Chair: WILLIAM GARDNER (Modern Languages and Literatures, Japanese)
Anna Everetts (Administrative Assistant)
Faculty: Alan Berkowitz (Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese)1
Pallabi Chakravorty (Music and Dance)
K. David Harrison (Linguistics)
Steven P. Hopkins (Religion)
Haili Kong (Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese)
Gerald Levinson (Music)
Bakirathi Mani (English Literature)
Tomoko Sakomura (Art History)3
Tyrene White (Political Science)
Thomas Whitman (Music)
Lala Zuo (Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese)
1 Absent on leave, fall 2012.
3 Absent on leave, 2012-2013.
Asian studies is an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to the history, cultures, and societies of Asia-including principally China, Japan, and India. Courses are offered in the departments of art, economics, English literature, history, linguistics, modern languages and literatures (Chinese and Japanese), music and dance, political science, religion, sociology and anthropology, and theater.
As the largest interdisciplinary program at the College, Asian studies plays a significant role in many departments in the humanities and social sciences. Some students choose a major or a minor in Asian studies; many others study about Asia while majoring in political science, economics, history, religion, anthropology, languages and literatures, or other fields.
Studying Asia and gaining experience in the Asian world are important to understanding the global flows of peoples, cultures, technology, and business in today’s world. Many students explore traditional art, literature, or religion, or perhaps politics (World War II or the Cold War). Others are attracted by broad spiritual practices (Zen meditation, for example), or economic issues (rural poverty or global business). Today-as the Asian American community expands and diversifies, and as Asian cultural and technological influences have become part of American life-learning about Asia is not so exclusively about the “other,” but often about “self.” To study Asia, then, is to trace the diverse strands of Asian cultures that have originated in different regional, national, and local traditions, but which have now become increasingly intertwined with contemporary global life.
The Academic Program
The Asian Studies Program offers a major and a minor in course and honors. Students who declare a major in Asian studies construct individualized programs of study, with a focus on a comparative theme or on a particular country or region. Some examples of comparative themes are classical traditions in Asian literature and art, Buddhist studies, Asian nationalisms and the emergence of nation-states, and the political economy of Asian development. In all cases, the core of the major involves exposure to multiple regions and multiple disciplines.
Students interested in Asian studies are urged to consult the Asian studies website for up-to-date information on courses and campus events. Students should meet with the program chair in advance of preparing a Sophomore Plan. Advance planning is especially important for students contemplating the Honors Program and those planning to study abroad.
Asian studies invites students to make connections among courses that differ widely in content and method. When considering applicants to the major, the Asian Studies Committee looks for evidence of intellectual flexibility and independence. Students must have completed at least two Asia-related courses in different departments with grades of B or better to be accepted into the major.
The major in Asian studies consists of a minimum of ten (10) credits, with requirements and distribution as follows:
Geographic breadth. Coursework must include more than one of the regions of Asia (East, South, Northeast, and Southeast). This requirement can be fulfilled by taking at least two courses that are pan-Asian or comparative in scope or by taking at least one course on a country that is not the principal focus of a student’s program.
Disciplinary breadth. Courses must be taken in at least three different departments.
Core courses. At least one of the following courses must be taken:
ARTH 003. Asian ArtIntermediate and advanced work. A minimum of 5 credits must be completed at the intermediate or advanced level in at least two departments.
CHIN 016. Substance, Shadow, and Spirit in Chinese Literature and Culture
CHIN 023. Modern Chinese Literature
HIST 009B. Modern China
JPNS 017. Introduction to Japanese Culture: The Cosmology of Japanese Drama
POLS 055. China and the World
RELG 008. Patterns of Asian Religions
RELG 009. The Buddhist Tradition
RELG 012 or 013. History, Religion, and Culture of India I or II
Asia language study. Asian language study is not required but is strongly recommended. Up to 4 credits of language study may be applied toward the major. For languages offered at Swarthmore (Chinese and Japanese), courses above the first-year level may count toward the major. For Asian languages not offered at Swarthmore, courses at the entry level may count toward the major if at least the equivalent of 1.5 credits is earned in an approved program.
