Academic program



In the early years of the twenty-first century, Asia has gained enormous visibility across the globe. Knowledge of Asian languages gives access to enduring, complex, and constantly developing societies to which the rest of the world has repeatedly turned for insight. An understanding of Asian cultures complements language study, concentrating on ways Asians live their lives and interact with the larger world. Asian studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to acquaint students with the economies, histories, politics, arts, languages, literatures, and religions of Asian societies.

Planning for the Major or Minor. The program offers three majors, Chinese, Japanese, and East Asian studies. The major requirements and courses are listed below. Each of these majors gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of East Asia by intensive study of Chinese or Japanese and to pursue topical courses introducing some of the most accomplished civilizations and dynamic societies in today's world. In addition to the majors, the Program in Asian Studies offers minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Asian studies. More information on the Program in Asian Studies is available on the website (bates.edu/asian/).

The Chinese major is built around a structured sequence of instruction in language skills leading to competency in spoken and written Mandarin, with classical Chinese taught at the advanced level. Emphasis is placed on familiarizing students with the rich cultural heritage of China's 4,000-year history, which is transmitted and embodied by the native language of more than one billion people. The program strongly recommends that majors spend their junior year on a departmentally recognized study-abroad program in mainland China or Taiwan.

Major Requirements. The major consists of a minimum of twelve courses that must include:

1) Language:
a) CHI 101–102. Beginning Chinese I and II.
CHI 201–202. Intermediate Chinese I and II.
CHI 301–302. Upper-Level Modern Chinese I and II.
Students with previous experience in Chinese who begin their study of Chinese at the second-year level may elect to fulfill this requirement with CHI 201–202, 301–302, 401–402 or the equivalent.

b) One course at the 400-level from among the following:
CHI 401. Advanced Chinese I.
CHI 402. Advanced Chinese II.
CHI 415. Readings in Classical Chinese.
CHI s42. Readings in Modern Chinese Culture.
CHI 401 and/or 402 may be used in fulfillment of either this requirement or (a) above but not both.

2) Literature and Culture:
a) AS/CI 207. Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation.

b) Two courses from among the following:
AS/CI 223. Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation.
AS/CI 225. Art and Politics in China.
AS/CI 312. Kungfu Cinemas: Asia and Beyond.
INDS s10. Between Past and Future: Contemporary Chinese Art since 1980.
Any first-year seminar on China.
CHI 415, 421, or s42 may also be used to fulfill part of this requirement if not being used toward fulfillment of requirement (1b) above.

Students may also apply, at most, one of the following courses toward the fulfillment of this requirement:
AS/HI 171. China and Its Culture.
AS/AV 234. Chinese Arts and Visual Culture.
AS/HI 274. China in Revolution.
AS/RE 208. Religions in China.

3) Thesis Sequence:
a) ASIA 320. Individual and Society in East Asia.

b) CHI 457 or CHI 458. Senior Thesis. Students are expected to utilize some source materials in Chinese in conducting research for the thesis. Qualified students may elect to write the thesis in Chinese.

Courses Taken Abroad. Students may petition the program to have courses taken in their study-abroad program applied toward the fulfillment of requirements (1a) and (2b) above.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the Chinese major.

Advanced Placement. Students may receive credit for CHI 102 with a score of four on the Chinese Advanced Placement examination, or credit for CHI 201 with a score of five.

Minor. A minor requires seven courses, six of which must be in Chinese. At least one of the seven courses must involve the study of literature or culture. A student may petition to have up to three comparable courses, completed at other institutions in the United States or abroad, apply toward the minor.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor in Chinese.



The major in Japanese presents an opportunity for an in-depth and focused study of Japanese language and culture. The major places emphasis on the student's acquisition of oral and written language proficiency as well as on the development of cultural awareness and competency. The program strongly recommends that majors spend their junior year at the Associated Kyoto Program or another approved year-long study-abroad program in Japan.

