Asian Studies

Founded in 1964, the program in Asian Studies is administered by a committee of faculty drawn from multiple departments. It involves a wide variety of courses and activities aimed at enhancing appreciation and understanding of the art, life, and thought of the cultures of Asia, past and present. We concentrate on three regions: East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam), South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet), and Central Asia (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, the Islamic former Soviet republics, Manchuria, inner and outer Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang). The program consists of courses on Asia in nine departments, extracurricular events on campus, and off-campus studies. An interdisciplinary, regionally-focused major in Asian Studies is offered, which is especially suitable for students with an overriding interest in one or more regions of Asia whose academic needs cannot be met by majoring in a single discipline. Students who do major in single discipline departments are strongly encouraged to minor in East Asian Studies or South Asian Studies, although in exceptional cases a double major with Asian Studies can be approved.

Requirements for the Asian Studies Major

A total of 66 credits:

I. 18 credits in a disciplinary-based department: Art History, Asian Languages, History, Political Science/International Relations, Religion, and Sociology and Anthropology which must include:

  • at least 12 credits in courses related to Asia
  • 6 credits in an appropriate methodology course:
    • ARTH 298 Seminar for Art History Majors
    • CAMS 330 Cinema Studies Seminar (not offered in 2020-21)
    • HIST 298 Junior Colloquium
    • LCST 245 The Critical Toolbox: Who's Afraid of Theory?
    • POSC 230 Methods of Political Research
    • RELG 300 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
    • SOAN 330 Sociological Thought and Theory
    • SOAN 331 Anthropological Thought and Theory

II. 42 additional credits in Asia-related courses (including appropriate off-campus credits, excluding ASST 400 and language-department courses below 228 or their equivalents); these must include:

  • at least 6 credits in each of three distribution areas: Literary/Artistic Analysis, Humanistic Inquiry, and Social Inquiry
  • a maximum of 18 credits at the 100 level
  • a minimum of 24 credits at the 200 level or above

III. 6 credits of Senior Integrative Exercise (ASST 400), normally taken during winter term of the senior year.

The Senior Integrative Exercise, normally is a research paper of 30 pages or more that delves into some aspect of the student's focal region. The project normally is developed by the student during the fall term, and proposed to, and approved by the Asian Studies Committee, which assigns two faculty members as readers and advisers for the project. The first draft of the exercise is due by the end of the ninth week of winter term, and a final draft by the end of the fourth week of spring term. The student defends the project before the two readers, and presents the research publicly to interested members of the community.

IV. A regional focus: East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam), South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet), or Central Asia (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iran, the Islamic former Soviet republics, Manchuria, inner and outer Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang) involving:

  • at least 48 credits (exclusive of the Senior Integrative Exercise) related to one's focal region
  • at least 6 credits related to an Asian region different from one's focal region.

Courses by regional focus, subdivided by distribution area:

EAST ASIA:

  • ARTH 165 Japanese Art and Culture
  • ARTH 166 Chinese Art and Culture
  • ARTH 209 Chinese Painting (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ARTH 220 The Origins of Manga: Japanese Prints
  • ARTH 266 Arts of the Japanese Tea Ceremony
  • ARTH 267 Gardens in China and Japan
  • ARTH 268 Art History in Kyoto Program: History of Gardens and Landscape Architecture in Japan (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ARTH 269 Art History in Kyoto Program: Projects in Japanese Garden Design and History (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ARTH 321 Arts of the Chinese Scholar's Studio (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ARTS 236 Ceramics: Vessels for Tea
  • ASLN 111 Writing Systems (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ASLN 260 Historical Linguistics (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ASST 283 Japanese History and Culture
  • ASST 284 Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Seminar: History and Culture of Japan
  • CHIN 206 Chinese in Cultural Context
  • CHIN 240 Chinese Cinema in Translation (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 245 Chinese Vision of the Past in Translation
  • CHIN 250 Chinese Popular Culture in Translation (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 251 Heroes, Heroines, Exceptional Lives in Chinese Biographical Histories (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 252 The Chinese Language: A Linguistic and Cultural Survey
  • CHIN 258 Classical Chinese Thought: Wisdom and Advice from Ancient Masters (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 347 Advanced Chinese: Reading the News (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 348 Advanced Chinese: The Mass Media (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 355 Contemporary Chinese Short Stories (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 360 Classical Chinese (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 361 Advanced Chinese: Readings in Twentieth Century Literature
  • CHIN 362 Advanced Chinese: Traditional Culture in Modern Language (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 363 Conversation and Composition: The Liberal Arts in Chinese (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CHIN 364 Chinese Classic Tales and Modern Adaptation
  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 151 History of Modern Japan (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 152 History of Early China (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 153 Modern China: China with Mao
  • HIST 154 Social Movements in Postwar Japan
  • HIST 156 History of Modern Korea (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 159 Disaster, Disease, & Rumors in East Asia
  • HIST 215 Carleton in the Archives: Carleton in China
  • HIST 253 The Cultural Revolution in China (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 255 Rumors, Gossip, and News in East Asia (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 256 Disaster, Disease, & Rumors in East Asia
  • HIST 257 Chinese Capitalism: From Local to Global (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 365 Colonialism in East Asia (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 206 Japanese in Cultural Context
  • JAPN 231 Tradition and Modernity: Japanese Cinema in Translation (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 244 The World of Anime in Translation (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 245 Modern Japanese Literature and Manga in Translation (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 345 Advanced Reading in Modern Japanese Literature: The Short Story (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 347 Advanced Reading in Contemporary Japanese Prose: Newspapers (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 351 Advanced Japanese through Documentary Film (not offered in 2020-21)
  • JAPN 353 Thinking about Environmental Issues in Japanese (not offered in 2020-21)
  • MUSC 182 Chinese Musical Instruments
  • MUSC 182J Chinese Musical Instruments (Juried)
  • MUSC 282 Chinese Musical Instruments
  • MUSC 282J Chinese Musical Instruments (Juried)
  • POSC 170 International Relations and World Politics
  • POSC 232 Political Science Lab in Focus Group Analysis (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 237 Southeast Asian Politics (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 241 Ethnic Conflict (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 264 Politics of Contemporary China
  • RELG 152 Religions in Japanese Culture
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 254 Zen Buddhism (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 276 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Japan Program: Field Studies Sacred Sites (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 279 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Japan Program: Pilgrimage & Sacred Space in Japan (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religion
  • RELG 282 Samurai: Ethics of Death and Loyalty (not offered in 2020-21)