Thesis / Culminating Exercise
Students in the Asian studies course major have a choice of culminating exercises.
Thesis option. A 1- or 2-credit thesis, followed by an oral examination. A thesis must be supervised by a member of the Asian studies faculty. Students normally enroll for the thesis (ASIA 096) in the fall semester of the senior year.
Qualifying papers option. Students revise and expand two papers they have written for Asian studies courses in consultation with Asian studies faculty members.
Honors seminar option. Students take a 2-credit honors seminar in an Asian studies topic in either their junior or senior year. (Note: A two-course combination or a course plus attachment will not satisfy this requirement.)
Grade-point average requirement. A student must have at least a C average in the course major.
Students will be admitted to the minor after having completed at least two Asian studies courses in different departments with grades of B or better. The Asian studies minor in course consists of five courses, distributed as follows:
Geographic breadth. Coursework must cover more than one region of Asia. This can be accomplished by taking at least two courses that are pan-Asian or comparative in scope or by taking at least one full course on a country that is not the principal focus of a student’s program.
Disciplinary breadth. Asia-related courses must be taken in at least two departments outside of the disciplinary major. Only one course may overlap the Asian studies minor and the disciplinary major.
Core courses. Students are required to include at least one course from the list of core courses (see above).
Intermediate or advanced work. At least 2 credits of work must be completed at the intermediate or advanced level.
Asian language study. Asian-language study is not required, but courses in Asian languages may count toward the course minor. For languages offered at Swarthmore (Chinese and Japanese), courses above the first-year level may count toward the minor. For Asian languages not offered at Swarthmore, courses at the entry level may count toward the minor if at least the equivalent of 1.5 credits is earned in an approved program.
Grade-point average requirement. A student must have at least a C average in the minor.
The honors major in Asian studies consists of a minimum of ten (10) credits (including four honors preparations). The four preparations in an Honors Program must be drawn from at least two different disciplines.
- Geographic and disciplinary breadth requirements.These are the same as those for the course major (see above).
- Core courses. Students are required to include at least one course from the list of core courses (see above).
- Asian studies as an interdisciplinary major. All four fields for external examination must be Asian studies subjects. One of the fields may also count toward an honors minor in a department. The four preparations must be drawn from at least two different disciplines.
- Grade-point average requirement. A student must earn at least a B+ in all offerings applied to the honors major.
To be admitted to the honors minor, students should have completed at least two Asian studies courses in different departments with a grade of B+ or above.
An honors minor in Asian studies consists of a minimum of 5 credits, distributed as follows:
- Geographic breadth. There are two tracks within the minor:
- Comparative Asian cultures-The selection of courses and the honors preparation should offer a comparative perspective on the traditional or modern cultures of Asia. Individual programs should be worked out in close consultation with the Asian studies coordinator. (Language study does not count toward this track.)
- Focus on a single country or region-All courses in the program should focus on the same region or country. One or 2 credits of language study may be included.
- Disciplinary breadth. Asia-related courses must be taken in at least two departments outside of the disciplinary honors major. Only one course may overlap the honors minor and the disciplinary honors major.
- Core courses in the cultural traditions of Asia. Normally at least one of the five courses should be a core course.
- Asian language study. Asian language study is not required, but courses in Asian languages may count toward the honors minor. For languages offered at Swarthmore (Chinese and Japanese), courses above the second-year level count toward the minor. For Asian languages not offered at Swarthmore, courses at the entry level may be counted if the equivalent of 1.5 credits is earned in an approved program.
- Honors preparation. One preparation, normally a two-credit seminar, will be submitted for external examination.
- Senior Honors Seminar for minors. The student will fulfill the requirements set for honors minors by the department offering the honors preparation.
