Major in Asian Studies


Home to well over half the world's population, Asia's rich and varied traditions invite study as well as reflection. The Asian Studies Program introduces students to Asia as a culturally-rooted but dynamic region. Our courses present the building blocks of these civilizations: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, family structure, symbolism, language, and ethics, as well as the forces of modernization and economic development.

Major in Asian Studies: Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary major that brings together courses about Asia from a variety of departments and disciplines.

The requirements of the program are described below:

A. Completion of ten or more courses in Asian Studies from the lists below or from a study-abroad program (with the approval of the Asian Studies Program Chair).

B. Study abroad for a summer or semester in an Asian country (travel programs do not fulfill this requirement).

C. Completion of one or more courses in an Asian language at or above the 300-level or completion of an intensive language program abroad approved by the Asian Studies Program Chair. Meeting the college language requirement does not meet the Asian Studies requirement—courses only at or above the 300-level count toward the Asian Studies major.

D. Three or more integrative courses from the following list:

ANTH 340:  Families in Asia
ANTH 341:  Culture and History of Southeast Asia
ECON 310:  Economic Development
HIST 211:  China and East Asia I
HIST 212:  China and East Asia II
POLS 326:  Comparative Asian Politics
RELG 164:  Studying Asian Religions (in the West)
RELG 262:  Buddhism
THTR 226:  Asian Theater

E. Five or more elective courses on Asian cultures from the following list:

ASIA 203:  Chinese Martial Arts Cinema
ASIA 204:  Themes in New Chinese Cinema
ASIA 205:  Modern China Through Fiction and Film
ASIA 209:  Japanese Civilization
ASIA 220:  Japanese Folklore and Mythology
ASIA 230:  Land of the Rising Sons
ASIA 232:  Father, Emperor, Motherland
ASIA 233:  Fantastical World of Anime
ASIA 235:  Love in Modern Japan
ASIA 317:  Modern Japanese Literature
ASIA 320:  Gender and Sexuality in Japanese Culture
ECON 345:  Economic Development in China
ECON 347:  Microfinance Institutions in South Asia
HIST 216:  History of Japan
HIST 388:  US and Vietnam since 1945
IGS 304:  Politics and Society in Modern India
PHIL 215:  Chinese Philosophy
PHIL 226:  Philosophical Issues of Daoism
POLS 249:  China and the World
POLS 360:  Chinese Politics
RELG 342: Mindfulness East and West.
RELG 353:  Buddhism and the Environment
RELG 364:  Buddhist Ethics

F.  Asian Studies 458 (a senior thesis on a selected topic under supervision of a faculty advisor--may be taken either semester of the senior year).

G. Successful completion of a comprehensive exam in two parts:  a) a written set of questions that integrate courses taken by the student; and b) a written set of questions on specific courses taken by the student.

Honors: To earn honors in Asian Studies, a student must satisfy the following criteria: a) at least a 3.33 grade point average from courses in the major; b) awarding of a “B+” or better on the senior thesis; and c) awarding of “distinction” (B+ or better) on the comprehensive exam.

Summer Programs:

China and India: Sewanee students may take advantage of summer study in China/India. The continuing issue of the program is economic development, with other subjects also included in different summers. (Note: does not fulfill the study-abroad requirement for Asian Studies,) 

Southeast Asia, China, or Japan: Sewanee students may take advantage of summer study that rotates with three different itineraries: one summer in Southeast Asia, one summer in China, and one summer in Japan. The continuing issue of the program is history and theatre and the relationship between those areas in each country. (Note: does not fulfill the study-abroad requirement for Asian Studies.)