Campus News

Bowdoin Receives $1.65 Million Freeman Grant Supporting Asian Studies

Story posted January 18, 2002

Bowdoin College has received a $1.65 million grant from the Freeman Foundation of Vermont in support of Asian studies.

Bowdoin will use the money to expand and deepen its Asian Studies Program, which was launched at the College in 1987.

"Whether a student takes only one Asian art history course, or uses a grant from the Freeman gift to do a summer's research in China, all those with an interest in East Asia can find an appropriate level of connection," said Kidder Smith, Bowdoin history professor and director of the Asian Studies Program.

The grant will be used toward the creation of an Asian art history faculty position, faculty and student travel fellowships to Asia, faculty-led traveling summer seminars to Asia for students, an Asian student advisor, faculty colloquia, Asian performing arts events, and other activities.

"While Asian studies majors are at the heart of the Freeman gift, in fact, everyone who studies East Asia will be provided with further access to those cultures," said Smith. "Whatever one's level of interest in East Asia might be, the Freeman money will provide a means of deepening it."

Students in Bowdoin's Asian Studies Program focus on the cultural traditions of China, Japan, or South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh).

Asian studies majors gain a general understanding of one of these cultural areas, acquire a working proficiency in one of the languages of South or East Asia, develop a theoretical or methodological sophistication, and demonstrate a degree of applied specialization. Foreign study for students is highly recommended, and various established programs are available.

Travel to Asia is very expensive. A previous Freeman grant paid for nine students and Prof. Nancy Riley to spend five weeks in China and Vietnam to experience firsthand some of the issues studied during the regular semester at Bowdoin. A second group will make the same trip in June.

Bowdoin also offers a minor in Asian studies. All students, regardless of major or minor, are required to take two courses in "non-Eurocentric" studies, and two courses in the humanities and fine arts.

« Back | Campus News | Academic Spotlight | | Subscribe to Bowdoin News by Email