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Academic Program and Learning Goals

Academic Program

Asian Studies 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 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.

Learning Goals

1. Interdisciplinary breadth. The student must have mastered more than one academic discipline, to be able to speak to issues/ themes of their research on topics rooted in Asian traditions/regions from more than one disciplinary perspective;
2. Comparative Scope. The student must know in some depth more than one region in Asia; though they may focus, for instance, primarily on studies in Chinese traditions, pre-modern or modern, the student must also be able to think comparatively, and engage with more than one Asian tradition in regard to the topics/ themes that are central to their main region-specific research;
3. Depth of Knowledge in One Tradition. If the student’s research project is fundamentally trans-national or trans-regional, they should know at least one Asian tradition with depth and detail, including knowledge of language (see below);
4. The Past, the Present, and the Future. The student should be aware of modern/contemporary or pre-modern formations (depending upon the student’s scholarly focus) within the Asian traditions they study, with the idea that one cannot never really understand the present without more than cursory knowledge of the past, and also that one cannot study the past without a scholarly awareness of the present forms of political, economic, social, environmental, or religious formations at the center of a student’s project in Asian Studies;
5. Languages and Language Study. The student majoring in Asian Studies should demonstrate advanced knowledge of at least one Asian language central to the region/tradition that is the focus of their academic work.