Asian Studies

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The cultures of Asia are among the world’s oldest and most enduring, and they also play an increasingly important role in modern-world affairs. Emigrant peoples of Asia have reshaped the cultures of the rest of the world in profound ways, expanding what is thought of as Asia beyond national and continental boundaries to include diaspora cultures in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa. Asia’s many distinct and interrelated civilizations are thus both ancient, dating to the Neolithic era, and widespread, geographically spanning the globe. The economic and political centers of Asia include the two most populous nations in the world and two of the three largest economies in the world. Thus, Asian Studies challenges students to explore some of the most influential and widespread cultures on the globe.

Because of this wide-ranging historical and geographic scope, Asian Studies must employ an interdisciplinary approach. The core requirement for the major in Asian Studies is a team-taught, interdisciplinary course, which offers students an opportunity to explore the breadth of disciplinary approaches to this study area. Further Asian Studies courses may be found in the departments of Political Science, Economics, History, English, International Languages and Cultures, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Theater, Film and Media Studies. This “area studies” approach demands that students take an active and conscious part in designing their major in Asian Studies.

The Asian Studies faculty strongly recommends that students anchor their study of Asia in language study and study abroad. In addition to Chinese language offerings on-campus, St. Mary’s offers study-abroad programs at Fudan University in Shanghai, China; Lingnan University in Hong Kong, China; Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Akita University in Japan. Students may pursue the study of other Asian languages through study-abroad programs in other Asian countries, or students may choose to attend language programs at other universities and colleges in the U.S. No study of Asia and its cultures is complete without the study of an Asian language.

In addition to broadening student horizons in the liberal arts, Asian Studies provides excellent preparation for a future career in the U.S. Foreign Service, the United Nations, international non-governmental organizations, multinational business, and advanced academic studies.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN ASIAN STUDIES

To complete a major in the cross-disciplinary study area in Asian Studies, a student must satisfy the following requirements, designed to establish the breadth and depth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the Asian Studies study area.

  1. General College requirements (see “Curriculum” section”) including the following requirements to satisfy the major:
  2. Required Courses. At least 44 semester-hours in Asian Studies cross-listed courses, as specified in a., b., c., and d., below. A grade of C- or better must be received in each course of the major and the cumulative grade-point average used to satisfy the major must be at least 2.00. Courses taken for Credit/No Credit may not be used as required courses.
    1. ASIA 200: Introduction to Asian Studies
    2. At least eight credit-hours in an Asian Language, to be completed in one of the following ways:
      • Complete ILCC 101 and ILCC 102: Elementary Chinese I and II.
      • Any Asian language at another college or university.
      • Study abroad in an Asian country that includes intensive language study. Note: the Asian Studies coordinator must approve program.
      • Demonstrate at least second-semester college-level proficiency in an Asian language. Note: students who major in Asian Studies are strongly encouraged to pursue additional coursework in Asian languages.
    3. Additional elective courses: 24 semester-hours in at least three separate disciplines of which 20 credit-hours must be from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses. Note: students fulfilling a major in Chinese Language (ILCC) may not use ILCC credit-hours of Chinese Language to fulfill this requirement.
    4. St. Mary’s Project: eight semester-hours. Note: Students who complete an interdisciplinary SMP of which only four credit-hours consist in ASIA 493/494 must complete four credit-hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to requirements a-c. Students who complete an SMP entirely outside of ASIA 493/494 must complete eight credit-hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to requirements a-c.

Courses taken for the major should form a cohesive program and be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser from Asian Studies.

A complete list of approved current offerings will appear in the “Schedule of Classes.”

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

To complete a cross-disciplinary minor in Asian Studies, a student must satisfy the following requirements, designed to establish the breadth and depth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the Asian Studies study area:

  1. General College requirements.
  2. All requirements in a major discipline of study.
  3. At least 24 credit-hours (or six courses) in courses having an Asian focus, in all of which a grade of C- or higher must be achieved, as follows:
    1. Required course: ASIA 200: Introduction to Asian Studies,/li>
    2. Additional courses to total 20 credit-hours (or five courses). At least eight credits (two courses) of this total must be at the 300-400 level.