- Grade-point average requirement. A student must have at least a B+ in all courses applied to the honors minor.
Swarthmore currently offers Chinese and Japanese language courses; other Asian languages may be studied at the University of Pennsylvania during the regular academic year, in summer-language programs, or abroad. For languages offered at Swarthmore, courses above the first-year level count toward the major. For Asian languages not offered at Swarthmore, courses at the entry level may be approved if at least the equivalent of 1.5 credits is successfully completed in a program approved by the Asian Studies Committee.
Fellowship and Grant Opportunities for Students
The Alice L. Crossley Prize in Asian Studies is awarded annually to the student or students who submit the best essay(s) on any topic in Asian or Asian American Studies.
The Genevieve Ching-wen Lee ’96 Memorial Fund supports a lecture each year in Asian American studies. This fund also supports an annual competition for summer research support for projects related to Asian studies or Asian American studies.
The Penelope Mason ’57 Memorial Fund for Asian Studies is available to support Asian studies related projects proposed by students, faculty members, or both.
Students with majors in Asian studies are strongly encouraged to undertake a period of study in Asia. The Asian studies faculty can recommend academically rigorous programs in several Asian countries. Study abroad is the ideal arena for intensive language study. Courses taken abroad may be applied toward the major, subject to the approval of the Asian studies coordinator. However, at least half of the credits in a student’s Asian studies major or minor should be earned at Swarthmore.
Life After Swarthmore
Students with a background in Asian studies have pursued a number of paths after graduation. Some have gone abroad to continue their studies, do research, or work in humanitarian or social service organizations. Others have gone directly to graduate school. Many eventually become teachers or professors. Others work in the arts, journalism, international law, business, finance, in the diplomatic corps, or in non-governmental organizations. Other Asian studies graduates pursue careers not directly related to Asia, in medicine or law, for example. All consider Asian studies to have been an important part of their liberal arts education.
Art (Art History)
ARTH 001L. From Handscrolls to Comic Books: Pictorial Narratives in Japan (W)
ARTH 003. Asian Art
ARTH 032. Crafting Nature: The Arts of Japanese Tea Culture (W)
ARTH 033. The Art of Landscape in East Asia
ARTH 034. East Asian Calligraphy
ARTH 039. Contemporary Japanese Visual Culture
ARTH 136. Word and Image in Japanese Art
CHIN 003B. Second-Year Mandarin Chinese
CHIN 004B. Second-Year Mandarin Chinese
CHIN 008/LITR 008CH. Reading Modern China Through Literary and Cinematic Text
CHIN 009. First-Year Seminar: Heaven, Earth, and Man: Ways of Thought in Traditional Chinese Culture
CHIN 011. Third-Year Mandarin Chinese
CHIN 011A. Third-Year Mandarin Chinese Conversation
CHIN 012. Advanced Mandarin Chinese
CHIN 012A. Advanced Mandarin Chinese Conversation
CHIN 016/LITR 016CH. Substance, Shadow, and Spirit in Chinese Literature and Culture
CHIN 017/LITR 017CH. Legacy of Chinese Narrative Literature: The Story in Dynastic China
CHIN 018/LITR 018CH. The Classical Tradition in Chinese Literature
CHIN 019. First-Year Seminar: Singular Lives and Cultural Paradigms in Early and Imperial China
CHIN 020. Readings in Modern Chinese
CHIN 021. Topics in Modern Chinese
CHIN 023/LITR 023CH. Modern Chinese Literature