SOUTH ASIA:

  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ENGL 245 Bollywood Nation
  • ENGL 250 Indian Fiction 1880-1980
  • ENGL 251 Contemporary Indian Fiction
  • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction
  • HIST 161 History of Modern South Asia from the Mughals to Modi
  • HIST 259 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representations (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 266 History of Islam in South Asia
  • HIST 268 Globalization & Local Responses in India Program: History, Globalization, and Politics in Modern India
  • HIST 270 Nuclear Nations: India and Pakistan as Rival Siblings (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 359 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representations (not offered in 2020-21)
  • MUSC 180 Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music
  • MUSC 180J Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music
  • MUSC 181 Sitar
  • MUSC 181J Sitar (Juried)
  • MUSC 248 Music of South Asia
  • MUSC 280 Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music
  • MUSC 280J Raga:Voc/Instr Study Hindustani (Juried)
  • MUSC 281 Sitar
  • MUSC 281J Sitar (Juried)
  • POSC 170 International Relations and World Politics
  • POSC 237 Southeast Asian Politics (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 241 Ethnic Conflict (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 378 Political Economy & Ecology of Southeast Asia: Social Changes in Southeast Asia (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 379 Political Economy and Ecology of S.E. Asia: Diversity of Social Ecological Systems in Southeast Asia (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 122 Introduction to Islam (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 150 Religions of India (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 155 Hinduism: An Introduction
  • RELG 222 Politics, Medicine, and the Self in Asian Religion (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 237 Yoga: Religion, History, Practice (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 238 The Sacred Body (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 245 Buddha (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 263 Sufism (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 265 Religion and Violence: Hindus, Muslims, Jews (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religion
  • RELG 283 Mysticism and Gender
  • RELG 289 Global Religions in Minnesota
  • RELG 353 Saints, Goddesses, and Whores (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 362 Spirit Possession (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 365 Mysticism
  • SOAN 257 Culture and Politics in India
  • WGST 310 Asian Mystiques Demystified (not offered in 2020-21)

CENTRAL ASIA:

  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 265 Central Asia in the Modern Age
  • HIST 360 Muslims and Modernity
  • RELG 122 Introduction to Islam (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 263 Sufism (not offered in 2020-21)

V. One year of study of an appropriate Asian language, or its equivalent

For languages offered at Carleton, this will involve completion of a language through 103, or its equivalent. For languages not offered at Carleton, which may be studied through off-campus programs, summer study, or special arrangement at Carleton, it will involve completion of the equivalent of 103. Language (as opposed to literature) courses may not be applied to the major. The following courses do not count towards the 66 credits needed for the Asian Studies major.

Languages available at Carleton through special arrangement may include: Uzbek (Adeeb Khalid), Tamil (Kristin Bloomer).

VI. Normally, at least one term of off-campus study in Asia Students interested in studying in Asia may apply to one of a number of overseas programs. Carleton College has several of its own term-long off-campus studies programs. The Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Off-Campus Seminar offers courses in Japanese history and culture in addition to linguistics.  Gardens, Landscape and Built Environment in Japan also brings students to Kyoto where they study gardens and architecture through field study. The Carleton program in Political Economy and Ecology of Southeast Asia provides opportunities for students to learn about social and ecological changes in Thailand, Lao PDR and Myanmar. The Carleton program, India: Globalization and Local Responses, focuses on social structures and institutions in India and the intersections with development, sustainability and gender relations.

