To browse the full list of courses available by academic department, visit Courses of Instruction.
To browse the most up-to-date faculty listing, click here.
To browse the 2012-2014 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.
To browse the 2010-2012 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.
To browse the 2008-2010 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.
The 2006-2008 Catalogue is still available online as a PDF. To browse it, click here.
If you have questions or comments about the new online Catalogue, please send us your feedback.
Working closely with other academic departments at Hobart and William Smith, the Department of Asian Studies offers a wide variety of courses that are designed to acquaint its majors and minors with the history, institutions, religions, cultures, and languages of Asia and to provide a firm foundation for further study. Majors and minors in the department are strongly encouraged to participate in the Colleges’ off-campus programs in China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. All courses designated ASN are taught in English.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR (B.A.)
interdisciplinary, 12 courses
Four courses in one Asian language. (Students exempted from this requirement by passing a proficiency test permitting them to enter the third year or above of an Asian language must still complete 12 courses including two courses in Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, or Vietnamese at a higher level.) The departmental introductory course: ASN 101 Foundations of Asian Civilizations; at least two core courses on Asia in the social sciences division; at least two core courses on Asia from the humanities division that are not language courses; at least two Asian Studies electives; and the departmental capstone course: ASN 401 Senior Colloquium. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR
interdisciplinary, 7 courses
At least one year of an Asian language (normally two courses). Students may be exempted from this requirement by passing a proficiency test permitting them to enter the second year or above of an Asian language. Students who take advantage of this exemption still must complete at least seven courses in Asian studies for the minor. The departmental introductory course: ASN 101 Foundations of Asian Civilization; at least one social science course on Asia; at least one humanities course on Asia; at least two Asian Studies electives. At least one course on Asia must be at the 300 or 400 level. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the minor.
ANTH 206 Early Cities
ANTH 208 Archaeology of Japan and China
ANTH 213 Cultures of India
ANTH 227 Intercultural Communication
ANTH 230 Beyond Monogamy: The Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective
ANTH 298 Modern Japan
ANTH 342/442 Ancient World Systems
ECON 233 Comparative Economic Systems
EDUC 302 State, Society, and Disability in China
POL 140 Introduction to Comparative World Politics
POL 180 Introduction to International Relations
POL 246 Politics of East Asia
POL 254 Globalization
POL 257 Russia and China Unraveled
POL 281 Politics of South Asia
SOC 240 Gender and Development
SOC 253 World Cities
SOC 291 Society in India
SOC 299 Sociology of Vietnam
ARTH 103 East Asian Art Survey
ARTH 220 Arts of China
ARTH 249 Islamic Art and Architecture
ARTH 252 Japanese Art and Culture
ARTH 253 Buddhist Art and Architecture
ARTH 259 Early Chinese Painting
ARTH 302 Landscapes and Gardens
ARTH 306 Telling Tales: Narrative in Asian Art
BIDS 365 The Dramatic Worlds of South Asia
FRNE 213 Vietnamese Literature in Translation
HIST 202 Japan Since 1868
HIST 285 The Middle East: Roots of Conflict
HIST 291 Late Imperial China
HIST 292 Japan Before 1868
HIST 297 The History of Modern Japan
HIST 320 Asia Pacific Wars
HIST 324 Qing and Tokugawa
HIST 390 The Modern Transformations of China and Japan
HIST 394 Russia and Central Asia
HIST 396 History and the Fate of Socialism: Russia and China
HIST 461 War and Peace in the Middle East
HIST 492 Seminar in Chinese History
HIST 493 Seminar in Japanese History
MUS 216 Music of Asia
REL 210 Hinduism
REL 211 Buddhism
REL 219 Introduction to the Islamic Tradition
REL 226 Religion and Nature
REL 236 Gender and Islam
REL 242 Islamic Mysticism
REL 243 Suffering and Salvation
REL 280 Negotiating Islam
REL 304 Buddhist Philosophy
REL 315 Japanese Religions
REL 318 Postcolonial Theologies
Departmental Language Courses
For course descriptions, see Chinese and Japanese
CHIN 101 Beginning Chinese I
CHIN 102 Beginning Chinese II
CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 202 Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 301 Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 302 Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 450 Independent Study
JPN 101 Beginning Japanese I
JPN 102 Beginning Japanese II
JPN 201 Intermediate Japanese I
JPN 202 Intermediate Japanese II
JPN 301 Advanced Japanese I
JPN 302 Advanced Japanese II
JPN 450 Independent Study
101 Foundations of Asian Civilizations This course explores critically the notion of “Asia” by examining snapshots of the civilizations associated today with India, China, and Japan. These cultures, we will learn, were not always identified as unified civilizations, however, and they changed considerably throughout history. Even the broader definitions and boundaries of “Asia” are plentiful, just as descriptions about what constitutes the “Europe” or “America” are many. Throughout the semester, we will address some of the important concepts, categories, and moments of South and East “Asian” cultures and get glimpses of the various forms of cultural convergence and negotiation that have been occurring across “Asia” since the beginning of historical record. A course with such a large sweep of time and geography necessarily is incomplete as it emphasizes the elite male traditions of the educated and politically powerful to the neglect of the village and female traditions. But as an introduction into the foundations of various civilizations in Asia, this course will provide a good knowledge base for students to take more specific courses in Asian Studies. (Yoshikawa and Yadav, offered annually)
