Department Overview

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program focused on the study of historical and contemporary Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and India among others. The curriculum introduces students to the critical and methodological approaches that have informed the study of Asia and encourages them to examine the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and religious formations of different societies in the region. Students may focus on a particular region in its historical and contemporary manifestations or examine a conceptual theme through the region. Themes could include literary, musical, and visual arts; environmental studies; transnational relations; economic development; state-building; cultural identities; gender roles and class distinctions; social movements and popular protests, among many others. The program gives attention to the dynamic, interrelated, and sometimes contentious nature of the area’s cultures, politics, and economies. Asian Studies provides students with the depth of knowledge and critical perspectives they need to understand the diverse societies, cultures, politics and economics of Asia, their relationship with each other, and their role in a globalized world.

Examples of senior theses

  • The Perfection of Wisdom: The Constitution, Dream, and Prison of Tibetan Nationalist Discourse in the 20th Century
  • International Experts and Local Concerns: An Examination of Integrated Conservation and Development Planning in Meili Snow Mountain
  • Supporting the Homeless of Kamagasaki in the Midst of a Neglectful Japan
  • What’s Behind the Spiritual Civilization Campaign? State-Mandated Behavioral Change in Mainland China
  • The Music of Stillness: Defining Shanshui Poetry in the High Tang
  • Construction and Reconstruction of Loyalty and Honor: Legitimizing the Actions of Sugihara Chiune and the Japanese Government During World War II
  • Pachinko, a Game That Takes Balls: An Analysis of Japanese Pinball
  • Modern Girl/Social Girl: Conflicting Models of Female Resistance in Late Taisho Japan
  • Asian Thematics in the Postwar American Avant-Garde: The Construction of Cultural “Otherness” in the Music of John Cage

Examples of post-graduate activities

  • Graduate study in languages, history, international relations, and Asian studies.
  • Teaching English in Asia.
  • Positions in print journalism and broadcasting.
  • Positions in business and law.
  • Positions in bilingual organizations and agencies.