CHIN 025/LITR 025CH. Contemporary Chinese Fiction: Mirror of Social Change
CHIN 027/LITR 027CH. Women Writers in 20th-Century China
CHIN 033/LING 033. Introduction to Classical Chinese
CHIN 035. Readings in Classical Chinese
CHIN 055/FMST 055CH. Contemporary Chinese Cinema
CHIN 056/LITR 056CH. History of Chinese Cinema (1905-1995)
CHIN 063/LITR 063CH. Comparative Perspectives: China in the Ancient World
CHIN 066/LITR 066CH. Chinese Poetry
CHIN 069/LITR 069CH. Taste and Aesthetics in Chinese Cultural Traditions
CHIN 071/LITR 071CH. Invaded Ideology and Translated Modernity
CHIN 081/LITR 081CH. Transcending the Mundane: Taoism in Chinese Literature and Culture
CHIN 088/POLS 088. Chinese Governance and Environmental Issues in China
CHIN 091/LITR 091CH. Special Topics in Chinese Literature in Translation
CHIN 092. Special Topics in Chinese Literature and Culture in Chinese
CHIN 103. Lu Xun and His Legacy in 20th-Century Chinese Literature
CHIN 104. Seminar in Chinese Poetry
CHIN 105. Fiction in Traditional China: People and Places, Journeys, and Romances
CHIN 108. Remaking Cinematic China: Zhang Yimou, Wong Kar-wai, and Ang Lee
CHIN 109. Daoism
DANC 021. History of Dance: Africa and Asia
DANC 025A/SOAN 020J. Dance and Diaspora
DANC 028. Classical Indian Dance
DANC 046. Dance Technique: Kathak
DANC 049. Performance Kathak
DANC 072. Intercultural Performance Methods
DANC 079. Dancing Desire in Bollywood Films
Film and Media Studies
FMST 055. Contemporary Chinese Cinema
FMST 057. Japanese Film and Animation
HIST 009B. Modern China
HIST 076. Women's Work in Premodern China
JPNS 003. Second-Year Japanese
JPNS 004. Second-Year Japanese
JPNS 012. Third-Year Japanese
JPNS 012A. Japanese Conversation
JPNS 013. Third-Year Japanese
JPNS 013A. Readings in Japanese
JPNS 017/LITR 017J/THEA 017. The World of Japanese Drama
JPNS 018/LITR 018J. Topics in Japanese Literary and Visual Culture
JPNS 019. Topics in Japanese
JPNS 021/LITR 021J. Modern Japanese Literature
JPNS 024/FMST 057. Japanese Film and Animation
JPNS 041/LITR 041J. Fantastic Spaces in Modern Japanese Literature
JPNS 045/LING 047. Japanese Language in Society
JPNS 047. Japanese Food Cultures
JPNS 051. Japanese Poetry and Poetics
JPNS 074/LITR 074J. Japanese Popular Culture and Contemporary Media
JPNS 083/LITR 083J. War and Postwar in Japanese Culture
POLS 046. Chinese Foreign Policy
POLS 055. China and the World
POLS 056. Patterns of Asian Development
POLS 058. Contemporary Chinese Politics
POLS 064. American-East Asian Relations*
POLS 065. Chinese Foreign Policy
POLS 073. Comparative Politics: Advanced Topics in Chinese Politics
POLS 088/CHIN 088. Chinese Governance and Environmental Issues in China
POLS 108. Comparative Politics: East Asia
RELG 008. Patterns of Asian Religions
RELG 009. The Buddhist Traditions of Asia
RELG 012. The History, Religion and Culture of India I
RELG 012B. Hindu Traditions of India: Power, Love and Knowledge
RELG 013. The History, Religion, and Culture of India II
RELG 030. The Power of Images: Icons and Iconoclasts*
RELG 031. Religion and Literature: From the Song of Songs to the Hindu Saints*
RELG 108. Poets, Saints, and Storytellers: Religious Literatures of South Asia
THEA 017 JPNS 017/LITR 017J. The World of Japanese Drama
* Cognate course. Counts toward Asian studies if all papers and projects are focused on Asian topics. No more than two may be applied to the course or honors major. No more than 1 credit may be applied to the honors minor.
+ Cognate seminar. No more than 1 credit may be applied toward the honors major. It does not count toward an honors minor.