball, and that Japanese practice a peculiar variant of the sport. For example, Robert Whiting’s The Chrysanthemum and the Bat (1977) purports to present “a true picture of Japan through its baseball world” and characterizes Japanese baseball as “Samurai Baseball” and “outdoor Kabuki.” At the same time, the idea of learning about a society through its sports has also had its detractors. Does Japanese baseball really tell us anything about Japan, or does it simply reconfirm what Americans imagine and want Japan to be? This course is a study not of Japanese baseball per se, but how Americans conceptualize and articulate it. We use baseball as a means to examine the problems of cultural representation, translation, and authenticity, and the challenges of studying a foreign culture. Mr. Shimoda.

Open to all students.

Two-75 minute periods.

Six week course offered in both the first and second six weeks of the semester.

Not offered in 2011/12.

II. Intermediate

213b. The Experience of Freedom (1/2)

(Same as Religion 213) This six week course looks at the four paths of freedom that have emerged from Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian thought. Concepts and practices we will consider include: karma (the yoga of action), jnana, (the yoga of knowledge), bhakti, (the yoga of love) and tantra, (the yoga of imminent awareness). The focus of this course is on practice in a contemporary context. Mr. Jarow

Prerequisite: Religion 152.

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

(Same as Chinese 214) This is a survey/introduction to the literature of China from the late Qing Dynasty through the present day. Texts are arranged according to trends and schools as well as to their chronological order. Authors include Wu Jianren, Lu Xun, Zhang Ailing, Ding Ling, Mo Yan and Gao Xingjian. All major genres are covered but the focus is on fiction. A few feature films are also included in association with some of the literary works and movements. No knowledge of the Chinese language, Chinese history, or culture is required for taking the course. All readings and class discussions are in English. Mr. Liu.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

216. Food, Culture, and Globalization (1)

(Same as Sociology 216) This course focuses on the political economy and the cultural politics of transnational production, distribution, and consumption of food in the world to understand the complex nature of cultural globalization and its effects on the national, ethnic, and class identities of women and men. Approaching food as material cultural commodities moving across national boundaries, this course examines the following questions. How has food in routine diet been invested with a broad range of meanings and thereby served to define and maintain collective identities of people and social relationships linked to the consumption of food? In what ways and to what extent does eating food satisfy not only basic appetite and epicurean desire, but also social needs for status and belonging? How have powerful corporate interests shaped the health and well being of a large number of people across national boundaries? What roles do symbols and social values play in the public and corporate discourse of health, nutrition, and cultural identities. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 2011/12.

217. 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.

Two 75-minute periods.

One 2-hour film screening.

Not offered in 2011/12.

218a. Global Asia (1)

(Same as Geography 218) Topic for 2011-12a:Margins and Centers of Empires. This course represents a collective effort by a group of Vassar professors to showcase multi-disciplinarity and diversity through studying Asia. Comprising a critical majority (two-thirds) of the global population, Asia is a region of complex cultures with deep and diverse histories. Asian societies are playing a key role in shaping our global futures. This course focuses on various forms of empires in the making of Asia, from the ancient Chinese empire, the clashes of empires between colonial Europe, Mughal India and Qing China, and the Japanese imperial project, to the post-war American empire in East and Southeast Asia. The course uses visual images through paintings and films as well as academic readings. Though not intended as a comprehensive introduction to Asia, the course explores how different Asian political, economic and cultural entities practiced, adapted and resisted power from imperial centers through the ages. Instructor: Yu Zhou (Geography) Participating faculty: Hiromi Dollase (Chinese and Japanese) Sophia Harvey (Film) Karen Hwang-Gold (Art History) Martha Kaplan (Anthropology) Seungsook Moon (Sociology) Himadeep Muppidi (Political Science)

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

(Same as Japanese and Media Studies 222) This course examines the characteristics of Japanese narratives in written and cinematic forms. Through selected novels and films that are based on the literary works or related to them thematically, the course explores the different ways in which Japanese fiction and film tell a story and how each work interacts with the time and culture that produced it. While appreciating the aesthetic pursuit of each author or film director, attention is also given to the interplay of tradition and modernity in the cinematic representation of the literary masterpieces and themes. No previous knowledge of Japanese language is required. Ms. Qiu.

