Asian Studies - Course Catalogue Skip Navigation

Asian Studies

(For 2016–2017 academic year) 

Robert Ho Professor Robinson
Associate Professors Crespi (Director), Yamamoto
Advisory Committee Aizawa, Balachandran, Bien, Crespi (Director), Erley, Godfrey, Graybill, Hirata, Hodges, Hsu, Kaimal, Kato, Khan, Khanna, Murshid, Nam, Palmer, Rajasingham, Robinson, Rotter, Rutherford, Stevens, Sullivan, Wang, Xu, Yamamoto, Yang

Asia holds a unique and vital place within the globalizing world of the early 21st century. Home to an extraordinary range of linguistic and ethnic groups, this broad and dynamic region is rich in cultural and environmental diversity. Engaging the many changes taking place in Asian societies today requires a similarly diverse set of intellectual skills. To this end, the Asian Studies Program at Colgate integrates scholarly approaches spanning the arts and humanities and social sciences: from literature, art, and religion to history, politics, economics, and geography. The Asian studies major encourages students to undertake their own interdisciplinary explorations of this region.

Major Program

Asian studies offers students a flexible set of course options to explore Asia widely while focusing upon one subregion. Nine courses are required for the major, of which four courses must be at the 300 or 400 level.


Five courses to be drawn from the list of governed electives below must focus on one of the following subregions:

Japan, or
South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). 

Alternatively, students may construct, in close consultation with an adviser, a program of five courses that compares two or more subregions. Comparative programs like this may also integrate courses that focus on

Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam); and
Asian American, Pan-Asian, and Inter-Asian studies.

The major includes one introductory course drawn from the following Liberal Arts Core Curriculum courses:

CORE 165C, China
CORE 166C, India
CORE 167C, Japan
CORE 178C, Korea

The introductory course may count toward the five courses focused on a single subregion of Asia. Three other courses should be chosen from the list of governed electives below and may address any region of Asia. Other courses may also serve as electives for this major if they are at the 300 or 400 level and if at least 40 percent of the course and of the student’s work concerns Asia. Students must gain approval from the director of Asian Studies prior to taking these courses for them to count toward the major.

Majors are strongly encouraged to acquire proficiency in one or more Asian languages, although no more than three language courses at any level may count toward the nine courses required for the major. Normally, the nine courses will include courses from at least two of these three divisions: arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics. Majors must achieve at least a 2.00 GPA in the nine courses required for the major.

Students completing two majors (“double-majors”) may only count two courses toward both of those majors.

Major credit will be awarded for no more than two courses taken at another institution.

Minor Program 

Any Colgate study group in Asia, plus its prerequisites; or five courses from the governed electives listed below, normally to include at least two courses at the 300 or 400 level and no more than two language courses.

Independent study

These courses may be arranged when necessary to supplement the curriculum in any of the six subregions listed above.

Honors and High Honors

Asian studies majors who have GPAs of 3.30 or better in the major and an overall GPA of 3.00 are encouraged to pursue honors study. A candidate for high honors must have a GPA of 3.70 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.00. Each eligible student undertakes a project, the form of which — a written research paper, an exhibition, a performance — is decided in consultation with the student’s honors adviser. To qualify for honors, the project must be judged by a committee of two faculty members to be of at least A quality. For high honors the project must be so judged by three faculty members from at least two different departments, and in addition the candidate must pass with distinction an oral examination conducted by the three-member committee. Often, the project for honors or high honors is begun on a study group, or during the junior year or fall semester of the senior year, in any 300- or 400-level course or any independent study course. The project is continued through the spring term in ASIA 499, Special Studies for Honors.


See “Honors and Awards: Asian Studies” in Chapter VI.


Study Groups  

The Asian Studies Program strongly encourages majors to participate in Colgate study groups and in approved programs in India or other locations in Asia. Faculty of the program serve as directors of study-abroad programs in China, Japan, and Korea. For more information, see “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI.

China Study Group spends approximately four months in Shanghai, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, in intensive language training and firsthand observation of recent cultural, political, and economic changes.
Japan Study Group, based in Kyoto, provides lodging with Japanese families; intensive language training; and instruction in Japanese politics, economics, business, religion, art, linguistics, and literature.
Korea Study Group, hosted by Yonsei University in Seoul, serves the academic needs of students interested in educational studies and Asian studies.