As a part of their course of study, students must fulfill an Asian language requirement in one of the following four ways:

  1. Complete ILCC 102: Elementary Chinese II.
  2. Complete the equivalent of option 1 at another institution in an Asian language.
  3. Study abroad in an Asian country including intensive language study. Programs must be approved by the Asian Studies faculty.
  4. Demonstrate at least second-semester college-level proficiency in Asian language. Courses taken for the minor should form a cohesive program and be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser from Asian Studies.

A complete list of approved current offerings will appear in the online “Schedule of Classes.” Regularly offered approved courses in Asian Studies include the following:

Art History
English
History
Music
Philosophy & Religious Studies

Students may pursue a St. Mary's Project in Asian Studies with the permission of their major department and with the agreement of a faculty mentor approved by the Asian Studies faculty. Project credit (eight hours) does not apply toward fulfillment of the requirements of the study area in Asian Studies.

Faculty

ASIAN STUDIES (ASIA) COURSES

ASIA 200. Introduction to Asian Studies (4F)

This team-taught interdisciplinary course introduces students to the civilizations of Asia and the various methods related to the study of this region and its diasporas. The course includes the study of East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as well as cultures of the Asian diaspora in North America and around the globe. A group of five to 10 faculty participates in this course.

ASIA 493/494. St. Mary’s Project in Asian Studies (1-8E)

This project, which may take many forms, draws on and extends knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. The student initiates the project, identifies an area to be explored, and proposes a method of inquiry appropriate to the topic. The project should include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which it is a contribution. It must be shared with the College community through posters, presentations, or other means. This course may be repeated for up to eight credit-hours. Pre- or co-requisites: Requirements in the Asian Studies study area. Approval of faculty mentor, Asian Studies coordinator, and department chair(s) of the student’s major(s).

ASIA 398, 498. Off-Campus Internship (4-16E)

Off-campus experiential learning opportunity. A variety of internships can be arranged through the director of internships subject to the approval of the Asian Studies faculty. The off-campus internship is an individually designed experience that allows the student to explore the relationship between learning and everyday work situations. Prerequisites: Admission to the Internship Program and approval of the study area coordinator. (See "Internships" under "Academic Policies" section.) Credit/No credit grading.

ASIA 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by an Asian Studies faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. (See "Independent Study" under the "Academic Policies" section.)

ECON 373. East Asian Economies (4S)

The course provides an economic framework to analyze the process of East Asian development since the end of World War II. The roles of culture, religion, education, history, and politics in the economic transformation of this region are examined. Contemporary issues, such as the environment, labor practice, and public policy are also covered. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ENGL 106. Introduction to Literature (4E) (Asian-focused sections only)

This course is a college-level introduction to methods of interpreting literature and to deeper questions raised by the study of literature. Readings will be drawn from different historical eras and will focus on the similarities and differences involved in reading various genres, including fiction, poetry, and drama. Discussion will also raise such questions as the following: Why does literature take different forms? Are literary uses of language different from other uses of language (scientific or historical or philosophical language, for example), and if so, how? With what assumptions do readers approach literary texts, and how might an examination of these assumptions broaden and deepen our reading experience? How do historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts influence the nature of literary works and how we read them? This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in the Arts. Recommended for non-majors, and not required of majors. Recent Asian-focused offerings have included Comparative Fictions East and West. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 235 Topics in Literature and Culture (4A) (Asian-focused sections only)

This course assumes familiarity with an interest in the skills and methods presented in ENGL 106, including close textual reading and the writing of literary analyses. It aims to examine literary and non-literary representations of the ways race, class, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality help shape an individual’s worldview. Content and focus will vary from section to section, but might include topics such as Mysteries of Identity; African-American Expression; Shakespeare, Sex, and Gender; and American Slave Narratives. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives. Recommended for both majors and non-majors, but not required of majors. May be repeated for credit if the topic is substantially different. Recent Asian-focused offerings have included Comparative Fictions East and West. Prerequisite: ENGL 102, CORE 101, or CORE 301.

ENGL 380. Studies in World Literature (4A) (Asian topics only)

Each version of the course will engage the student in the reading of major works in translation, including works outside what is thought of as the traditional Western canon. Recent offerings have included New Testament Narrative; Modernism and the Noh; Postcolonial Literature; Mythology and Literature; The Tale of Genji; Tolstoy’s War and Peace; and Asian Literature. Prerequisite: one 200-level ENGL literature course or permission of instructor.

