What is Asian Studies?

Associate Professors Chaney (History), Faries (Asian Studies, chair), Fatone (Music), He (Economics), Nguyen (Art and Visual Culture), and Melnick Dyer (Religious Studies); Assistant Professors Garrison (Psychology), Lu (Chinese), McGaughey (Japanese), and Wiesinger (Asian Studies); Visiting Assistant Professor Arora; Senior Lecturer George (Hispanic Studies); Lecturers Konoeda (Japanese) and Miao (Chinese)

In a globalized society, it is essential to find alternatives to U.S.-centric world views and create opportunities to center and learn from equally important voices and perspectives from around the world. We have much to learn from Asia’s complex experiences with local, regional, and global flows of privilege, power, colonialism, and ethnic conflict.

Asian popular music, cinema, and literature and film–including 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 encounter the new Asia. Despite an increasingly interconnected world, we encounter troubling stereotypes, prejudice, and racism within and toward Asia in today’s fast-paced global media, and politics, as well as in everyday encounters.

By learning about the languages, histories, philosophies, politics, economies, literatures, arts, religions, and cultures of the many peoples of Asia and its diasporas, students gain the knowledge, contexts, and intercultural competency necessary to engage with a large part of the world that is largely under-acknowledged in academic institutions outside Asia.

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to encourage students to deepen their study of Asian cultures 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 Asian Studies. In addition to the majors, the Program in Asian Studies offers minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Asian Studies. Students are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a semester (or a full year) in China or Japan, as an integral part of the curriculum, for linguistic and cultural immersion, and for exploration on the ground. Faculty and students in the program also have fun together, participating in regular language tables and in events to celebrate cultural traditions of Asia.

Planning for the Major or Minor

The program offers three majors, Chinese, Asian Studies, and Japanese. The major requirements and courses are listed below. Each of these majors gives students an opportunity to develop an understanding of 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, Asian Studies, and Japanese. More information on the Program in Asian Studies is available on the website (bates.edu/asian/).