Governed Electives:

I.  China
ARTS 246, Pictures in China and Japan
CHIN 121, Elementary Chinese I
CHIN 122, Elementary Chinese II
CHIN 201, Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 202, Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 222, China through Literature and Film
CHIN 288, The Chinese City: Living Beijing (extended study)
CHIN 303, Film and Broadcasts
CHIN 304, Readings in Social Issues
CHIN 405, Reading Chinese Newspapers
CHIN 406, Readings in Modern Literature
CHIN 450, Chinese Folklore and Mythology
CHIN 481, China in Transition (China Study Group)
CHIN 482, Topics in Chinese Culture (China Study Group)
CORE 165C, China
ECON 219, Chinese Economy
ENST/ASIA/SOCI 313, Environmental Problems and Environmental Activism in the People’s Republic of China
HIST 368, China, the Great Wall and Beyond
HIST 369, Modern China, 1750–Present
HIST 450, Seminar in East Asian History
POSC 214, Comparative Politics: East and Southeast Asia
POSC 307, The Foreign Policy of the Peoples Republic of China
POSC 330, Post-Mao China and the World
POSC 368, American Foreign Relations with China
POSC 430, Seminar: Problems and Issues in Post-Mao China
RELG 285, Experiencing Buddhism
RELG 327, Tibetan Buddhism

II.  Japan
ARTS 246, Pictures in China and Japan
CORE 167C, Japan
ECON 339, The Japanese Economy
GEOG 313, Geographical Political Economy: Asia in Globalization
GEOG 315, Sustainable Livelihoods in Asia
HIST 450, Seminar in East Asian History
JAPN 121, Elementary Japanese I
JAPN 122, Elementary Japanese II
JAPN 201, Intermediate Japanese I
JAPN 202, Intermediate Japanese II
JAPN 222, Japan through Literature and Film
JAPN 301, Advanced Japanese I
JAPN 302, Advanced Japanese II
JAPN 401, Readings in Japanese I
JAPN 402, Readings in Japanese II
JAPN 405, Senior Seminar on Japanese Literature
JAPN 411, Topics in Japanese Linguistics
JAPN 455, Advanced Grammar in Japanese
JAPN 251, Intermediate Japanese III (Japan Study Group)
JAPN 351, Advanced Japanese III (Japan Study Group)
JAPN 481, Topics in Japanese Culture (Japan Study Group)
JAPN 482, Cultural Studies: The Japanese Village (Japan Study Group)
POSC 214, Comparative Politics: East and Southeast Asia
RELG 285, Experiencing Buddhism

III.  South Asia
ARTS 244, Temples, Caves, and Stupas (The Art and Architecture of India before 1300)
ARTS 245, Palaces and Paintings (The Art and Architecture of India after 1300)
ARTS 344, Hindu Temples: Architecture and Sculpture, Architecture as Sculpture
ARTS 481, Seminar in Art Prior to 1300
ARTS 484, Seminar on Topical Theme in Art
CORE 166C, India
ECON 239, The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Economic Development (extended study)
ENGL 202, Justice and Power in Postcolonial Literatures
ENGL 335, Searching for Home in South Asian Literatures: Gender, Nation, Narration
HIST 268, History of Ancient and Medieval India
HIST 269, History of Modern India
HIST 362, The Mughal Empire, c. 1500–1750
HIST 363, History of the Indian Ocean World
POSC 364, Politics of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
POSC 434, Seminar: Global Desi: Beyond IT Guys, Doctors, and Beauty Queens
RELG 204, Hindu Mythology
RELG 281, Experiencing Hinduism
RELG 285, Experiencing Buddhism
RELG 321, Religion in Modern India
RELG 324, The Teachings of the Buddha: Theravada — the Way of the Elders
RELG 405, Sacred Texts: Bhagavad Gita

IV.  Korea
CORE 178C, Korea
RELG 285, Experiencing Buddhism

V.  Southeast Asia
HIST 316, The United States in Vietnam, 1945–1975
POSC 305, China’s Foreign Relations

VI.  Asian American, Pan-Asian, and Inter-Asian Studies
ANTH/MIST 252, Muslim Societies in Transition
ARTS 103, Arts of Asia before 1300
ASIA 291, 391, 491, Independent Studies
ASIA 499, Special Studies for Honors
CORE 179C, Central Asia
CORE 184C, Siberia
EDUC 205, Race and Education
GEOG 313, Geographical Political Economy: Asia in Globalization
HIST 255, The Ottoman Empire, 1300–1924
HIST 259, Introduction to the Modern Middle East
HIST 263, The Silk Road
HIST 264, Modern East Asia
HIST 265, War and Violence in East Asia
HIST 266, Foreign Relations in East Asia
HIST 305, Asian American History
HIST 359, Nationalism and Arab Identity in the 20th Century
HIST 370, The Mongol Empire
JAPN/CHIN 250, East Asian Thought
RELG 243, History of Religion in America (when focused on Asian religions)
RELG 327, Tibetan BuddhismSOCI 326, Nations and Nationalism
SOCI/ANTH 337, Globalization, Culture, and Everyday Life (when focused on Asia)

Course Offerings

Courses unique to the Asian Studies Program are described below. Descriptions of other courses noted above may be found under appropriate departments.

499  Special Studies for Honors

291, 391, 491  Independent Study