Prerequisite: one course in language, literature, culture, film or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

231b. Hindu Traditions (1)

(Same as Religion 231b.) An introduction to the history, practices, myths, ideas and core values that inform Hindu traditions. Beginning with the pre-Vedic period, the course traces major religious practices and developments up to and including the contemporary period. Among topics examined are yoga and upanishadic mysticism, the spiritual paths (marga) of action (karma) knowledge (jnana) and love (bhakti), the worship of (and ideologies surrounding) gods and goddesses, and issues of gender, caste, and ethnicity in both pre- and postmodern times. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisite: Religion 152 or by permission of instructor.

233a. Buddhist Cultures (1)

(Same as Religion 233a.) An introduction to Buddhist traditions, beginning with the major themes that emerged in the first centuries after the historical Buddha and tracing the development of Buddhist thought and practice throughout Asia. The course examines how Buddhist sensibilities have expressed themselves through culturally diverse societies, and how specific Buddhist ideas about human attainment have been (and continue to be) expressed through meditation, the arts, political engagement, and social relations. Various schools of Buddhist thought and practice are examined including Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra, Tibetan, East Asian, and Zen. Mr. Walsh.

235. Religion in China (1)

(Same as Religion 235) An exploration of Chinese religiosity within historical context. We study the seen and unseen worlds of Buddhists, Daoists, and literati, and encounter ghosts, ancestors, ancient oracle bones, gods, demons, buddhas, dragons, imperial politics, the social, and more, all entwined in what became the cultures of China. Some of the questions we will try to answer include: how was the universe imagined in traditional and modern China? What did it mean to be human in China? What is the relationship between religion and culture? What do we mean by ‘Chinese religions’? How should Chinese culture be represented? Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

(Same as Asian Studies 236a) East Asia--the homeland of the oldest continuous civilization of the world--is now the most dynamic center in the world economy and an emerging power in global politics. Central to the global expansion of trade, production, and cultural exchange through the span of several millenniums, the East Asian region provides a critical lens for us to understand the origin, transformation and future development of the global system. This course examines the common and contrasting experiences of East Asian countries as each struggled to come to terms with the western dominated expansion of global capitalism and the modernization process. The course incorporates significant amounts of visual imagery such as traditional painting, contemporary film, and literature. Professors from art history, film, Chinese and Japanese literature and sociology will give guest lectures in the course, on special topics such as East Asian art, Japanese war literature, post war American military hegemony, and vampire films in Southeast Asia. Together, they illustrate the diverse and complex struggles of different parts of East Asia to construct their own modernities. Ms. Zhou.

Prerequisite: at least one 100-level course in geography or Asian Studies.

Two 75-minute periods.

Prerequisite: at least one 100-level course in geography or Asian Studies.

Two 75-minute periods.

237. Indian National Cinema (1)

(Same as Film 237) Ms. Harvey.

238. China: National Identity and Global Impact (1)

(Same as Geography 238 and International Studies 238) As recently as the 1980s, China was widely regarded as an exotic, mysterious and closed continent with marginal influence on world affairs. Today, it is a region deeply tied to every consumer and every global policy maker. China is at the center of an intellectual attempt to recast global history away from a long-held Eurocentric model. It also is a vital region in on-going global efforts to combat poverty, injustice, climate change, and achieve peace, economic stability and sustainable development. This course is dedicated to introducing China both as a vast and complex territory with a distinct cultural history, and as a constantly changing place with sustained but varied interactions with the rest of the world. The course critically examines the role of geographical knowledge in shaping our international perspectives. It introduces the history and geography of China, discusses the formation of Chinese national identity and examines its relationships with its external and internal "others." We also engage with the current debates on economic changes, environmental crises, and the international relations of China. Ms. Zhou.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011/12.

