Asian Studies

The Asian Studies Program fosters interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Asia. Course offerings cover a broad range of disciplines, primarily in the humanities. These include history, anthropology, art history, philosophy, religion, sociology, and literature with options for individual students to include courses from additional disciplines. Many of these courses complement other programs within the University, particularly the study of Chinese and Japanese language.

The minor in Asian Studies focuses on the study of the broad historical and cultural traditions of Asia as a foundation for the exploration of more specialized topics, both in the humanities and in contemporary areas of social, political and economic development.

Requirements for the Asian Studies Minor (5 Credits)

Five credits are required for the Asian Studies minor. Credits to be earned abroad should be approved by the Asian Studies faculty before the foreign study program begins.

One credit from the following entry courses (1)

  • ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asian Studies (1)
  • HIST 118 East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (1)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (1)

Four courses from the following list, two of which must be 300 or 400 level courses (4)

Note: Where scheduling difficulties resulting from participation in an overseas study program may arise, some course substitutions, including independent study courses, may be allowed, subject to faculty approval. For advising or information, contact one of the program faculty.

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the Asian Studies Minor

  1. To develop interdisciplinary knowledge of at least one Asian culture as measured by a record of study abroad experiences and the interdisciplinary variety of courses taken for the major
  2. To acquire basic proficiency in an Asian language consistent with at least two years of academic study as measured by the category of “competent” in the foreign language rubrics. This means that:
    • Students are able to listen and understand the main ideas of connected discourse on familiar topics. [listening]
    • Students are able to speak to satisfy the requirements of everyday life; students are able to initiate and sustain basic communicative tasks. [speaking]
    • Students are able to read prose of several paragraphs designed for the general reader. [reading]
    • Students are able to write routine social correspondence and join sentences in simple discourse of several paragraphs in length on familiar topics. The writing is understandable to natives not used to the writing of non-natives. [writing]
  3. To undertake a program of study abroad in Asia
  4. To carry out a self-designed research project grounded in the scholarly literature of the field as measured by the completion of a successful senior seminar paper read by at least two cooperating faculty members. We expect students to be able to:
    • Choose an appropriately interdisciplinary topic in order to demonstrate their understanding of Asia.
    • Use an Asian Language to access primary or secondary sources written in the target language for their senior projects.
    • Demonstrate their accomplished writing skills defined by Willamette University’s Writing Rubrics.

Faculty

Professors Emeriti

Administrative Support


Course Listings

ASIA 199 Topics in Asian Studies (.25-1)

A semester-long study of topics in Asian Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asia (1)

This course introduces East Asia to the liberal arts student from multiple and cross disciplinary perspectives. The course deals with the rich cultural heritage of East Asia by looking at the cultural exchange within and beyond East Asia over a history of two thousand years. The course includes such topics as early intellectual traditions, religion, arts, language, literature, science, communication and everyday life. It is intended to lay a solid foundation and to generate broad interest in Asia so that students can proceed to a general study of Asian cultures or pursue their interest in specific cultural topics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 210 Making and Playing of Traditional Musical Instruments (1)

This course emphasizes hands-on experience in making, practicing, and investigating various traditional art forms and music such as, the Confucian Six Skills and Four Arts, Eight Sounds, and some folk art forms. In the process, the students will use brush pens for calligraphy, make and play flutes or other musical instruments, and create handcrafts, while reading and discussing classic texts, researching on topics, presenting their learned skills, and reflecting the experience. As a result, the students gain deeper understanding of the cosmos, ethics, aesthetics, folklore, and symbolism of the cultures in and beyond East Asia. There will be multimedia materials to be used in class, individual and group projects/presentations, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances along the course.

  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Zhang

ASIA 258 Topics in Asian Studies (1)

This course studies specific topics such as socio-economic policy, history, oral history, ethnic identity, literature, religion, language, art, folklore, or film from inter-disciplinary perspectives. In addition to the theoretical discussion, fieldwork and community service may be involved. Group and individual projects and assignments are expected.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: None. A course related to the topic suggested.
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 288 Introducing Asia to the World (1)

The course introduces students to media production based on the content of East Asian history, society, and people. The societies of East Asia, especially China, Korea, and Japan, have rich, complex, and multifaceted historical and cultural experiences. Yet, media representations focus on certain aspects while ignoring others. The course integrates the acquisition of knowledge and awareness of East Asia with critical thinking and media production. Students will work in project teams to choose a topic that they are interested in, prepare their own presentation and production, and to facilitate in-class discussions. Possible projects might include: design a syllabus to teach Asia to a specific group of people; curate and organize an Asian film screening festival; start a website that is relevant to Asian culture and people; or make a short video about the history of a very specific topic, such as Japanese cuisine.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Wen

ASIA 299 Topics in Asian Studies (.25-1)

A semester-long study of topics in Asian Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

ASIA 301 Asian Visual and Creative Culture (1)

From Miyazaki’s animations and Hong Kong’s martial arts movies to Korean popular media, Chinese avant-garde artists’ political voices or ordinary social media uses, visual productions enrich the intellectual and popular culture landscape in Asia. This course offers an introduction to the history, theory, economy, technology, production, consumption, and regulation of visual culture and creative industry in modern Asian society. Students are presented a broad view on Asian visual culture, and an in-depth investigation of visual culture as a necessary component of, and influencer of, Asian society. The course encourages the comparative studies of politics and aesthetics of visual culture in different cultural contexts, and helps students become critical viewers and mindful users of media.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Wen

ASIA 352 Field Study in Asia (1)

This post-session course is conducted in one or more Asian countries, focusing on the social changes of the target countries in their transition from and conflict between tradition and modernity in a globalizing world. A fieldwork-based course, its topics include political system, cultural and artistic expressions, economic changes, holiday and festival celebrations, language, ethnicity, or other aspects of globalization and localization. There will be trips to museums, cultural relics, schools, factories and villages, lectures and discussions on the road and at the site, guest lectures on topics chosen, and reading on the topics chosen. With first-hand experience of participation and observation, the course will enhance the students' understanding of the cultures and people of the target countries. Post-session.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 390 and 391 Independent Study (.5 or 1)

Intensive study of a selected topic. Normally for juniors or seniors who are majors in Asian Studies. Requires program faculty approval. May be repeated with different content.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 399 Topics in Asian Studies (.25-1)

A semester-long study of topics in Asian Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

ASIA 429 Topics in Asian Studies (.25-1)

A semester-long study of topics in Asian Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

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