ENGL 430. Special Topics in Literature (4A) (Asian topics only)

Topics and authors will vary each time the course is taught. Recent offerings have included Scream & Shout! American Literature and Music as Social Protest; Books that Cook; Race Passing Narratives; and AngloIndia/IndoAnglia. Prerequisite: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.

HIST 206. East Asian Civilization (4AS)

This course studies the history of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) from ancient times to the 1900s. Through reading a wealth of masterpieces in East Asian history, including philosophical and political writings, historical records, religious scriptures, songs, poems, plays, novels, and personal memoirs, students will examine both the common and distinctive features of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures and recognize the cultural complexities of East Asia. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements in Humanistic Foundations.

HIST 351. History of Traditional China (4F)

A survey of Chinese history to 1840. Investigated are the political, economic, and social forces that shaped and altered China over centuries; also highlighted is how the experience of traditional China relates to modern times and the rest of the world.

HIST 352. History of Modern China (4S)

A survey of Chinese history from 1840 to the present. Emphasis is on the fate of traditional China in modern times, the conflicts and interactions between China and the West, the issue of Chinese communism, and the emergence of a new China in the age of reform.

HIST 353. History of Japan (4F)

A history of Japan from antiquity to the present. Surveyed are the origin of the Japanese people; the making of Japanese culture and institutions; the challenge of modern times and Japanese responses; militarism and imperialism; the “miracle” of postwar development; and the dialogue between tradition and modernity in the changing world.

HIST 455. Topics in Asian, African, or Latin American History (4E) (Asian topics only)

Topics in Asian, African, or Latin American history to be determined by interest of students and instructors. Possible topics: Vietnam War and revolution, African culture, and international relations in Asia. May be repeated for credit if the topic is not repetitive.

ILCC 101. Elementary Chinese I (4F)

An introduction to the basic structure of spoken and written Chinese for the student beginning study of the language. Introduction to Chinese culture and its relation to the language.

ILCC 102. Elementary Chinese II (4S)

A continuation of the study of basic grammar with increased attention given to conversation skills. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives if not used to satisfy the Core Curriculum International Language requirement. Prerequisite: ILCC 101 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 201. Intermediate Chinese I (4F)

A continuation of the study of grammar, with additional practice in speaking, writing, and reading. Prerequisite: ILCC 102 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 202. Intermediate Chinese II (4S)

While continuing to study the grammatical constructions of basic Chinese, students are also introduced to reading and writing at greater levels of complexity. Prerequisite: ILCC 201 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 355. Advanced Chinese: Chinese Culture (4AF)

Through newspaper articles, short stories and essays, TV plays and movies, students will study issues underlying today’s China: democratization, education, women, economic reform, and conflicts between modernization and tradition. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 335. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 362. Advanced Chinese: Introduction to Literature (4AF)

Students will study short literary texts representing several periods and genres. Particular attention will be paid to the social and historical context of the literature. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. Written assignments will be based primarily on the readings. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 306. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 363. Topics in Chinese Literature (4AS)

Close study of selected major literary works from the May Fourth Period to the Post-Mao Era. The course will normally focus on a theme, movement, genre or period which links the selected works in a common or conflicting tradition. Students will write short papers, reflecting both on the content and the style of the literary works. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 307. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCT 106. Introduction to World Literature (4F) (Asian topics only)

Literature is an expression of a particular culture’s highest aspirations. By studying the literary expressions that have developed within varying cultural traditions, we can come to a richer understanding of the breadth and depth of the human experience, and we can also develop a greater sensitivity to cultural multiplicity. This course provides an opportunity to study, at some depth, literary texts produced within traditions that are not encompassed by the English-speaking world. Since, by necessity, we will be reading translated materials, we will also look at questions of translation, both linguistically and culturally. The specific content of the course will vary. Topics that may be covered include Latin American literature, Francophone literature, various European literatures, as well as comparative and thematic literary topics.

PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy (4E) (Asian topics only)

This course provides students with the opportunity to think critically and systematically about fundamental problems of life and the nature of the universe, with materials drawn from a wide variety of intellectual traditions, ancient and modern, Western and non-Western. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Humanistic Foundations.

