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
    • 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 (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ARTH 166 Chinese Art and Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ARTH 209 Chinese Painting
  • ARTH 220 The Origins of Manga: Japanese Prints (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ARTH 266 Arts of the Japanese Tea Ceremony
  • ARTH 267 Gardens in China and Japan (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ARTH 321 Arts of the Chinese Scholar's Studio
  • ARTS 236 Ceramics: Vessels for Tea
  • ASLN 111 Writing Systems
  • ASLN 260 Historical Linguistics (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ASST 283 Japanese History and Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ASST 284 Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Seminar: History and Culture of Japan
  • CHIN 206 Chinese in Cultural Context
  • CHIN 240 Chinese Cinema in Translation
  • CHIN 245 Chinese Vision of the Past in Translation (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 250 Chinese Popular Culture in Translation (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 251 Heroes, Heroines, Exceptional Lives in Chinese Biographical Histories
  • CHIN 258 Classical Chinese Thought: Wisdom and Advice from Ancient Masters (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 347 Advanced Chinese: Reading the News (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 348 Advanced Chinese: The Mass Media
  • CHIN 355 Contemporary Chinese Short Stories (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 360 Classical Chinese (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 361 Advanced Chinese: Readings in Twentieth Century Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 362 Advanced Chinese: Traditional Culture in Modern Language
  • CHIN 363 Conversation and Composition: The Liberal Arts in Chinese (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CHIN 364 Chinese Classic Tales and Modern Adaptation (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ECON 243 Market Development and Policy Reform in China
  • HIST 100 Confucius and His Critics
  • HIST 150 Politics of Art in Early Imperial China
  • HIST 151 History of Modern Japan (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 152 History of Early China (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 153 History of Modern China
  • HIST 154 Social Movements in Postwar Japan (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 155 A Tale of Two Cities: Peking & Shanghai (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 156 History of Modern Korea
  • HIST 157 Health and Medicine in Japan
  • HIST 159 Disaster, Disease, & Rumors in East Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 215 Carleton in the Archives: Carleton in China (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 253 The Cultural Revolution in China (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 255 Rumors, Gossip, and News in East Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 256 Disaster, Disease, & Rumors in East Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 257 Chinese Capitalism: From Local to Global
  • HIST 365 Colonialism in East Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 206 Japanese in Cultural Context
  • JAPN 231 Tradition and Modernity: Japanese Cinema in Translation
  • JAPN 244 The World of Anime in Translation (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 245 Modern Japanese Literature and Manga in Translation (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 345 Advanced Reading in Modern Japanese Literature: The Short Story (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 347 Advanced Reading in Contemporary Japanese Prose: Newspapers (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 351 Advanced Japanese through Documentary Film (not offered in 2021-22)
  • JAPN 353 Thinking about Environmental Issues in Japanese (not offered in 2021-22)
  • 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 2021-22)
  • POSC 241 Ethnic Conflict (not offered in 2021-22)
  • POSC 264 Politics of Contemporary China
  • RELG 152 Religions in Japanese Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism
  • RELG 241 Islam in Asia: Lived Traditions and Meaning-Making (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 254 Zen Buddhism (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 276 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Japan Program: Field Studies Sacred Sites (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 279 Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Japan Program: Pilgrimage & Sacred Space in Japan (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religion (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 282 Samurai: Ethics of Death and Loyalty

SOUTH ASIA:

  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ENGL 245 Bollywood Nation
  • ENGL 250 Indian Fiction 1880-1980 (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ENGL 251 Contemporary Indian Fiction
  • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction
  • HIST 161 From Mughals to Mahatma Gandhi: An Introduction to Modern Indian History
  • HIST 259 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representations (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 266 History of Islam in South Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • 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
  • MUSC 180 Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music
  • MUSC 180J Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music (Juried)
  • MUSC 181 Sitar
  • MUSC 181J Sitar (Juried)
  • MUSC 248 Music of South Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • 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 241 Ethnic Conflict (not offered in 2021-22)
  • POSC 378 Political Economy & Ecology of Southeast Asia: Social Changes in Southeast Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • POSC 379 Political Economy and Ecology of S.E. Asia: Diversity of Social Ecological Systems in Southeast Asia (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 122 Introduction to Islam
  • RELG 150 Religions of India (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism
  • RELG 155 Hinduism: An Introduction
  • RELG 222 Politics, Medicine, and the Self in Asian Religion (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 237 Yoga: Religion, History, Practice
  • RELG 238 The Sacred Body (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 241 Islam in Asia: Lived Traditions and Meaning-Making (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 263 Sufism (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religion (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 283 Mysticism and Gender (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 289 Global Religions in Minnesota (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 353 Saints, Goddesses, and Whores (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 362 Spirit Possession
  • RELG 365 Mysticism (not offered in 2021-22)
  • SOAN 257 Culture and Politics in India (not offered in 2021-22)

CENTRAL ASIA:

  • ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development
  • ECON 241 Growth and Development (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 265 Central Asia in the Modern Age (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 360 Muslims and Modernity (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 122 Introduction to Islam
  • RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism
  • RELG 241 Islam in Asia: Lived Traditions and Meaning-Making (not offered in 2021-22)
  • RELG 263 Sufism (not offered in 2021-22)

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. The Buddhist Studies in India, one of Carleton's Global Engagement Programs, introduces students to the diversity of Buddhist traditions as lived in Bodh Gaya, a unique pilgrimage center in northern India.

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 130 Globalization & 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; Brendan P LaRocque
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; S/CR/NC; HI, IS; Fall; Meera Sehgal
ASST 255 Buddhist Studies in India Program: Introduction to Field Methods and Ethics This course introduces students to the skills and ethics needed to conduct fieldwork for their independent study project in South Asia. In consultation with their adviser, students generate an independent study proposal (ISP) concerned with some aspect of Buddhist Studies (philosophy, ritual, meditation, the arts, culture, etc.) utilizing the unique resources available in India and neighboring countries. The ISP proposal outlines the topic, research methods, and resources located/developed by the student. Topics covered in the course include: introduction to research ethics; conducting a literature review; design and implementation of data collection protocols, interviewing, and survey questionnaires; summary, analysis and presentation data. Prerequisite: Participation in Buddhist Studies in India Program. 3-4 credits; NE; Fall; Arthur P McKeown
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; Not offered 2021-22
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 2021-22
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, IS; Fall; Arthur P McKeown
ASST 391 Buddhist Studies India Program: Independent Study Project Students spend three weeks of the program conducting field work for the self-designed independent study project proposed in ASST 255: Introduction to Field Methods and Ethics. Students demonstrate ability to carry out an independent study project that successfully incorporates appropriate field research methods and responsible approaches to interpretation of data, and effectively demonstrates what they have learned about their research topic. The progress of each research project is evaluated at regular intervals in relation to parameters established in conjunction with the Faculty Director and faculty adviser. Students present their research at the end of the ISP. 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