Major Requirements. The major consists of a minimum of twelve courses that must include:

1) Language:
a) JPN 101–102. Beginning Japanese I and II.
JPN 201–202. Intermediate Japanese I and II.
JPN 301–302. Intermediate Japanese III and IV.

b) JPN 401. Advanced Japanese I or
JPN 402. Advanced Japanese II.

2) Literature and Culture:
a) AS/JA 125. Japanese Literature and Society.

b) Two courses from the following:
AS/HI 110. East Asia between Tradition and Modernity.
AS/JA 130. Japanese Film.
AS/JA 232. Japanese Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization.
FYS 435. The Soft Power of Pop Culture: An Introduction to Japanese Visual Cultures.
INDS 255. Female Authorship: Japanese Women Writers and Filmmakers.

Students may apply one of the following courses toward the fulfillment of this requirement:
AS/RE 209. Religions of Japan.
AV/AS 236. Japanese Art and Culture.
AV/AS 247. The Art of Zen Buddhism.

3) Thesis Sequence:
a) ASIA 320. Individual and Society in East Asia.

b) JPN 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.
Students are expected to utilize some source materials in Japanese when conducting research for the thesis. Qualified students may elect to write the thesis in Japanese.

Courses Taken Abroad. Students may petition the program to have courses taken in their study-abroad program (including the Bates Fall Semester Abroad) applied toward the fulfillment of requirements (1a) and (2b).

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the Japanese major.

Advanced Placement. Students may receive credit for JPN 102 with a score of four on the Japanese Advanced Placement examination and JPN 201 with a score of five.

Minor. A minor requires seven courses, six of which must be in Japanese. At least one of the seven courses must involve a study of literature or culture. A student may petition to have up to three comparable courses, completed at other institutions in either the United States or abroad, applied toward the minor. Advanced Placement courses may not be applied toward the minor. Majors and minors in Japanese may count no more than one course toward both the Asian Studies minor and their major.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses toward the minor in Japanese.

The East Asian studies major provides students with a broad introduction to the cultures and societies of East Asia and their interrelationships. The major includes, first, a core curriculum that consists of two years of Chinese or Japanese language study as well as two courses introducing the East Asian experience, and, second, a major concentration that focuses either on traditional or modern society and culture. East Asian studies majors are also encouraged to spend at least one semester at an approved program in mainland China, Taiwan, or Japan. Majors in Chinese or Japanese may count no more than two courses toward both their major in East Asian Studies and their major in Chinese or Japanese.

Major Requirements. Students majoring in East Asian studies must complete the core requirement, a major concentration, and the thesis sequence. Students must take at least one course dealing primarily with China and one dealing primarily with Japan.

The following core courses are required of all majors:
1) Either
Four courses of Chinese language and
AS/HI 171. China and Its Culture.
or
Four courses of Japanese language and one of the following:
AS/JA 125. Japanese Literature and Society.
AS/RE 209. Religions of Japan.
AV/AS 236. Japanese Art and Culture.

2) AS/HI 110. East Asia between Tradition and Modernity.

3) Each major elects a major concentration, either East Asian Cultural Traditions or Modern East Asian Society and Culture.

a) East Asian Cultural Traditions: Three courses on traditional East Asian culture from at least two of the following four groups:
I) Literature:
AS/JA 125. Japanese Literature and Society.
AS/CI 207. Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation.
CHI 415. Readings in Classical Chinese.
FYS 386. Chinese Traditions, Great and Small.

II) Visual and performing art:
AVC 229. Modern Vietnamese Culture through Film.
AS/JA 130. Japanese Film.
AS/CI 225. Art and Politics in China.
AS/CI 312. Kungfu Cinemas: Asia and Beyond.
AV/AS 234. Chinese Visual Culture.
AV/AS 236. Japanese Art and Culture.
AV/AS 243. Buddhist Visual Worlds.
AV/AS 246. Visual Narratives: Storytelling in East Asian Art.
AV/AS 247. The Art of Zen Buddhism.
CI/TH 230. Drama and Theater of China.
FYS 435. The Soft Power of Pop Culture: An Introduction to Japanese Visual Cultures.
INDS s10. Between Past and Future: Contemporary Chinese Art since 1980.


