As an interdisciplinary program, Asian Studies encourages students to explore course work in several different departments. We offer a wide variety of courses in Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Asian Studies itself (Chinese and Japanese language courses as well as Chinese and Japanese literature and film in translation).


CHINESE LANGUAGE: elementary, intermediate, advanced
JAPANESE LANGUAGE: elementary, intermediate, advanced

Chinese Martial Arts Cinema
This course examines the historical development of martial arts cinema, investigating the formation of its literary and cinematic conventions, the cultural and political transformations suggested by those developments, and the history of their productions in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U.S. Each week focuses on one film and several key texts that are geared toward the social, cultural and ideological logic of martial arts cinema. Taught in English. (Credit, full course). Yang

Themes in New Chinese Cinema
This course surveys the development of Chinese cinemas in a global age, with focus on the transnational contexts of production, circulation and reception. The goals are to introduce a range of films from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Chinese overseas communities; to investigate the role of cinema in constructing and contesting the notion of nation-state; and to explore the shifting dynamics between cultural interflows in the context of regional geopolitics and media globalization. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Yang

Modern China Through Fiction and Film
How do film and literature inform our understanding of the evolving concepts of art, ideology and material conditions in modern China? How have literary and cinematic representations changed over the last century to accommodate and facilitate social transformations? What are the characteristics of the cultural productions from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan? This course helps students develop a critical sense and appreciation for Chinese cinema and literature. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Yang

Introduction to Japanese Civilization: From Samurai to Sony
An introductory course that includes an historical survey and topical discussions of contemporary Japan. Focus is on culture and controversies in Japanese history and society: the imperial system, the demographic crisis, gender, minorities, and how Japanese people view themselves in the twenty-first century. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Carter

Modern Japanese Literature
A study of Japan and its rise as a major power in the twentieth century through the reading of novels, short stories, poetry, and essays in the modern period. The class explores several themes: why did writers collaborate with the state in the years leading up to World War II, how is gender and sexuality portrayed in literature in the modern period, and how did writers respond to the dilemmas of modernization and westernization? Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Carter

The Land of the Rising "Sons": The Concept of the Child and Children's Culture in Japan.
This course will draw from Japanese art, theater, literature, and cinema to construct a history of the concept of childhood in Japan.  We will trace ideas about childhood and expectations of children from the Heian Period through today.  The course content will intersect with various issues of modernity such as education, censorship, industrialization, gender, and nationalism. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Carter

Father Emperor, Mother Land: Family and Nationalism in Modern Japan
How are nation-states formed? Who constructs and manipulates the imagined community of diverse people who identify with each other as fellow patriots? How is the idea of the family used as a tool for constructing national identity and promoting imperialism? How does the nationalist construction of the family alter the expected roles of each individual family member? How does the modern family affect our conceptualization of gender? This course will rely on history, literature, and theories of nationalism and gender to address each of these questions in the context of Japanese nationalism and the nuclear family in the first half of the 20th century. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Carter

The Fantastical  World of Anime
The course examines animated films and animation as a genre rooted in Japanese culture while considering as well the anime subculture that has gained popuiarity in America and elsewhere.

Gender and Sexuality in Japanese Culture
This course examines aspects of Japanese culture by devoting special attention to issues of gender and sexuality. Students read primary texts from pre-modern and modern literature, drama, and manga (graphic novel) in English translation, together with critical essays on gender theory. In-class screenings of short films, anime (animated film), and documentaries help to illustrate some concepts and practices introduced in the readings. Taught in English. (Credit, full course.) Carter

Asian Studies Senior Thesis
A senior thesis on a selected topic under supervision of a faculty advisor. This course may be taken either semester of the senior year with permission of the Asian Studies Chair.  (Credit, full course.) Staff


Anthropology 340. Families in Asia
Students study anthropological approaches to understanding kinship and read and view contextualized accounts of family life from several time periods. These accounts include ethnographies, novels, children's stories, religious and philosophical texts, folktales, films and Internet materials. To the extent possible, Chinese, Japanese, and/or Thai guests visit and share their family stories. (Credit, full course.) Wallace

Anthropology 341. The Culture and History of Southeast Asia
A survey of the peoples and polities of Southeast Asia from prehistory to the present, stressing the cultural and historical continuities that unite this ethnically diverse region. Special consideration is given to urban rule, peasants, popular religion, and indigenous notions of power, gender, space, and time. (Credit, full course.) O'Connor

Economics 309. Women in the Economy
This study of the relative economic status of women and men in the U.S., and how it has changed over time, focuses on sex differentials in earnings, occupational distribution, labor force participation and unemployment rates, levels and types of education and experience. Includes an analysis of the reasons for such differentials (e.g., the motivations for discrimination), their history, and cross-cultural variations in female status (with particular emphasis on Africa and Asia). Analyzes the effect of law and policy in the U.S. on the status of women. (Credit, full course.) Mohiuddin

