2015-16 General Bulletin

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301 Mather House
Phone: 216.368.2623
Jia-Chen Fu, Program Advisor

Asian studies has become an increasingly important area of study in North American colleges and universities. This is due in part to a growing acknowledgment that Asian cultures are of significance both regionally and globally. The Asian Studies Program offers students the opportunity to explore these cultures from a multidisciplinary perspective so that they are able to understand the social, cultural, political, and other forces that shape and have shaped Asian nations.

The Asian Studies Program draws on faculty and courses from such departments as anthropology, art history and art, economics, modern languages and literatures, history, philosophy, political science, and religious studies. A current list of approved courses is available from the program advisor. Departmental seminars and senior capstone courses in the Asian Studies Program may count toward the completion of the SAGES General Education Requirements.

The undergraduate program in Asian studies offers a major and a minor. Students are encouraged to take courses in different disciplines in order to obtain broad exposure to the languages, literature, art, culture, religious traditions, and political, economic, and social institutions of Asian countries. The Asian Studies Program also offers an honors program to qualified majors.

In addition to course offerings, the Asian Studies Program sponsors extracurricular activities that enhance the formal study of Asia and give students additional opportunities to explore and understand Asia’s importance in the global community. The program sponsors lectures and films and administers a Web site devoted to Asia. It also encourages students to participate in study abroad programs in Asian countries and to utilize Asian resources at the Cleveland Museum of Art and other local institutions.

Program Advisory Committee

Ananya Dasgupta, PhD
(University of Pennsylvania)
Assistant Professor, Department of History

Jia-Chen Fu, PhD
(Yale University)
Assistant Professor, Department of History; Program Advisor, Asian Studies Program

William E. Deal, PhD
(Harvard University)
Severance Professor in the History of Religion; Department of Religious Studies; Department of Cognitive Science

Noelle Giuffrida, PhD
(University of Kansas)
Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Art

Melvyn C. Goldstein, PhD
(University of Washington)
John Reynolds Harkness Professor, Department of Anthropology; Co-Director, Center for Research on Tibet

Haomin Gong, PhD
(University of California, Davis)
Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Vanessa Hildebrand, PhD
(Washington University, St. Louis)
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Kelly M. McMann, PhD
(University of Michigan)
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Paul Schroeder, PhD
(Ohio State University)
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Lihong Shi, PhD
(Tulane University)
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Undergraduate Program


The Asian studies major, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree, consists of 31 credit hours, including:

  • At least 16 credit hours (two years) of Chinese or Japanese language
  • 15 credit hours of Asia-related courses, selected in consultation with the program advisor 

The 15 hours in Asia-related courses must be at the 200 or 300 level and come from at least three different departments.


The minor in Asian studies consists of 18 credit hours of Asia-related courses, selected in consultation with the program advisor. Only one year (8 credits) of language study (Japanese or Chinese) counts toward the minor. 

The 18 hours in Asia-related courses must be at the 200 or 300 level and come from at least three different departments.

Honors Program

Asian Studies Honors is a semester-long program for Asian studies majors, normally taken during the senior year, which involves researching and writing an honors thesis. Honors program requirements include the completion of 12 semester hours of approved Asia-related courses, at least two semesters of study of an Asian language, and maintenance of a GPA of at least 3.0 overall and 3.2 in Asian studies courses.

A participating student enrolls in ASIA 398 Honors Thesis and writes a thesis under the direction of an Asian studies faculty member. The student also receives guidance from a second reader, who must be a member of the Asian Studies Program. A third reader, who need not be a member of the Asian Studies Program, is optional. Each student must maintain regular contact with the supervising faculty member in the various stages of researching and writing the thesis. Detailed guidelines and deadlines for the course are available from the program advisor.

