Requirements

Belinda Kong, Program Director
Suzanne M. Astolfi, Program Coordinator

Professors: John C. Holt (Religion), Shu-chin Tsui† (Cinema Studies)
Associate Professors: Songren Cui, Christopher Heurlin (Government), Belinda Kong (English), Henry C. W. Laurence (Government), Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger, Rachel L. Sturman** (History)
Assistant Professors: Sakura Christmas (History), Peggy Wang (Art History), Ya (Leah) Zuo (History)
Senior Lecturer: Hiroo Aridome
Lecturer: Xiaoke Jia
Visiting Faculty: John Kim, Yinqiu Ma
Fellow: Christine Marrewa Karwoski

Contributing Faculty: Connie Y. Chiang†, David Collings, Rachel Connelly†, Shruti Devgan, Sara A. Dickey†, Anna Golovkova, Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Tara Mock, Nancy E. Riley, Vineet Shende

The Asian Studies Program offers a range of courses on China, Japan, and South Asia. In completing the major, each student is required to gain a general understanding of one of these areas, acquire a working proficiency in one of the languages of South or East Asia, develop theoretical or methodological sophistication, and demonstrate a degree of applied specialization. These principles are reflected in the requirements for an Asian studies major.

Requirements for the Major in Asian Studies

Students major in Asian studies by focusing on a particular geographic and cultural area— China, Japan, East Asia, or South Asia—or by specializing in a disciplinary subfield. Eight courses are required in addition to the study of an Asian language.

Language requirements: Two years of an East Asian language, or one year of a South Asian language, or the equivalent through intensive language study.

  • In addition to the required two years of language study, students may apply up to three advanced intermediate (2205–2206) or advanced (3307–3308) East Asian language courses toward the total of eight required courses.
  • The College does not directly offer courses in any South Asian language. Arrangements may be made with the director of the program and the Office of the Registrar to transfer credits from another institution, or students may meet this requirement by studying Sinhala on the ISLE Program or Tamil on the SITA Program.

Area-specific option requirements: A concentration in China, Japan, East Asia, or South Asia requires eight courses, six to seven of which must focus on the geographical area of specialization, with up to two courses in an area outside that specialization.

  • Students specializing in China must take one pre-modern course in China (2000– 2049) and one modern course in China (2050–2249).
  • Students specializing in Japan must take one pre-modern course in Japan (2250– 2299) and one modern course in Japan (2300–2499).
  • Students focusing on South Asia must take two of the following:
    • Anthropology (1026–1038), (1550–1774), (2500–2749), or (2750–2969)
    • History (1026–1038), (1550–1774), (2500–2749), or (2750–2969)
    • Religion (1026–1038), (1550–1774), (2500–2749), or (2750–2969)

Discipline-based option requirements: Students must consult with their advisor concerning course selection.

  • At least five courses must be in the chosen discipline: e.g., government, history, literature and visual culture (English, cinema studies, and art history), religion, or any other approved discipline. One of those five courses must be an advanced course (3000–4079) in the discipline of focus.
  • Three remaining courses must explore related themes or relate to the student’s language study. The study of an Asian language must be in one of the student’s areas of study.
  • Of the eight courses required, a maximum of three may be advanced intermediate (2205–2206) or advanced (3307–3308) East Asian language courses.

Additional notes concerning both area-specific and discipline-based options:

  • A senior seminar (3000–4079) is required and must be taken at Bowdoin.
  • One first-year seminar may count toward the major.
  • One course taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option may count toward the major as long as a CR (Credit) grade is earned and the course is not at the 3000 level.
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in order to have a course count toward the major.
  • One course is allowed to double count.
  • Asian studies majors may not also minor in Chinese or Japanese language.

Requirements for the Minor in Asian Studies

Students minor in Asian studies by taking five courses. Of these five:

  • one may be an advanced language course (2205–3308);
  • one may be a first-year seminar; and
  • one course may be taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option as long as a Credit (CR) grade is earned.

In addition, students must earn a grade of C- or better for a course to count toward the minor. No double-counting of courses is allowed for the minor.

Requirements for Minor in Chinese or Japanese Language

Students minor in Chinese or Japanese language by taking five courses. Of these five:

  • four courses are required in the chosen language; and
  • one additional course may be either an advanced language course or a literature, film, art history, or visual culture course in the area of language study, including a first-year seminar.
  • Students who have a background in the language must take four classes in their chosen language from the point where they are placed in the placement exam.
  • One course taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option may count toward the minor as long as a CR (Credit) grade is earned.

In addition, students must earn a grade of C- or better for a course to count toward the language minor. No double-counting of courses is allowed for the language minor.

Off-Campus Study

Study abroad is highly recommended. Established programs in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are available for students interested in China. Students are particularly encouraged to attend the ACC, CET, and IUP programs and the Middlebury Program in Kunming. The SILS at Waseda University, IES at Nanzan University, and JCMU programs are recommended for students interested in Japan, but students may select another program based on their academic interests. The ISLE and SITA programs are recommended for students interested in South Asia. Students should consult with the Asian studies office or website and the Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study for information about these and other programs.

Up to three credits from off-campus study (excluding first- and second-year language courses) may count toward the major. Up to two credits from off-campus study (excluding language courses) may count toward the minors.

Program Honors

Students contemplating an honors project in Asian studies should have the following:

  • a GPA of B+ or higher in program course offerings, or within their track of concentration;
  • a clearly articulated and well-focused research topic; and
  • a high measure of academic motivation and commitment.

An honors project in Asian studies is a significant scholarly undertaking. It is at once an opportunity and a responsibility. It allows students to conduct intensive research in an area of their choosing, work closely with several faculty advisers, and contribute their voice to an ongoing scholarly dialogue. It takes students into the library and sometimes beyond campus in search for materials and ideas that students make their own. It is, in many ways, what faculty members do in their own scholarly work.

Students interested in pursuing an honors project in Asian studies are highly encouraged to attend the program’s honors meeting during the spring semester.