III) Religion:
AS/RE 208. Religions in China.
AS/RE 209. Religions in Japan.
AS/RE 251. Religions of Tibet.
AS/RE 309. Buddhism in East Asia.

IV) History:
AS/HI 171. China and Its Culture (if not taken as a core course).
AS/HI 172. Japanese History: From Jōmon to J-Pop. (if not taken as a core course).

b) Modern East Asian Society and Culture: Three courses from the following list:
AS/JA 130. Japanese Film.
AS/CI 223. Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation.
AS/CI 225. Art and Politics in China.
AS/EC 231. The Economic Development of Japan.
AS/JA 232. Japanese Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization.
AS/EC 241. China's Economic Reforms.
AS/EC 242. Work and Workers in China.
AS/PY 260. Cultural Psychology.
AS/HI 274. China in Revolution.
AS/CI 312. Kungfu Cinemas: Asia and Beyond.
FYS 435. The Soft Power of Pop Culture: An Introduction to Japanese Visual Cultures.
FYS 439. Defining Difference: How China and the US Think about Racial Diversity.
INDS 255. Female Authorship: Japanese Women Writers and Filmmakers.
INDS s10. Between Past and Future: Contemporary Chinese Art since 1980.

4) One additional course from the general lists of courses in Asian Studies, Chinese, or Japanese (i.e., any course with the designation ASIA, AS, CHI, CI, JA, JPN), with the exception of those courses that focus on South or Southeast Asia (AV/AS 245, AS/RE 249, 250 AS/MU 252, AS/RE 308).

5) Thesis Sequence:
a) Asia 320. Individual and Society in East Asia.
b) Senior Thesis (ASIA 457 or 458).

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major in East Asian studies.

Courses Taken Abroad. Students may petition the Asian studies program to have relevant courses taken in their study-abroad program (including the Bates Fall Semester Abroad) applied toward the fulfillment of the major requirements except for ASIA 110 and the thesis sequence.

Advanced Placement. Students may receive credit for CHI 102 or JPN 102 with a score of 4 on the corresponding language's AP examination, or credit for CHI 201 or JPN 201 with a score of 5.

Minor in Asian Studies. Students may fulfill a minor in Asian studies by completing six courses from the list of courses in Asian studies, Chinese, and Japanese. In consultation with an Asian studies faculty member (chosen or appointed by the Asian studies chair) and in accordance with program guidelines, students may design their own course of study. Among the six courses, at least four should be related as a coherent group. Examples include a group of courses related to Buddhist studies, South Asia, gender issues, environmental concerns, a specific historical period, or the socioeconomic or political situation of a particular region.

The minor may include one Short Term course and a maximum of four language courses. No more than two of those language courses may be counted toward the coherent group. With the approval of the minor advisor, students may apply up to two courses taken on study-abroad programs toward the minor, as well as courses taken on Bates Fall Semester Abroad programs in Asia. Majors in Chinese, Japanese, or East Asian studies and minors in Chinese or Japanese may count no more than one course toward both the Asian studies minor and their major or minor.

Additional Courses for the Minor. All courses designated ASIA, AS, CI, CHI, JA, or JPN may be taken to fulfill the minor in Asian studies. In addition, the following courses may be taken to fulfill the minor in Asian studies:

ANTH 240. Person and Society in South Asia.
ANTH 263. Buddhism and the Social Order.
ANTH 264. India and Its World: Bhangra, Bollywood, and Buddhism.

AV/RE 244. Visual Narratives in South and Southeast Asia.
AVC 248. The Art of Rock-Cut Architecture in Asia.

EN/WS 121G. Asian American Women Writers.
ENG 260. Passages to and from India.
EN/WS 395s. Asian American Women Writers, Filmmakers, and Critics.

FYS 435. The Soft Power of Pop Culture: An Introduction to Japanese Visual Cultures.
FYS 439. Defining Difference: How China and the United States Think about Racial Diversity.

MUS s25. Performing Musical Art of Indonesia.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pall/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor in Asian Studies.