239. Contemporary Southeast Asian Cinemas (1)

(Same as Film 239) This survey course is designed to introduce students to the dynamic and diverse film texts emerging from and about Southeast Asia. It examines how these texts imagine and image Southeast Asia and/or particular nations within the region. More specifically, the course focuses on the themes of urban spaces and memory/trauma as they operate within texts about Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste. The course reading material is designed to provide (1) theoretical insights, (2) general socio-cultural and/or political overviews, and (3) more specific analyses of film texts and/or filmmakers. Ms. Harvey. 

Two 75-minute periods, plus outside screenings.

Not offered in 2011/12.

252b. Modern South Asian History (1)

(Same as History 252) Topic for 2011-12: Imagining India: Colonial Experience and the Pathway to India. This course introduces the major events and figures of modern South Asian history by exploring how Indian identity has been constituted and complicated in the colonial and post-colonial periods. Why have certain peoples, practices, and characteristics been included or excluded at different times? How have some tried to contest the terms of membership? Topics include nationalism, regionalism, gender, and Hindu-Muslim relations. Alongside select scholarship on colonialism, nationalism, and identity, we read original sources in translation including autobiographical and travel accounts, works of fiction, letters and petitions, government documents, and historic speeches. Ms. Hughes.

Two 75-minute periods.

254a. 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 segment, we examine major political events leading up to the reform era, including China's imperial political system, the collapse of dynasties, the civil war, the Communist Party's rise to power, the land reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the initiation of the reform. The thematic part 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 understand China's contemporary issues from a historical perspective. For students who are interested in other regions of the world, China offers a rich comparative case on some important topics such as modernization, democratization, social movement, economic development, reform and rule of law. Mr. Su.

Two 75-minute periods.

255. Subaltern Politics (1)

(Same as Political Science 255) What does it mean to understand issues of governance and politics from the perspective of non-elite, or subaltern, groups? How do subalterns respond to, participate in, and/or resist the historically powerful forces of modernity, nationalism, religious mobilization, and politico-economic development in postcolonial spaces? What are the theoretical frameworks most appropriate for analyzing politics from the perspective of the subaltern? This course engages such questions by drawing on the flourishing field of subaltern studies in South Asia. While its primary focus is on materials from South Asia, particularly India, it also seeks to relate the findings from this area to broadly comparable issues in Latin America and Africa. Mr. Muppidi.

Not offered in 2011/12.

256a. The Arts of China (1)

(Same as Art 256a. )Landscape Painting and Portraiture from the Song dynasty (960-1279) to the Present. Chinese painters of the Song dynasty onward wielded their brush with profound awareness of the past. Discussions focus on the impact of the painters' construction of the past on the overall history of Chinese painting, as well as other important art historical issues, such as: tradition vs. the individual; amateurism vs. professionalism; the critic vs. the historian; and imitation vs. forgery. Ms. Hwang.

Prerequisite: Art 105-106, or by permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

257. Reorienting America: Asians in American History and Society (1)

(Same as American Culture 257 and Sociology 257) Based on sociological theory of class, gender, race/ethnicity, this course examines complexities of historical, economic, political, and cultural positions of Asian Americans beyond the popular image of "model minorities." Topics include the global economy and Asian immigration, politics of ethnicity and pan-ethnicity, educational achievement and social mobility, affirmative action, and representation in mass media. Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 2011/12.

