With the advent of the 21st century and the rise of Asian economies on the global stage, the impact of Asian cultures is being felt around the world. Today, through the convenience of technology and social media, students can connect directly to friends around the world with a few clicks. Asian pop music, cinema, and literature–manga, anime, Bollywood, and martial arts films–have become mainstays in the world’s media sphere, while innovative new media cultures invite the world to listen to the new Asia. What are the discourses on traditions in Asia? What is it like to be on the crest of a global and cross-cultural wave of commerce and culture? To find out, students must study both the cultures and the languages that correspond to their interests. In so doing, they broaden their scope of intellectual inquiry and also open up new personal and career paths that promise them unique opportunities.

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to encourage students to engage with the latest research on the arts, languages, literatures, histories, economies, religions, and politics of Asian societies. A hallmark of Asian Studies at Bates is our focus on giving students occasion to deepen their study of an Asian culture through courses and the senior thesis along with rigorous training and expertise in Chinese or Japanese language. The program features three majors: Chinese, Japanese, and East Asian studies. In addition to the majors, the Program in Asian Studies offers minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Asian studies.

We also have fun together—regular language tables as well as cultural events where we celebrate cultural traditions of Asia—and strongly encourage a semester (or a full year) of study abroad in China or Japan as an integral part of our curriculum for linguistic and cultural immersion and exploration on the ground.