Courses Available in East Asian Studies

Language Courses:
CHIN 101Elementary Chinese I4
CHIN 102Elementary Chinese II4
CHIN 201Intermediate Chinese I4
CHIN 202Intermediate Chinese II4
CHIN 203Intermediate Chinese III4
CHIN 240Modern Chinese Literature in Translation3
CHIN 250Classical Chinese Literature in Translation3
CHIN 301Advanced Chinese I4
CHIN 302Advanced Chinese II4
CHIN 303Topics in Chinese3
CHIN 304Topics in Chinese3
CHIN 315Business Chinese3
CHIN 320Chinese Popular Culture3
CHIN 330Chinese Cinema3
CHIN 380Contemporary Chinese Texts I3
CHIN 399Independent Study1 - 3
CHIN 415Business Chinese3
JAPN 101Elementary Japanese I4
JAPN 102Elementary Japanese II4
JAPN 201Intermediate Japanese I4
JAPN 202Intermediate Japanese II4
JAPN 301Advanced Japanese I4
JAPN 302Advanced Japanese II4
JAPN 225Japanese Popular Culture3
JAPN 245Classical Japanese Literature in Translation3
JAPN 255Modern Japanese Literature in Translation3
JAPN 350Contemporary Japanese Texts I *3
JAPN 351Contemporary Japanese Texts II *3
JAPN 355Modern Japanese Novels and the West3
JAPN 397Senior Thesis I3
JAPN 398Senior Thesis II3
JAPN 399Independent Study1 - 3
ANTH 312Ethnography of Southeast Asia3
ANTH 317Asian Medical Systems3
ANTH 331The Most Ancient Near East3
ANTH 333Roots of Ancient India: Archaeology of South Asia3
ANTH 352Japanese Culture and Society3
ANTH 353Chinese Culture and Society3
ANTH 354Health and Healing in East Asia3
ASIA 235Asian Cinema and Drama3
ASIA 288Imperial China: The Great Qing3
ASIA 289Reform, Revolution, Republics: China 1895 to Present3
ASIA 398Honors Thesis1 - 4
ASIA 399Independent Study1 - 3
Art History:
ARTH 203The Arts of Asia3
ARTH 204Arts of East Asia3
ARTH 208Arts of Japan3
ARTH 302Buddhist Art in Asia *3
ARTH 307Arts of China *3
ARTH 340Issues in the Art of China *3
ARTH 341Issues in the Art of Japan3
ARTH 342Issues in Indian and Southeast Asian Art3
ARTH 398Independent Study in Art History1 - 3
HSTY 137Introduction to Modern South Asia3
HSTY 157Women's Histories in South Asia3
HSTY 285Modern Japan3
HSTY 288Imperial China: The Great Qing3
HSTY 289Reform, Revolution, Republics: China 1895 to Present3
HSTY 324Issues in Indian and Southeast Asian Art3
HSTY 383Readings in PRC History *3
HSTY 385Readings in Society and Culture in Modern Chinese History *3
Political Science:
PHIL 321Advanced Indian Philosophy3
POSC 370CThe United States and Asia *3
POSC 370DThe Politics of China *3
POSC 370HChina's Foreign Policy *3
Religious Studies
RLGN 217Buddhism3
RLGN 306Interpreting Buddhist Texts3
RLGN 108The History of Yoga: The Yoga of Transformation and the Transformation of Yoga3
RLGN 204Introduction to Asian Religions3
RLGN 216Hinduism I: The Vedic, Epic and Puranic Periods3
RLGN 237Religion and Dance in South Asia3
WLIT 225Japanese Popular Culture3
WLIT 235Asian Cinema and Drama3
WLIT 245Classical Japanese Literature in Translation3
WLIT 255Modern Japanese Literature in Translation3
WLIT 345Japanese Women Writers3
WLIT 355Modern Japanese Novels and the West3

 These courses are simultaneously offered at the 400-level for graduate students.


ASIA 132. Introduction to Modern East Asia. 3 Units.