258. The Arts of Japan: The Three Shogunates (1)

(Same as Art 258)

Prerequisite: Art 105-106, or by permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011-12

259. The Arts of East Asia (1)

(Same as Art 259) An introduction to the arts of China, Korea, and Japan from the Neolithic period to the present. The course surveys a broad range of media, including ceramics, sculpture, calligraphy, painting, architecture, lacquer, and woodblock prints, with particular focus on the ways in which each of the three cultures has negotiated the shared "East Asian" cultural experience and its sense of a distinct self. The works to be examined invite discussions about appropriation, reception, and reinterpretation of images and concepts as they traversed the East Asian cultural sphere. Ms. Hwang-Gold.

Two 75-minute periods.

Prerequisite: Art 105-106, or by permission of instructor

Not offered in 2011/12.

262a. India, China, and the State of Post-coloniality (1)

(Same as Political Science 262a.) As India and China integrate themselves deeply into the global economy, they raise issues of crucial importance to international politics. As nation-states that were shaped by an historical struggle against colonialism, how do they see their re-insertion into an international system still dominated by the West? What understandings of the nation and economy, of power and purpose, of politics and sovereignty, shape their efforts to join the global order? How should we re-think the nature of the state in the context? Are there radical and significant differences between colonial states, capitalist states and postcolonial ones? What are some of the implications for international politics of these differences? Drawing on contemporary debates in the fields of international relations and postcolonial theory, this course explores some of the changes underway in India and China and the implications of these changes for our current understandings of the international system. Mr. Muppidi.

263. Critical International Relations (1)

(Same as Political Science 263) The study of world politics is marked by a rich debate between rationalist and critical approaches. While rationalist approaches typically encompass realist/neo-realist and liberal/neo-liberal theories, critical approaches include social constructivist, historical materialist, post-structural and post-colonial theories of world politics. This course is a focused examination of some of the more prominent critical theories of international relations. It aims to a) familiarize students with the core concepts and conceptual relations implicit in these theories and b) acquaint them with the ways in which these theories can be applied to generate fresh insights into the traditional concerns, such as war, anarchy, nationalism, sovereignty, global order, economic integration, and security dilemmas of world politics. Mr. Muppidi.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011/12.

274a. The Ideology of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1)

(Same as Political Science 274a.) This course examines the insights and limits of an ideological orientation to political life. Various understandings of ideology are discussed, selected contemporary ideologies are studied (e.g., liberalism, conservatism, Marxism, fascism, Nazism, corporatism, Islamism), and the limits of ideology are explored in relation to other forms of political expression and understanding. Selected ideologies and contexts for consideration are drawn from sites of contemporary global political significance. Mr. Davison

275b. Comparative Education (1)

(Same as Education 275b and International Studies 275b) This course provides an overview of comparative education theory, practice, and research methodology. We examine educational issues and systems in a variety of cultural contexts. Particular attention is paid to educational practices in Asia and Europe, as compared to the United States. The course focuses on educational concerns that transcend national boundaries. Among the topics explored are international development, democratization, social stratification, the cultural transmission of knowledge, and the place of education in the global economy. These issues are examined from multiple disciplinary vantage points. Mr. Bjork.

Prerequisite: Education 235 or permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

277. Post-Orientalist Hermeneutics (1)

(Same as Political Science 277) This course examines the possibility of a Post-Orientalist hermeneutical approach to the study of "the Middle East." Emphasis is placed on an examination of selected, classical and contemporary theoretical literature in hermeneutics, Orientalism, and Post-Orientalism, including readings from main contributors to these discussions like Hans-Georg Gadamer, Edward Said, and Hamid Dabashi. In addition, the difference that Post-Orientalist hermeneutics may make in understanding are explored in several selected contexts of consideration drawn from issues of contemporary political significance and the instructor's own research on politics in Turkey. Mr. Davison.

Not offered in 2011/12.

288b. Genre: Horror (1)

(Same as Film 288) This course examines the genre of horror in the context of contemporary Asian cinema. Using a variety of critical perspectives, we deconstruct the cinematic pantheon of vampires, monsters, ghosts, and vampire ghosts inhabiting such diverse nations as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and China. We ground these observations within a discussion of the nature of horror and the implications of horror as a trans/national film genre. Ms. Harvey.

