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Walker Institute of International and Area Studies

  • A celebration of culture.

Asian Studies Minor

The interdisciplinary Asian Studies minor prepares you to thrive in a world shaped by the dynamic societies of all regions of Asia. You’ll gain a solid global foundation by exploring the history, culture, and politics of this world region. 

The Center for Asian Studies also creates collaborative research and exchange agreements with academic centers across Asia, and it hosts one of the leading conferences on Taiwan in the United States. 

Our Courses

As an Asian studies minor, you’ll learn the history, politics, and economics of the continent.

Spring 2024 Course Offerings

Instructor: Marc Moskowitz

Meeting Time and Place: Hamilton College 143 on TR @ 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Course Description: This course will use films and anthropological scholarship to provide a broad introductory overview of East Asian Culture (China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan). 

Instructor: Amanda Wangwright

Meeting Time and Place: McMaster College 329 on TR @ 8:30 am - 9:45 am

Course Description: Stretching from Neolithic painted pottery to twentieth-century Political Pop, this course focuses on key developments in the visual arts of China. Over the semester, we will encounter diverse topics: bronze vessels used in ritual sacrifices, tombs constructed to mimic underground palaces, colossal Buddhas carved into living rock, opulent decorative arts produced for the court, and calligraphic landscape paintings made by and for the educated elite. This course emphasizes understanding various representative arts in their cultural and historical contexts.

Instructor: Professor Amanda Wangwright

Meeting Time and Place: McMaster College 329 on TR @ 10:05 am - 11:20 am

Course Description: This seminar will examine artistic depictions of women throughout Chinese history, as well as the changing roles of female artists in China. Weekly readings and discussions examine a range of topics, such as the feminine ideal as depicted in art and its stylistic evolution, traditional roles for women in the arts, and the professional opportunities available to women in twentieth-century China. Lectures will address the canon of Chinese art history, while readings and discussions will analyze women’s participation in the arts.

Instructor: Professor Jiang Liu

Meeting Time and Place: Humanities Office Building 615 on MW @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Course Description: Understand and analyze Chinese society and its relation to the world via the Chinese language historical context and its usage in various genres, mass media, movies, etc.

Instructor: Professor Gregory Patterson

Meeting Time and Place: Classroom TBD on MWF @ 2:20 pm - 3:10 pm

Course Description: This course will explore theories and practices of translation, with a focus on the history of translating Chinese literature into English. Students will gain knowledge of major concepts and debates in the field of translation studies, and how these are reflected in the styles of important individual translators. We will also produce our own translations, experimenting with a variety of approaches. While the focus will be on Chinese literature, the course is intended for anyone interested in translation. Chinese language proficiency is not required.

Instructor: Professor Jie Guo

Meeting Time and Place: Humanities Classroom Building 315 on TR @ 10:05 am - 11:20 am

Course Description: A survey of literary masterpieces from China, India, Japan, and Korea. 

Instructor: Professor Sarah Waheed

Meeting Time and Place: Gambrell Hall 006 on TR @ 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Course Description: For many centuries, the peoples living on the rim of the Indian Ocean had established a vast maritime network that linked India, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and East Africa. The wealth and trade that crossed the Indian Ocean surpassed that of any other world region. It was in the hope of accessing this commercial zone that Europeans embarked on voyages of ‘discovery.’ We will study peoples and societies brought into contact through interregional migration and travel across the Indian Ocean world over a broad arc of history: from the rise of Islam in the 7th century, through the present. Different kinds of people – nobles, merchants, soldiers, statesmen, sailors, scholars, slaves – experienced mobility in different ways. What kinds of cooperation, accommodation, or conflict did different Indian Ocean encounters engender? Using various primary sources, we look at particular case studies and their broader social and cultural contexts. At the heart of the course is attention to the ways in which primary sources provide access to the historical meanings of their contexts of production. Close reading will be an important aspect of both class discussions and writing assignments. 

The goal of the course is for students to gain a basic sense of how the Indian Ocean was interconnected from medieval to modern times. We begin in the medieval period to get a firm sense of what the Indian Ocean world was like before the arrival of Europeans. By the early sixteenth century, the rise of early-modern land-based empires across Asia, on the one hand, and the arrival of European maritime powers, on the other, globalized and politicized the Indian Ocean in new ways. We consider how these changes impacted the societies and cultures of the Ocean. The dominance of European empire-building from the end of the 18th century enabled new modes of travel, types of encounters and textual representations. 

