Asian Studies Minor

This multi-disciplinary program offers courses from different departments to help students understand the cultures, languages, belief systems and history in East Asia. Students must complete eighteen credit hours to earn a minor in Asian Studies. We strongly encourage students to study abroad as a means of fulfilling the language component and the elective requirements. The Asian studies minor requires a minimum of 18 credit hours.

All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.

Required Courses: 9 hrs

CHIN 101: Elementary Mandarin I
3 credit hours

For beginners. Designed to develop an elementary proficiency for communicating in Mandarin and some familiarity with the writing system.

CHIN 102: Elementary Mandarin II
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHIN 101.  
A continuation of CHIN 101, designed to develop an elementary proficiency for communicating in Mandarin and some familiarity with the writing system.

HIST 109: Asian History to 1700
3 credit hours

This course examines the cultural traditions and transformations in Asian history from its origins to around 1700. Identifies specific historical events, political developments and philosophical, religious and social innovations in the history of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as highlights the contributions and transformations as it interacts with other world civilizations.

*Students can take Japanese at the Foreign Language Institute in place of Mandarin

Choose a total of 9 hours from the following electives:
(select from two different departments)

ARTH 370: Asian Art and Architecture
3 credit hours

A survey of the arts of China, Japan, Korea, India and South Asia. The course covers the major movements in Asian art and architecture from pre-historic cultures to the present.

HIST 212: Food, Culture and Identity in Asia
3 credit hours

Food is a powerful cultural symbol that connects individuals and the community. This course examines the relationship between food and the history of agricultural practices, religion, social structure, rituals, family dynamics and state policies in Asia, particularly China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

HIST 213: China: Film and History
3 credit hours

This course examines major themes and changes in Chinese history through films and texts. Some of the themes include modernization, political and economic transformation, the Cultural Revolution, and globalization. 

HIST 325: Gender and Culture: East Asia
3 credit hours

This course explores the complex relationships between women and culture in two major civilizations in East Asia: China and Japan.

HIST 346: History of Modern China
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Chinese culture and history, with an examination of revolutionary movements and modernization.

HIST 347: History of Modern Japan
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Japanese history and culture examining the Meiji Restoration, Japanese expansion and interaction in Asia, World War II and the challenges faced by Japan after World War II.

PHIL 218: Confucianism
3 credit hours

In this course we will study the ancient pre-Qin Confucian ethical tradition, concentrating first on the classic Four Books -Confucius’ Analects, the Mengzi, the Daxue (the ‘Great Learning’) and the Zhongyong (the ‘Doctrine of the Mean’) and then moving to the last pre-Qin Confucian work, the Xunzi. Once we have completed this fundamental survey, we will turn to selected works from later neo-Confucians and then turn for the last part of the course to an application of the Confucian ethical tradition to the modern world, specifically looking at political questions emerging in modern Asian societies.

PHIL 219: Daoism
3 credit hours

Whereas modern Western ethical theories and philosophers spend a great deal of time focused on understanding what kinds of actions people ought to perform, ancient Eastern thinkers focus instead of what one should be, and on the kind of overall life that a person ought to live. In other words, ancient thinkers tend to focus more on developing character (or virtue) than on foregrounding action. Of those ancient Eastern philosophies, the most well known are Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. In this course, we will concentrate closely on Daoism, focusing on understanding the kinds of people that this philosophy seems to suggest that we ought to embrace becoming more like (the “sage”). As we will see, Daoist writings place a great deal of emphasis on naturalness (ziran), a way of achieving a state of ‘flow’ (or harmony) with the natural world that rests on developing a number of key virtues or character traits such as emptiness, receptivity, and compassion. In this course we will strive to understand how the philosophical Daoists understood (in different ways) these key aims by centering on the two most famous Daoist texts, the Daodejing (~500 B.C.E) and the Zhuangzi (~300 B.C.E). As we proceed through these difficult and challenging texts, you will be expected to use these ancient philosophies as a springboard for thinking critically your own beliefs regarding the constitution of a truly authentic lifestyle.

PHIL 310: Asian Ethics
3 credit hours

In this course, students will be expected to confront, reflect on, and critically think through the central ethical traditions as offered by the West and then work to see if these traditions find analogues in the Eastern Asian tradition. Specifically, this course will require a close examination of western ethical theories and then a close reading and examination of the central texts of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.

RELG 206: Eastern Religions and Philosophies
3 credit hours

An introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Specifically, the course focuses on the systems of value that emerge from these traditions and, where appropriate, compares and contrasts them with the values systems of western traditions. The conceptual framework guiding this examination incorporates the tradition’s overall world view, conception of God or ultimate reality, its understanding of the origin, nature and destiny of the cosmos and of human beings, a diagnosis of the human condition and a prescription for attaining the ultimate goal or purpose of human life.

RELG 315: Buddhism and the Joy of Being Awake
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of Buddhism through the critical reading of primary source texts in translation. The course examines the conceptual framework of early Buddhist understandings of an overall worldview, ultimate Reality, the origin, nature and destiny of the cosmos, and of human beings as well, the human condition, the ultimate aim of human existence and a prescription for actualizing that goal. The course then explores the subsequent historical and doctrinal developments of Theravada, Mahayana, Zen and Vajrayana Buddhism. The course concludes with a look at contemporary Buddhism, its presence in the West, and its modern challenges, some contemporary Buddhist political leaders, and the lives and contributions of Buddhist women.

HIST 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

PHIL 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

RELG 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

Selected topics should be confirmed with the director of Asian Studies for consideration as minor credit.