Prerequisites: Film 175 or 210 and permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisites: two 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.

III. Advanced

Asian Studies Senior Seminar

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. Note: for 2011/12 the Asian Studies Senior Seminar will be Religion 350b: Dreams, Myths and Visions Mr. Jarow.

300a. Senior Thesis (1/2 or 1)

A 1-unit thesis written over two semesters.

Full year course 300-301.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2 or 1)

A 1-unit thesis written over two semesters.

Full year course 300-301.

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.

304. Approaching the Taj Mahal (1)

(Same as History 304) What lies behind the legendary beauty and romance of the Taj Mahal? To understand the monument from its 17th century construction through modern times, we look beyond the building itself to the wider historical context. The Taj as a mausoleum embodies memory and mourning, so we compare it with other commemorative expressions in India. Its gardens were designed to be paradise on earth, so we learn about ideas of environmental perfection. Many see the Taj as a monument to love, so we investigate changing conceptions of love and gender relations. Finally, the royal site communicates majesty and power, so we consider the foundations of political legitimacy. We read primary sources including selections from travelogues, memoirs, and literature, and look at representative examples of the countless drawings, photographs, and paintings that this “Wonder of the Modern World” has inspired. Throughout, we ask how British colonialism and entrenched understandings of Western rationality and Eastern inferiority have influenced what we see when we look at the Taj Mahal. Ms. Hughes.

Not offered in 2011/12.

305. People and Animal Histories in Modern India (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 305 and History 305) Topic for 2011-12: Confronting the Beast: India, Animals, and Colonialism. This course examines human interactions with animals in India from the colonial period through the present. How have various groups and important individuals defined the proper relationship between themselves and the animals around them? What challenges and advantages have animals and people met with as a result? As we explore how people have served their social, political, economic, national, and religious interests through animals, we learn how human values and beliefs about animals have in turn helped shape Indian environments. We read a variety of primary sources by Indians and Englishmen in South Asia, ranging from children’s literature through the writings of bird fanciers, big game hunters, and early animal rights advocates. Ms. Hughes.

One 2-hour meeting.

306. Women's Movements in Asia (1)

(Same as Sociology 306 and Women's Studies 306) 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.

One 2-hour session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

345. Violent Frontiers: Colonialism and Religion in the Nineteenth Century (1)

(Same as Religion 345) What is the relationship between religion and colonialism and how has this relationship shaped the contemporary world? During the nineteenth century the category of religion was imagined and applied in different ways around the globe. When colonialists undertook to ‘civilize' a people, specific understandings of religion were at the core of their undertakings. By the mid-nineteenth century, Europe's territorial energy was focused on Asia and Africa. Themes for discussion include various nineteenth-century interpretations of religion, the relationship between empire and culture, the notion of frontier religion, and the imagination and production of society. Mr. Walsh.

Not offered in 2011/12.

358. Seminar in Asian Art (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 358a.) Topic for 2011/12: Word and Image: Pictorial Narratives of East Asia. This seminar examines the ways in which some of the most widely told East Asian narratives have been translated into the pictorial field — on cave murals, handscrolls, screens, sliding doors and woodblock prints. Works to be discussed include parables from the Lotus Sutra, the most important Buddhist text, and the Tale of Genji, a famous eleventh-century Japanese novel. Ms. Hwang.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

One 2-hour period.

360a. Decolonizing Rituals (1)

(same as Anthropology 360a.) Topic for 2011/12: Decolonizing Rituals. Focusing on political rituals of the decolonization era, this course examines the power of symbols in shaping world history. While referring to classic works on ritual, the course draws its theoretical questions from the literature on ritual and agency (with special attention to the anthropology of new rituals) and from the literature on decolonization and the nation-state. Following a section on colonial rituals, the course considers six kinds of decolonizing rituals: anti-colonial rituals, independence and national rituals, end of empire rituals, rituals of global governance, rituals of NGOs and rituals of US power. The course thus also includes study of specific histories of colonialism and post-coloniality, particularly in the Americas, South Asia, Southern Africa and the Pacific. It comparatively considers transformations in the former British empire generally, and also considers rituals (from the Olympics to the UN) of global scope. Additionally, students may address areas and decolonizing ritual histories of special interest to them through research papers and group class presentations. Ms. Kaplan.