This is course of global history: it provides a general set of conceptual and analytic tools for examining societies and cultures across temporal and spatial bounds, through the specific lens of particular texts and contexts. Texts and readings will draw upon recent secondary research as well as historical and literary primary source materials. Students will also watch documentary films and listen to relevant podcasts.

Instructor: Professor Na Sil Heo 

Meeting Time and Place: Gambrell 302 on TR @ 11:40 am - 12:55 pm

Course Description: This course offers an overview of burgeoning studies of childhood in East Asia for us to think about childhood as a methodology of studying and researching East Asian history. (Reading and research on selected historical subjects. Permission of the instructor required.)

Instructor: Professor Na Sil Heo

Meeting Time and Place: Gambrell 217 on T @ 8:30 am - 10:30 am

Course Description: This senior seminar explores the history of the Korean peninsula since 1945 in the context of the global Cold War. By examining topics, such as liberation, national division, economic development, and divided families, the course will inquire into how the histories of Korea and the Cold War were closely intertwined.

Instructor: Professor Junko Baba

Meeting Time and Place: Humanities Classroom Building 415 on T @ 4:25 pm - 7:10 pm

Course Description: Introduction to Japanese theater/performing arts and its influences on Japanese culture and society. Taught in English.

Instructor: Professor Daniel M. Stuart

Meeting Time and Place: Close-Hipp Building 337 on TR @ 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Course Description: This course will explore the early history of Buddhism in its Indian context. We will look closely at the philosophies, rituals and meditative practices of Indian Buddhists and the historical developments that such practices underwent before and during their exportation to regions such as China, Tibet, and mainland Southeast Asia. The course will also engage contemporary questions regarding the way Buddhism is imagined, understood, and recreated by modern practitioners from all regions of the globe.

Summer 2024 Maymesters

Area: Global Classroom

Location: Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kyoto

Country: Japan

Term: Maymester

Faculty and Staff: Matthew Brown 

*Students must speak with Matthew Brown first before completing an application through the Education Abroad Office.*

Course: SPTE 570

Dates: 05/05/2024-05/14/2024

Program Contact:

Program Description: During the course of this trip, students will develop advanced knowledge of the professional sport industry in Japan through exposure to various professional sport tournaments (professional baseball, professional soccer, and sumo wrestling). By learning about the history, culture, people, and language of Japan as well as acquiring an understanding of how Japan has become a major player in the Asian sport industry, students will become better acquainted with global sport management practices.

Students will be able to compare and contrast the differences between the sport industry in the US and Japan and also develop an understanding about the role Japanese professional sports play in the Asian and global sport industry. Students will also research information about the trip prior to departure in order to take full advantage of the wealth of opportunities presented by this study abroad experience.

In order to become more aware of Japan and its cultural opportunities, students will develop a basic knowledge of the history and cultural importance of the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kyoto, in general, and specifically as they relate to managing the business of sport. Of particular interest will be exploring how best practices in global sports management have originated in this region. Students spend 3 days in Tokyo learning about Nippon Professional Baseball and the Tokyo Olympic legacy. They will be exposed to industry professionals and academic experts, and then spend 1 day in Osaka, 2 in Hiroshima, 1 in Kyoto, and 2days back in Tokyo exploring sport sites and cultural attractions in order to compare how sport business is practiced within Japan and overall in Asia.

Application Deadline: March 1

Visit the Education Abroad Office website for more information about the program and application process.

Area: Global Classroom

Location: Seoul, Gyeongju, and Pusan

Country: South Korea
Term: Maymester

Faculty and Staff: Na Sil Heo

*Students must speak with Na Sil Heo first before completing an application through the Education Abroad Office.*

Course: HIST 105

Dates: 05/13/2024 - 05/24/2024

Program Contact:

Program Description: Students will deepen their understanding of S. Korea and East Asia in this exciting program. Experiential learning opportunities include iconic locations such as the Gwangjang Market, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Buckchon Hanok Village as well as various temples and museums and a day trip to the DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ). There will be a chance to unwind at an overnight temple stay-a unique, bucket-list experience for any traveler to S. Korea! Other overnight excursions will include a trip to Busan as well as Gyeongju to visit the ancient Daereungwon Tomb Complex.

Application Deadline: March 1

To view the complete list of course options and minor requirements visit the Asian Studies academic bulletin.

Our People

Our faculty associates come from across the university and bring unique perspectives that impart a solid interdisciplinary foundation.  

Taiwan Academy

The Taiwan Academy offers a platform to learn about the history and culture of Taiwan. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.