ARTH/ASN 103 Introduction to Asian Art This course presents a topical study of the arts and architecture of China, Japan, India, and (to a lesser extent) Korea, with some comparisons to the arts of Central Asia, Europe, and America. We will examine developments in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, prints, and installations, through a series of case studies. Broad topics will include connections between art, politics, philosophy, and religion; text-image relationships; artistic practice, patronage, and collecting; and international art movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, students will learn to analyze two- and three-dimensional works of art and architecture. There are no prerequisites, and no previous exposure to the arts of Asia is necessary. (Blanchard, offered annually)
202 The Ottoman World: Islam and the West At its peak, Ottoman domains encompassed what we know today as the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the "Middle East"- the successor states to the great empire of Bysantium in the west and the Arab conquests in the east. And of the great cities of the world, Istanbul sat at its heart. This course examines the nature of empire in the Ottoman experience, the emergence of nationalism and capitalist economies, and the legacy of Ottoman rule today through the achievements—and failures—of Ottoman society, culture, and statecraft, and the microcosm of Ottoman society that was, and is, Istanbul. (Bennett, offered annually)
209 The Golden Age of Chinese Culture Although China is known for its long history, it is best known for its golden age during the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). These two dynasties witnessed a rapid growth in thought, government structures, literature, art and many aspects of culture. The people of this period, from emperor/empress and aristocratic elite to storytellers and courtesans, contributed to the formation of an urban culture that was the richest in the world. While Europe was still in its dark age, China’s golden age established the foundations of much of Asian culture. This course explores Tang and Song contributions to the Chinese cultural heritage. (Huang, offered annually)
210 Buddhism and Taoism through Chinese Literature Buddhism and Taoism have long been two important constituent elements of Chinese culture. Their influences on Chinese elite culture, social ethics, and popular values have inspired the use of such phrases as “The Age of Neo-Taoism” and “The Buddhist Age” to characterize some periods of Chinese history. Though many Chinese intellectuals were suspicious of and even hostile towards these two religions and sometimes labeled them as “heterodox,” they could not deny the fact that the two teachings had become an integral part of Chinese elite and popular culture. This course is an introduction to the major ideas of Chinese Buddhism and Taoism as they were represented and interpreted in various texts and narratives. (Huang, offered annually)
211 Buddhism (Same as REL 211) This course covers the rise and historical development of Buddhism in South Asia and its spread into Southeast, Central, and East Asia. Through regular writing exercises, extensive use of visual and audio materials, and some fieldwork, students will acquire a basic vocabulary for discussing the ritual practices, ethical systems, and scriptures of Buddhism (e.g., selections from the Pali Canon); situate the major branches of Buddhism in their historical and geographical contexts (e.g., Theravada in Sri Lanka, Vajrayana in Tibet, Zen in Japan); and explore important concepts in each of the traditions and locations in view of significant sociohistorical processes, events, and institutions (e.g., the interaction of Buddhists with Daoists and Confucians in China and the associations of Shinto practitioners and Buddhists in Japan). No prior knowledge of Buddhism is required. (Cerulli, offered annually)
212 Women in Contemporary Chinese Culture Are Chinese women still submissive, powerless, and silent as commonly perceived? What roles are Chinese women playing in the present-day China and international societies? These are among the oft-asked questions this course attempts to answer. By contextualizing Chinese women in pre-modern China, nationalist China, and communist China, this course attempts to show their different characteristics in different periods. Special attention, however, is given to women in social and cultural settings in contemporary China. A variety of works, including history, fiction, and films are used to acquaint students with dramatic changes, multifaceted images, gender problems of Chinese women in the post-Mao era. (Zhou, offered alternate years)
213 Tibet Incarnate: Understanding Contemporary Tibet How are we to think of Tibet today? As the hapless victim of Chinese aggression; a poster child for human rights? Or as a people with a long and complex history of political and cultural associations, east and west; a people with its own imperial past? This course explores the context of today’s “Tibetan Question” in Tibet’s history, culture, and geographic position on the frontiers of trade and empires across millennia. This course is conducted in seminar format and participants are responsible for researching and presenting sources materials. Prerequisite: ASN 101 or ASN 225 or permission of the instructor. (Bennett, offered annually)