Carleton also cooperates with several other colleges to sponsor the Associated Kyoto Program, which takes 50 students and seven faculty members to Japan for an academic year. Carleton also participates in a one-year program at Waseda University sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). The ACM Program in India consists of five months stay in Pune, where students study Marathi, take academic courses centered on India, and investigate an independent study topic. The program in Hong Kong at the Chinese University, also for students from ACM institutions, normally lasts one year, though a semester-long program is also possible. Carleton, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Swarthmore, Grinnell and Holy Cross jointly sponsor the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education Program (ISLE), in which students and a faculty member study at the University of Peradeniya near Kandy, the old capital in the middle of the island. Opportunities to study in Asia also are available through a variety of non-Carleton programs and non-consortial programs.

Courses taken on off-campus programs may be applied to the major. Because of the paucity of Carleton courses in South Asian languages or on many aspects of Central Asia, off-campus programs generally form an important component of the major for those who focus in those two Asian regions.

Asian Studies Courses (ASST)

ASST 100 The Cultural Life of Plants in China This seminar will examine the role of plants have played in China from ancient times through the end of the imperial era.  It will investigate the uses of different types of plants (fruits, vegetables, flowers, grasses, etc.) in such areas as medicine, food, literature, art, and landscape management. We will seek to understand the ways in which plants function across and make connection between various aspects of human activities. In addition, the course will emphasize how plants have actively helped form Chinese cultural practices and systems of meaning throughout various historical periods. 6 credits; AI, WR1, IS; Fall; Kathleen M Ryor
ASST 110 Elementary Hindi-Urdu This course will introduce students to basic spoken and written Hindi and Urdu, languages spoken widely across India and Pakistan. The course will teach speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as these are used in everyday social and cultural situations. While in elementary spoken form Hindi and Urdu are almost indistinguishable, they are written in two distinct scripts, both of which students will learn.  6 credits; NE; Not offered 2020-21
ASST 130 Globalizaton & Local Responses in India Program: Tourism and Development in India This course will examine concepts and practices regarding socio-economic development in India, with a special focus on the role of tourism as part of the process of globalization. We will study the scholarly writings and debates around the varied agendas and ideologies concerning development, and analyze the different approaches to economic growth that have historically been dominant in India. As part of our learning process, we will visit numerous sites wherein economic development is being undertaken, including urban and rural locales as well as tourist and pilgrimage sites. This course will include scholarly readings, instructor and guest lectures, and require student presentations of their work. 3 credits; S/CR/NC; HI, IS; Winter
ASST 135 Exploring India: Orientation/Orientalism Images of India are ever-present in American media and pop culture. The land of Gandhi, call-centers, a multitude of religious faiths, the Taj Mahal, oppressed women, vast poverty and wealth. Come and learn about India, a region of immense contrasts and diversities, home to more than one billion people. We will explore Indian history and geography, cuisine and traditions, people and their languages, art, architecture and music, while being introduced to the Hindi and Urdu languages. Our class materials will include scholarly writings, guest speakers, popular cinema, documentary films, poetry, music, and food. 3 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
ASST 282 Art History in Kyoto Program: Religion, Politics and Architecture in Pre-Modern Japan This course will consist of a series of lectures focusing on topics such as Shintoism, Buddhism, architecture and environmental issues, etc. In addition to the lectures, there will be related field trips beyond those required for Art History 268. 3 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
ASST 283 Japanese History and Culture In this seminar we will explore various aspects of Japan, including, but not limited to history, religion, literature (including poetry), music, anime and manga, film, food, political structures, and aspects of popular culture. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Mike J Flynn
ASST 284 Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Seminar: History and Culture of Japan This course is an introduction to several aspects of Japanese society, taking advantage of the location of the Linguistics OCS seminar in Kyoto. It consists of readings and lectures about important events in historical and contemporary Japan, and will include visits to sites that illuminate those events in important ways. In addition to Kyoto and nearby places, there will be excursions to Tokyo and Hiroshima.  6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Mike J Flynn
ASST 286 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Japan Program: Topics in Japanese Religion and Culture This course will consist of a series of lectures on topics such as religious architecture and Buddhist meditation. In addition to the lectures, there will be related field trips. Prerequisite: Participation in OCS Program. 3 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
ASST 319 Buddhist Studies India Program: History of South Asian Buddhism This course provides students with an introduction to the history of South Asian Buddhism. Using primary and secondary sources and resources available to us in Bodh Gaya, we evaluate competing perspectives on the history of Buddhism and debate significant historical and ethical questions. How did Buddhism relate to other ancient Indian religions? What was the relationship between Buddhism and ancient Indian political, social, and economic structures? How did Buddhism change during its 2000 years in India? What impact did South Asian Buddhism have on the ancient and medieval world? What is the relationship between modern Buddhism and ancient Buddhism? Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Buddhist Studies India Program required. 7-8 credits; NE; Fall; Arthur P McKeown
ASST 391 Buddhist Studies India Program: Independent Study Project Students spend three weeks of the program engaged in independent study of a topic related to Buddhist Studies, utilizing the unique resources available in India and neighboring countries. At the completion of the Independent Study period, students return to the Burmese Vihar, where their work is reviewed by their advisor and presented to the group. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Global Engagement Program required. 3-4 credits; NE; Fall; Arthur P McKeown
ASST 400 Integrative Exercise 1-6 credit; S/NC; Fall, Winter, Spring; Asuka Sango