HSTY 132 is an introduction to the histories of modern China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam from the "dawn of the global world" in the 17th century to present. Taken together these regions make up the geographic and cultural unit commonly referred to as "East Asia." Over the course of the term, we will investigate the usefulness of this concept of "East Asia" by examining its origins as well as the sometimes convergent, sometimes divergent relations between this region and the rest of the world. We will also challenge the stereotype of a monolithic and static East Asia and see to develop a critical understanding of the internal and external forces integrating and dividing this region. We will examine how international diplomatic, commercial, military, religious, and cultural relationships shaped the individual countries as well as their relationships with each other and the world. The course sweeps over large regions of time and space. It aims to put the contemporary discussion of globalization into historical perspective by examining the long-lasting interactions of East Asian countries with each other and the rest of the world. These connections were economic, political, cultural, and psychological. Topics include: global silver and trade flows, warfare and military technology, imperial domination and revolutionary resistance, and the role of historical memory, as in Nanking or Hiroshima. Sources include historical documents, pictures, films, and memoirs. As we move through the course material our goal is not to gain total knowledge of modern East Asia, nor of China, Japan, Korea nor Vietnam. Rather, by the end of the term you should be able to identify some of the main organizing themes in modern East Asian history and develop a greater understanding of the construction and nature of historical knowledge itself. Offered as HSTY 132 and ASIA 132.

ASIA 133. Introduction to Chinese History and Civilization. 3 Units.

This course explains the continuities and discontinuities in the history of China by stressing the development and distinctive adaptations of cultural, religious, and political patterns from the origins of the Chinese civilization to the present. By focusing on major cultural, socioeconomic, and political issues such as Confucianism, Buddhism, trade relations, imperialism, and intellectual discourse in the overall Asian context (with particular reference to Korea and Japan), we discuss the historical development of China and its situation on entering the 21st century. Taking into account the key historical events in the last century, we examine the emergence of China as a modern nation-state and the fundamental transformation of Chinese society in the postwar period. Offered as ASIA 133 and HSTY 133.

ASIA 235. Asian Cinema and Drama. 3 Units.

Introduction to major Asian film directors and major traditional theatrical schools of India, Java/Bali, China, and Japan. Focus on the influence of traditional dramatic forms on contemporary film directors. Development of skills in cross-cultural analysis and comparative aesthetics. Offered as ASIA 235 and WLIT 235.

ASIA 288. Imperial China: The Great Qing. 3 Units.

This course is an introduction to the history of Imperial China, from the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 to the creation of the Chinese republic in 1912. We will explore the major historical transformations (political, economic, social, and cultural) of the last imperial dynasty, the Qing (1644-1911), and develop an understanding of the major social, political, economic, and intellectual cultural forces shaping the formation of modern China. Contrary to commonly-held ideas in both West and in China that traditional Chinese society was timeless or stagnant, historians now see dramatic and significant changes during this period--to the economy, to gender relations, to religion, and to many other aspects of life. This course surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of this era, with emphasis on recent research. The main goals of the course will be to acquaint students with the key changes and to show the interplay between economic, social, and cultural changes on the one hand and political developments on the other. By the end of the semester you should have a good sense of how Chinese society was transformed over the course of the 17th through early 20th centuries. The topics we will discuss include urbanization and commerce; gender, family and kinship; education and the examination system; opium and free trade; and ethnicity and nationalism. Offered as ASIA 288 and HSTY 288.

ASIA 289. Reform, Revolution, Republics: China 1895 to Present. 3 Units.

Completes a two-term sequence of the Chinese history survey, although HSTY 288 is not a prerequisite for this course. Beginning with the First Sino-Japanese War (1895), we review the historical development of intellectual discourse, public reaction, and political protest in later Imperial China through the creation of the People's Republic in 1949 forward to contemporary times. In contrast to the conventional description of China from a Western point of view, this course tries to explain the emergence of modern China in the context of its intellectual, political, and socio-economic transformation as experienced by Chinese in the late 19th and into the 20th century. By discussing the influence of the West, domestic rebellions, and political radicalism, we examine how the Chinese state and society interacted in search for modernization and reforms, how these reforms were continued during the Republican period, and to what extent historical patterns can be identified in China's present-day development. Offered as ASIA 289 and HSTY 289.

ASIA 398. Honors Thesis. 1 - 4 Unit.

Intensive study of a topic or problem under the direction of a faculty member, resulting in the preparation of an honors thesis.

ASIA 399. Independent Study. 1 - 3 Unit.

Tutorial in Asian Studies.