214 Hinduism (same as REL 210) In this course students learn about many of the ritual, devotional, and philosophical traditions that make up the religion known as Hinduism. We begin our enquiry in the ancient world, with a survey of the Indus Valley Civilization and then explore important holy sites, religious movements, and religious reformers in classical, medieval, and modern Hinduism. Although this course is primarily concerned with Hinduism in South Asia, the ways in which Hinduism has taken root in North America (including upstate New York) are also considered through field visits to a local Hindu temple. Our investigation of Hinduism combines historical, literary, and anthropological methodologies, and weekly meetings involve close readings of important Hindu literature (e.g., Rg Veda, Upanisads, Bhagavadgita, and Ramayana) and contemporary fiction, films, and minor fieldwork. No prior knowledge of Hinduism is required. (Cerulli, offered annually)
215 Environment and Development in East Asia Rapid development in East Asia has brought prosperity to many but has also created serious environmental problems. Rivers and lakes suffer from pollution and algal blooms; water tables have dropped dramatically; farmland has been polluted by industrial chemicals and over-fertilization; and cities choke on pollution from industry and automobiles. This course explores the environmental challenges facing East Asia as well as how governments and other groups are addressing them through various approaches to “sustainable development.” Special emphasis is placed on China, given its regional and global importance, and the Four Little Dragons (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea). (Magee, offered Spring)
220 Male and Female in East Asian Societies Gender, sex roles, and domestic relations are among the basic building blocks of culture and society. This course is designed to examine the historical legacy of East Asian countries, contemporary Eastern Asian cultures, and basic values from the perspective of sex and gender, and to explore a variety of cultural contexts and social venues, including marriage, the family, the relations between husband and wife, generation gaps, private life and public life, and tradition and its changes. The course focuses on China and views it as one of the great sources of Eastern Asian civilization, especially Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Particular attention is paid to the representation of male and female in contemporary Asian cultures. Films are used to supplement the readings. (Staff, offered occasionally)
225 Tibetan Buddhism This course is an introduction to Tibetan belief and practice. What is life from a Buddhist perspective? What did the Buddha teach? What is the law of karma? These and many other questions are addressed. The course looks at Tibetan Buddhist practice from the Four Noble Truths to the highest Yoga tantra with special emphasis on the practice of love, kindness, and compassion. A monk’s life in the monastery is also studied. Prerequisite: Any religious studies course or permission of the instructor. (Yignyen, offered annually)
231 Tibetan Mandala Painting The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the wonders of Tibetan culture. This is accomplished through the study of traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting and mandala construction. The world of Tibetan Buddhist art is introduced through the emersion in historic background and current utilization. Students learn the accurate methods for drawing the geometric outlines of the mandala. Each student completes a painted version of the Chenrezig mandala (which is most often used in Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice). This includes the formation of the accurate symbols of the five Buddha families. Students become familiarized with these and other emblems and learn their meanings. Using colored sand, students learn how to make a sand painting with authentic Tibetan metal funnels and wooden scrapers. Finally, students participate in the joy of a group class project of sand mandala painting and dismantling ceremony. (Yignyen, offered annually)
236 Society, Culture, and the State in Contemporary China This course addresses the momentous social and cultural changes that have occurred in China in recent years. In exploring this subject, Chinese culture is systematically examined from different aspects, including but not limited to Chinese cultural roots, economy, ideology, politics, religion, and education. Some of China’s hottest issues, with which Western societies have been concerned in recent years, are discussed, such as the reform movement, the Tiananmen Square Incident of 1989, human rights, the anti-Falun Gong campaign, peasants’ protest, HIV, China’s ascension, China-U.S-Taiwan relations, and China’s future. Films are used to supplement the readings. (Zhou, offered alternate years)
244 Christianity in East Asia Christianity has typically been considered a Western religion, yet it has a long and detailed history throughout East Asia and East Asia is one of the areas in the world experiencing the greatest growth of Christianity. This course will explore, compare and contrast various histories and traditions of Christianity in China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. Among other things, we will consider questions such as, What is the future of Christianity in East Asia? How does the growth of Christianity relate to other political and social changes in this part of the world? Is Christianity culturally compatible with these national cultures? How has Christianity been inculturated in these countries?