PHIL 304. Values Inquiry (4E) (Asian topics only)

The goal of this course is to bring together students from multiple majors to share their perspectives on a selected topic in a way that illuminates and critically examines philosophical and religious traditions, makes cross-disciplinary connections, and facilitates integration of their liberal arts education. Participants in this seminar read texts from the world’s philosophical and religious traditions against the background of their cultural context. Students are invited to enter into conversation with these texts as they learn to examine their own values and to question their deliberations in making choices. Various systems of thought, moral preferences, and ideological judgments are critically studied with a view to their contemporary relevance. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.

PHIL/RELG 351. East Asian Philosophies and Religions (4S)

A systematic study of the major schools of thought in China and Japan, including Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Shinto, as well as works by contemporary Japanese philosophers. Particular attention will be paid to the historical development of East Asian thought and its contemporary relevance. Cross-listed as RELG 351. Students may receive credit for either course, but not both. Prerequisite: one course in religious studies or philosophy.

PHIL 352/RELG 352. South Asian Philosophies and Religions (4F)

An intensive and extensive study of the history, beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Indian Buddhism, and Jainism as reflected in their canonical texts, with special reference to the Vedic scriptures, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, early Buddhist sutras, and philosophical writings. The interplay between philosophical and theological concerns will be studied, and the contemporary relevance of the tradition will be examined. Cross-listed as RELG 352. Students may receive credit for either course, but not both. Prerequisite: one course in religious studies or philosophy.

PHIL 380. Philosophical Topics and Thinkers (4E) (Asian topics only)

A systematic analysis of either a specific topic in philosophy or the writings of one philosopher. The topic chosen (for example, universalism and multi-culturalism) or thinker (for example, Plato) will vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy.

POSC 333. Asian Politics (4AF)

This course examines the major trends and developments in Asian politics. An important theme in this course is how Asian countries respond to competing policy needs in their pursuit of growth, political order, and national unity. The course casts a wide net, and examines politics in the three major sub-regions of Asia: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The course pays special attention to issues of political economy and political culture in the region. The course also examines the Western and specifically the U.S. relationship with Asia.

RELG 110. Introduction to World Religions (4E) (Asian topics only)

A comparative study of the history, beliefs, and practices of major religious traditions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, or Native American and African religions. Selected aspects of these traditions are examined (for example, conceptions of human nature, ritual, morality law, cosmology, visions of salvation). This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements in Humanistic Foundations.

RELG 200. Foundations of Islam (4S)

Focuses on understanding Islam as a religious system which has come to influence the lives and institutions of Muslims throughout much of the world. Themes will include the Quran and Hadith, women and gender, law mysticism, constructions of sacred history, and the relationships between Islam and politics in the modern world. Attention will also be given to the three primary branches: Sunni, Shiite, and Sufi.

TFMS 210. Japanese Performance Traditions (4F)

Japan’s rich theater traditions will be explored by examining early Japanese religious rituals and festivals and their evolution into traditional theater forms. The course will focus principally on traditional theater still performed regularly today: noh, kyôgen, bunraku, and kabuki. Instructional methods will include lectures, discussion, readings, slide presentations, and screenings. Several class meetings will also be devoted to learning basic physical movements of performance styles to gain a physical understanding of traditional performance forms. Formerly THEA 245. This course fulfills the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives.

TFMS 315. Japanese Film (4AF)

This course will introduce students to the political and sociological histories of Japan through the lens of select pre-and post-World War II Japanese films, including animé. Study of major film directors, genres, or historical and cultural events may constitute the focus of the course. Instructional methods will include lectures, discussions, readings, film screenings, presentations, and research papers.

TMFS 425. Advanced Topics in Film and Media (4E) (Asian topics only)

Specialized study of a theme, problem, movement, or figure in the theory and practice of film and media will constitute the topics field for this course. Included among potential offerings are topics such as these: feminist film theory; television and the construction of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity; identity formations in cybermedia; narrative production of “home” in daytime soap operas; science fiction films and commodifications of future; or Steven Spielberg and the phenomenon of mall movies. The subject matter for the semester will be announced prior to each offering of the course. Depending on topic, may be repeated for credit. Formerly THEA 435. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.