Economics 310. Economic Development in the Third World
The nature, causes, and possible solutions of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in the Third World, with focus both on those countries and the role of the United States. (Credit, full course.) Gottfried, Mohiuddin

History 211. History of China and East Asia (Part I)
An introduction to the foundations of East Asian civilization: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, the dynastic system, and the development of Chinese culture. (Credit, full course.) Goldberg

History 212. History of China and East Asia (Part II)
A study of the European impact on Asia and the rise of nationalism and communism. Significant attention to China and Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth century. (Credit, full course.) Goldberg

History 216. History of Japan
A survey of the history of Japan from earliest times to the present. Topics include early Chinese influence, Buddhism, the rise of feudalism, unification in the 16th century, the era of isolation, the intrusion of the west, the Meiji Restoration, the rise of Japan as a military power, World War II, and postwar recovery. (Credit, full course.) Goldberg

History 388. The United States and Vietnam since 1945
The history of Vietnam since World War II, French colonialism, development of the independence movement, the origins of U.S. involvement, and the escalation of the conflict in the 1960s. Vietnamese goals, American foreign policy, the anti-war movement, and the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon are topics of special interest. (Credit, full course.) Goldberg

Philosophy 215. Chinese Philosophy
An examination of philosophical texts of classical Confucianism and Daoism. Emphasis is given to the cultural context of these texts and to the evaluation of the worldview they articulate. (Credit, full course.) Peterman

Philosophy 226. Philosophical Issues in Daoism
An introduction to the classical texts of philosophical Daoism, Zhuangzi and Daodejing, and to the classical and contemporary philosophical debates and controversies these texts have generated. (Credit, full course.) Peterman

Political Science 249. China and the World
Beginning in the third century B.C.E., China began construction of its Great Wall, an attempt to keep out “barbarian invaders.” Since that time, China has had an uneasy relationship with foreign powers. Students analyze early Chinese conceptions of its proper relations with foreign powers, contemporary relations with Japan and the United States, and attempts by foreigners to change Chinese politics, culture, and economy. Readings emphasize Chinese notions of nationhood and the dynamics of globalization. (Credit, full course.) Wilson

Political Science 250. States and Markets in East Asia
The course surveys the political economy of Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea since the 1930s. Students read and discuss dependency, statist, and cultural theoretical approaches to the political economy of the cases. What explains the dynamic growth of this region of the world during the postwar period? (Credit, full course.) Wilson

Political Science 326. Comparative Asian Politics
A survey of the development of East Asian politics during the twentieth century, from the period of Japanese colonialism through the present. The course examines political developments in Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Particular attention is focused on the formation of centralized states, single-party rule, attempts to liberalize politics, and international integration. (Credit, full course.) Wilson

Political Science 360. Chinese Politics
A survey of Chinese political movements and institutions during three periods: the Republican period (1911-49), the Maoist collective era (1949-78), and the reform period (1978-present). The course focuses on state building, popular participation in politics, and power struggles among the elite. (Credit, full course.) Wilson

Religion 162. Introduction to Asian Religions
An introduction to the major religious traditions of Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintoism and their views of reality and humanity. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 262. Buddhism
A philosophical and historical examination of Buddhism from its origins in India to more recent manifestations in the United States, with attention to Buddhism as it has been and is currently being lived. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 263. Chinese Religion
An exploration of the native Chinese religions of Daoism and Confucianism with attention also to gods, ghosts, and ancestors. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 264. Hinduism
An introduction to the main themes, philosophies, and myths of Hinduism as it has grown and changed over 3,500 years. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 342. Buddhism and Psychology
Since the oldest Buddhist texts claim that Buddhism concerns itself with suffering and its end, this course emphasizes Buddhist conceptions of what suffering is, what the end of suffering looks like, and how suffering is brought to an end. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 353. Buddhism and the Environment
An investigation of Buddhist images, symbols, stories, doctrines, ethics, and practices as they relate to understanding the environment and humanity’s relationship with it. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Religion 364. Buddhist Ethics
Attention is paid to ethical beginnings with the birth of Buddhism (563 B.C.E.) and ending with modern Buddhist contributions to issues such as environmentalism. (Credit, full course.) Brown

Theatre 226. Asian Theatre
An introductory survey of traditional Asian theatre with particular emphasis on the cultural, sociological, and aesthetic context of theatre and dance form in the Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku of Japan, Chinese Opera, Sanskrit drama, the Indian Kathakali, Malaysian shadow play, and Balinese dance theatre. (Credit, full course.) Backlund