282 Hinduism and Popular Narratives In this course, we look at Hindu worldview through the eyes of epic narratives in South Asia. The core text for this narrative is the epic text, Mahabharata. The course discusses the worldview of the text, belief systems, philosophical debates and the general ideology of this epic. As part of this we also look at other popular narratives from Hindu myths and regional narratives. Through all of this students will be able to explore and develop an understanding of Hindu ideas of society, God and liberation.
304 Courtesan Culture in China and Japan Look up the word “courtesan” in a dictionary, say Merriam-Webster’s 10th edition, and one finds the following definition: “a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper-class clientele.” Historically, however, the courtesans of China or Japan have been women whose appeal lay primarily in their surpassing musical and literary cultivation, not their sexual services. This multidisciplinary course uses the textual sources and visual representations that record or celebrate courtesan culture to examine the demimonde of the elite Chinese “singing girl” or the Japanese geisha across the centuries, with some attention to Western conceptions or misconceptions of their roles and relationships. (Blanchard, offered occasionally)
HIST/ASN 305 Showa Through the Silver Screen Showa (1926-1989), the reign of Hirohito , is most often associated with Japan's plunge into multiple wars, its occupation by a foreign nation, and its economic recovery to become the second largest economy in the world. Less explored is Showa as the heyday of Japanese cinema. While motion pictures were first introduced to Japan in the late 19th century, domestic production only took off in the 1920s to the 1930s. Following the Asia-pacific Wars, Japanese film gained worldwide popularity in the 1950s and 1960s with directors such as Kurosawa Akira, Ozu Yasujiro, and Mizoguchi Kenji gaining international recognition. By the end of Showa, Japanese cinema was in decline as other forms of entertainment overshadowed movie-going and a massive recession affected the film industry. This course explores the history of the Showa period using films as artifacts of Japanese perspectives into their state and society and the Japanese role in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
312 Literary and Historical Memory in China: Text, Contexts, and Historical Facts For centuries many educated Chinese have read traditional literary works with greater interest than they have read historical works. Their appreciation for the “memory” in these literary works helped popularize a variety of novels, short stories, poetry, and plays, as well as immortalize some historical personages and fictional characters. In its idealizing or stigmatizing men and women in history, literary work also historicizes its stories and is commonly accepted as a valuable historical text. This course compares the often disparate memory of China’s past in literary and historical texts, focusing substantially on their representation of the image of cultural heroes and heroines, of gender and class inequities, as well as of moral and ethical values. (Huang, offered occasionally)
342 Chinese Cinema: Gender, Politics, and Social Change in Contemporary China This course is designed to examine the development of Chinese cinema. It introduces the fifth and sixth generation of Chinese filmmakers, as well as recent Chinese films produced in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. It is hoped to help students develop their ability to analyze visual images from both Chinese and multicultural perspectives. Through the lens of Chinese films used in this course, students are expected to better understand issues such as gender, family, tradition, custom, and politics in China today. In the meantime, they are expected to become familiar with some new trend of cultural and social movement in China and overseas Chinese communities. (Zhou, offered annually)
393 The Pacific Century A seminar course designed for, and limited to, students returning to campus from study abroad programs in Asia, this course explores the extraordinary economic, social, political, and cultural changes that have occurred in that region over the past 150 years. Students enrolled in the course conduct extensive research on a topic related to modern Asia, make several oral presentations on that research, and complete a substantial term paper. Prerequisite: A term abroad in Asia. (Staff, offered occasionally)