Support WU
A-Z Index

2010-2011 CLA Catalog

Quick Links

Jump to a Discipline

Jump to a Specific Course

Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Asian Studies View this department's website

The Asian Studies Program fosters interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Asia. Course offerings cover a broad range of disciplines, primarily in the humanities. These include history, anthropology, art history, philosophy, religion, sociology, and literature with options for individual students to include courses from additional disciplines. Many of these courses complement other programs within the University, particularly the study of Chinese and Japanese language. Program faculty strongly encourages Asian Studies students to study in Asia as part of their major program.

The twelve-credit major in Asian Studies is structured to include:

  1. Introduction to Asian civilizations, cultures, or societies (one credit),
  2. Study of an Asian language through the third year or the equivalent of two years each of two Asian languages (four credits),
  3. Exploration across several disciplines and countries with a choice of electives
    1. at the 200 level (three credits) and
    2. at the 300 or 400 level (three credits), and, finally,
  4. Senior Experience involving a writing project to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills the student has gained through his/her study of Asia (one credit).

The minor in Asian Studies focuses on the study of the broad historical and cultural traditions of Asia as a foundation for the exploration of more specialized topics, both in the humanities and in contemporary areas of social, political and economic development.

The Asian Studies major is for students broadly interested in Asia. Many of the courses complement other programs within the college, particularly the study of Chinese and Japanese language. However, no more than eight of the twelve major courses may focus on a single Asian country. Students whose interest in Asia focuses on China or Japan are encouraged to pursue a major in Chinese or Japanese Studies. Student majoring in Asian Studies may not also major in Japanese Studies or minor in Chinese Studies. Students majoring in Asian Studies must acquire the special permission of their advisor in order to acquire a second major in International Studies.

Requirements for the Asian Studies Major (12 Credits)

One credit from the following entry courses (1)

  • HIST 117 (TH) East Asian Civilization to 1800 (1)
  • HIST 118 (TH) East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (1)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (1)
  • SOC 131 (US) Sociological Inquiry (1)

Four credits from the following language courses (4)

Note: A student may petition Asian Studies faculty for alternate language arrangements to fulfill this requirement. Proposed arrangements might include transfer courses, testing, Asian experience, or other arrangements.

Three credits from the following exploratory courses (3)

  • ANTH 233 (US) Peoples and Cultures of Asia (1)
  • ARTH 113 (IT) Introduction to Chinese Art History (1)
  • ARTH 114 (IT) Introduction to Japanese Art HIstory (1)
  • ASIA 258 Topics in Asian Studies (1)
  • ASIA 352 Field Study in Asia (1)
  • CHNSE 252 (US) Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies (1)
  • CHNSE 254 Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (1)
  • CHNSE 256 Chinese Folklore in Films (1)
  • HIST 131 (TH) Historical Inquiry (if Asian topic) (1)
  • HIST/REL 233 (TH) History and Cultures along the Silk Road (1)
  • HIST 265 (TH) Late Imperial China (1)
  • HIST 282 (TH) China in Revolution, 1911-1949 (1)
  • JAPN 201 (W) Modern Japanese Society & Culture (1)
  • JAPN 240 Japanese Language and Culture (Intercultural Communication) (1)
  • REL 239 Introduction to Chinese Religion (1)
  • REL 256 (IT) Goddesses and Ghosts: Images of Women in Chinese Tradition (1)
  • REL 262 Japanese Religions (1)

Three credits from the following 300 and 400 level courses (3)

One Senior Experience credit (1)

  • ASIA 499 (W) Senior Seminar in Asian Studies (1)

Courses for possible substitution when Asian content warrants, subject to approval by Asian Studies faculty

Requirements for the Asian Studies Minor (5 Credits)

Five credits are required for the Asian Studies minor. Credits to be earned abroad should be approved by the Asian Studies faculty before the foreign study program begins.

One credit from the following entry courses (1)

  • HIST 117 (TH) East Asian Civilization to 1800 (1)
  • HIST 118 (TH) East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (1)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (1)
  • SOC 131 (US) Sociological Inquiry: Asian Societies (1)

Four courses from the following list, two of which must be 300 or 400 level courses (4)