362a. Women in Japanese/Chinese Lit (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 362a. and Chinese and Japanese 362a.) An intercultural examination of the images of women presented in Japanese and Chinese narrative, drama, and poetry from their early emergence to the modern period. While giving critical attention to aesthetic issues and the gendered voices in representative works, the course also provides a comparative view of the dynamic changes in women's roles in Japan and China. All selections are in English translation. Ms. Qiu.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

One two-hour session.

363. Transcending the Limit: Literary Theory in the East-West Context (1)

(Same as Political Science 363) Colonial frameworks are deeply constitutive of mainstream international relations. Issues of global security, economy, and politics continue to be analyzed through perspectives that either silence or are impervious to the voices and agencies of global majorities. This seminar challenges students to enter into, reconstruct, and critically evaluate the differently imagined worlds of ordinary, subaltern peoples and political groups. We draw upon postcolonial theories to explore alternatives to the historically dominant explanations of international relations. Mr. Muppidi.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

364b. The West in Japanese Literature since the Nineteenth Century (1)

(Same as Japanese 364). This course examines the influence of the West on Japanese literature after the nineteenth century and follows the process of the construction of modern Japanese identity. Authors may include: Natsume Sôseki, Akuagawa Ryûnosuke, Tanizaki Junichirô, Kojima Nobuo, Murakami Ryû and Yamada Amy. Translated Japanese literary works are closely read, and various theoretical readings are assigned. This course emphasizes discussion and requires research presentations. This course is conducted in English. Ms. Dollase.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

369b. Masculinities: Global Perspectives (1)

(Same as Sociology 369b.) Masculinity is commonly understood as a set of appearance, behavior, and attributes derived from a male body (a biological view) or a societal expectation about what a man is supposed to look like, and how he is supposed to act, think, and feel (a sociological view). From this sociological perspective, the content of masculinity changes over time in a given society and different societies construct various norms and expectations about manhood. These biological and sociological views, however, assume that masculinities are exclusively about men, that is, persons with male bodies. These views also assume naturalness of the dichotomy of female and male associated with femininity and masculinity, respectively. We need to critically examine these assumptions by recognizing the presence of feminine men and masculine women and the emergence of additional or alternative gender categories.

This seminar approaches masculinities not only as an aspect of individual (gender) identity but also as symbols that convey ideas about dominance or positive values in a given society. It examines complex meanings, everyday practices, and rituals of masculinities in various societies both at the level of important social institutions as well as at the level of lived experiences of individual men (and some women). During the first half of the semester, we will focus on the making and remaking of “hegemonic masculinity” in the modern West, which has global ramifications, and compare it with marginalized masculinities. During the second half of the semester, we will focus on how major social institutions construct and maintain hegemonic masculinity and to what extent it is subverted or challenged; we will also examine how masculinities as symbols of dominance shape workings of the major institutions. Examples of such institutions include the military, the family, the school, business firms/organizations, and entertainment and leisure industry. Throughout this line of inquiry, we will look into the binary and hierarchical gender relations and explore an alternative to this dominant construction of gender. Ms. Moon.

Prerequisite: Prior coursework in Sociology or permission of the instructor.

One 2 hour meeting.

372a. and b. Topics in Human Geography (1)

This seminar focuses on advanced debates in the socio- spatial organization of the modern world. The specific topic of inquiry varies from year to year. Students may repeat the course for credit if the topic changes. Previous seminar themes include the urban-industrial transition, the urban frontier, urban poverty, cities of the Americas, segregation in the city, global migration, and reading globalization.

374b. The Origins of the Global Economy (1)

(Same as Economics 374b.) This course examines the long-run evolution of the global economy. For centuries the world has experienced a dramatic rise in international trade, migration, foreign capital flows and technology, culminating in what is today called "the global economy." How did it happen? Why did it happen to Europe first? In this course, we examine the process of economic development in pre-modern Europe and Asia, the economic determinants of state formation and market integration, the causes and consequences of West European overseas expansion, and the emergence and nature of today's global economy. Ms. Jones.

Prerequisite: Economics 200 and 209.

385. 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 by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2011/12.

387. Remembering War in East Asia (1)

(Same as History 387) More than a half-century after World War II, pitched battles continue to rage throughout Asia—this time on the field of historical memory. Even as the war itself recedes into the distant past for countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, questions about how to remember their shared experiences grow only more complex and politicized. Recent conflicts over war memory have brought down ministers of state, sparked mass protests, and engendered much diplomatic wrangling. How has this devastating tragedy been remembered, forgotten, and contested by all sides involved? This seminar takes a multi-disciplinary approach—historiographical, political, literary, and visual—to examine topics including the Nanjing Massacre, "comfort women," atomic bombs, rehabilitative postwar literature, and cinematic representations of war. Mr. Shimoda.

No prerequisites.

One two-hour period.

Not offered in 2011/12.

388. The Spiritual Gifts of Modern India (1)

(Same as Religion 388) Since Swami Vivekananda brought the message of "raja yoga" to the Parliament of World Religions on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1893, a number of spiritual teachers from India have achieved notoriety on the world stage and have had a major impact in the formulation of a world and secular "spirituality" in our time. Through phenomenological and historical studies, as well as through close reading and study of primary texts, this course considers the works of these major figures, including Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mayi Ma, and Bhagavan Sri Osho Rajneesh. Mr. Jarow.

Prerequisites: Religion 152 and /or Religion 231 (231 gets priority).

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

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

Approved Courses

In addition to the Program courses listed above, there are approved courses offered 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.

For additional approved courses for the Asian American Studies Correlate sequence, please contact the Program Office.

Approved Courses

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

Anthropology 285 Special Studies (when topic is Asian) (1)

Anthropology 260 Local Politics and Global Commodities (1)

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

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

Chinese 160 Introduction to Classical Chinese (1)

Chinese 215 Masterpieces of Traditional Chinese Literature (1)

Chinese 216 Classics, Canon, and Commentary in China (1)

Chinese 217 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 (1)

Chinese and Japanese 350 Seminar in Chinese Philosophy: Comparative Methodology (1)

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

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

Economics 273 - Development Economics (1)

English 229 Asian/American Literature, 1946-present (1)

English 370 Transnational Literature (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member) (1)

Film 210 and 211 World Cinema (when taught by an Asian Studies faculty member) (1)

Film 280 Contemporary Southeast Asia Cinemas (1)

Geography 276 Spaces of Global Capitalism (1)

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

History 223 Modern Chinese Revolutions (1)

History 224 Modern Japan, 1868 - Present (1)

History 255 The British Empire (1)

History 279 The Vietnam War (1)

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

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

Japanese 223 The Gothic and Supernatural in Japanese Literature (1)

Japanese 224 Japanese Popular Culture and Literature (1)

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

Music 212 Advanced Topics in World Musics (1)

Philosophy 110 Early Chinese Philosophy (1)

Philosophy 210 Neo-Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism (1)

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

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

Political Science 268 The Politics of Globalization (1)

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

Political Science 363 Decolonizing International Relations (1)

Political Science 366 Worlding International Relations (1)

Religion 250 (when topic is Asian) (1)

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

Religion 350 Dreams, Myths and Visions (1)

Religion 355 The Politics of Sacred Space (1)