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. Students interested in Asian Studies should consider the Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies majors. Students wishing to design a special major in Asian Studies should consult with program faculty. Program faculty strongly encourage interested students to study in Asia as part of their major program.

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. Students majoring in Chinese or Japanese Studies may not also minor in Asian Studies.

Requirements for the Asian Studies Minor (20 semester hours)

Twenty semester hours 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 course from the following entry courses (4)

  • ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asian Studies (4)
  • ASIA 288 Introducing Asia to the World (4)
  • HIST 118 East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (4)

Four courses from the following list, two of which must be 300 or 400 level courses (16 semester hours)

  • Any course with an ASIA prefix
  • ARTH 113 Introduction to Chinese Art History (4)
  • ARTH 114 Introduction to Japanese Art History (4)
  • CHNSE 199 Topics in Chinese Studies (1-4)
  • CHNSE 254 Folklore and Identity (4)
  • CHNSE 258 Gender and Mass Communication in China (4)
  • CHNSE 269 Chinese Society and Media (4)
  • CHNSE 299 Topics in Chinese Studies (1-4)
  • CHNSE 352 Rites of Passage in Chinese Society (4)
  • CHNSE 399 Topics in Chinese Studies (1-4)
  • CHNSE 429 Topics in Chinese Studies (1-4)
  • HIST 131W Historical Inquiry: Pacific War (4) (topic dependent)
  • HIST 233 Asian Empires on the Silk Road (4)
  • HIST 265 Late Imperial China (4)
  • HIST 281 History of Modern Japan (4)
  • HIST 282 China in Revolution, 1911-1949 (4)
  • HIST 331 Asian Environmental History (4)
  • HIST 344W Studies in East Asian History (4)
  • HIST 383 Mao's China 1949-1979 (4)
  • INTST 374 Asia and the International System (4)
  • INTST 380 Asia Politics and Development (4)
  • JAPN 201W Modern Japanese Society and Culture (4)
  • JAPN 314W Japanese Literature in Translation (4)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (4)
  • REL 354 Topics in Asian Religion (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

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Administrative Support


Course Listings

ASIA 199 Topics in Asian Studies (1-4)

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. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

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

ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asia (4)

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 (4)

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 (4)

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 (4)

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 (1-4)

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. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

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

ASIA 301 Asian Visual and Creative Culture (4)

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 310 Asian Social Media in a Global Context: Critique and Design (4)

This course examines Asian social media as a form of digital culture and globalization. With its focus on contemporary forms of Asian social media, students will analyze, evaluate, and critique social media as it is manifest across different cultural contexts, particularly with respect both to institutional power and rhetoric and to individual agency and expression. Students will be challenged to reflect on social media as an emergent, hegemonic form of generating and participating in culture, to understand its risks and benefits to society, as well as to develop their own purposeful ethic regarding social media use and participation.

  • General Education Requirement: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences; World Engagement: NEL study beyond 132, CV
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Wen

ASIA 352 Field Study in Asia (4)

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 (2 or 4)

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 (1-4)

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. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

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

ASIA 429 Topics in Asian Studies (1-4)

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. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

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

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