  • ANTH 233 (US) Peoples & Cultures of Asia (1)
  • ARTH 113 (IT) Introduction to Chinese Arrt History (1)
  • ARTH 114 (IT) Introduction to Japanese Art History (1)
  • HIST 233 (TH) History and Culture Along the Silk Road (1) [Crosslisted with REL 233]
  • HIST 265 (TH) Late Imperial China (1)
  • HIST 282 (TH) China in Revolution, 1911-1949 (1)
  • HIST 380 History of Traditional Japan (1)
  • HIST 381 (TH) History of Modern Japan (1)
  • HIST 383 Mao's China 1949-1979 (1)
  • HIST 445 Postwar Japan (1)
  • JAPN 201 (W) Modern Japanese Society and Culture (1)
  • JAPN 240 Japanese Language and Culture (Intercultural Communications) (1)
  • JAPN 314 (W; IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Japanese Literature in Translation (1)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (1)
  • POLI 374 Asia and the International System (1)
  • POLI 380 Asian Politics and Development (1)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (1)
  • REL 239 Introduction to Chinese Religions (1)
  • REL 262 Japanese Religions (1)
  • REL 348 Buddhism (1)
  • REL 354 Topics in Asian Religion (1)
  • REL 356 Taoism (1)

Note: Where scheduling difficulties resulting from participation in an overseas study program may arise, some course substitutions, including independent study courses, may be allowed, subject to faculty approval. For advising or information, contact one of the program faculty.

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the Asian Studies Major

  1. To develop interdisciplinary knowledge of at least one Asian culture as measured by a record of study abroad experiences and the interdisciplinary variety of courses taken for the major
  2. To acquire basic proficiency in an Asian language consistent with at least two years of academic study as measured by the category of “competent” in the foreign language rubrics. This means that:
    • Students are able to listen and understand the main ideas of connected discourse on familiar topics. [listening]
    • Students are able to speak to satisfy the requirements of everyday life; students are able to initiate and sustain basic communicative tasks. [speaking]
    • Students are able to read prose of several paragraphs designed for the general reader. [reading]
    • Students are able to write routine social correspondence and join sentences in simple discourse of several paragraphs in length on familiar topics. The writing is understandable to natives not used to the writing of non-natives. [writing]
  3. To undertake a program of study abroad in Asia
  4. To carry out a self-designed research project grounded in the scholarly literature of the field as measured by the completion of a successful senior seminar paper read by at least two cooperating faculty members. We expect students to be able to:
    • Choose an appropriately interdisciplinary topic in order to demonstrate their understanding of Asia.
    • Use an Asian Language to access primary or secondary sources written in the target language for their senior projects.
    • Demonstrate their accomplished writing skills defined by Willamette University’s Writing Rubrics.


Course Listings

ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asia (1)

This course introduces East Asia to the liberal arts student from multiple and cross disciplinary perspectives. The course deals with the rich cultural heritage of East Asia by looking at the cultural exchange within and beyond East Asia over a history of two thousand years. The course includes such topics as early intellectual traditions, religion, arts, language, literature, science, communication and everyday life. It is intended to lay a solid foundation and to generate broad interest in Asia so that students can proceed to a general study of Asian cultures or pursue their interest in specific cultural topics.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 258 Topics in Asian Studies (1)

This course studies specific topics such as socio-economic policy, history, oral history, ethnic identity, literature, religion, language, art, folklore, or film from inter-disciplinary perspectives. In addition to the theoretical discussion, fieldwork and community service may be involved. Group and individual projects and assignments are expected.

Prerequisite: None. A course related to the topic suggested.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Alternate years. Staff

ASIA 352 Field Study in Asia (1)

This post-session course is conducted in one or more Asian countries, focusing on the social changes of the target countries in their transition from and conflict between tradition and modernity in a globalizing world. A fieldwork-based course, its topics include political system, cultural and artistic expressions, economic changes, holiday and festival celebrations, language, ethnicity, or other aspects of globalization and localization. There will be trips to museums, cultural relics, schools, factories and villages, lectures and discussions on the road and at the site, guest lectures on topics chosen, and reading on the topics chosen. With first-hand experience of participation and observation, the course will enhance the students' understanding of the cultures and people of the target countries. Post-session.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 390 and 391 Independent Study (.5 or 1)

Intensive study of a selected topic. Normally for juniors or seniors who are majors in Asian Studies. Requires program faculty approval. May be repeated with different content.

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Staff

ASIA 499 (W) Senior Seminar (1)

[Crosslisted with JAPN 499 and CHNSE 499]

Provides a framework for students to develop a research project or other equivalent activity in consultation with faculty. The objective of the Senior Year Experience will be to consolidate and integrate the student's knowledge of Japan, China, and/or Asia more generally and the fields of Japanese, Chinese, and/or Asian Studies. Majors in Japanese, Chinese, or Asian Studies. Conducted in English.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff