The Asian Studies program provides holistic and in-depth knowledge of Asia from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to prepare Lafayette students for careers in politics, business, law, academia, public service, nonprofit organizations, and other venues.

As a region, Asia has experienced rapid economic, social, and political transformations in the modern period due to internal dynamics and interactions with the global economy and strategic environment. With increasing transnational flows of information, goods, money, people, and culture, Asia represents one of the most globally integrated regions. Home to over half the world’s population, divided into 27 nation-states, Asia is also characterized by its internal diversity. The Asian studies program introduces students to Asia’s distinctive political, cultural, and socio-economic systems, defined in part by the historical interplay of transnational religious, artistic, and political systems and civilizations.

As a program, Asian studies aims to provide its majors with the following:

  1. A familiarity with the region’s geography, history, social structures, political systems, fine arts, and religious traditions.
  2. Critical tools for understanding and comparatively examining Asian institutions and cultures in local, regional, and global contexts.
  3. An in-depth knowledge about a specific problem, topic, or process within the broad field of Asian studies.
  4.  An in-depth knowledge about at least one nation within Asia.
  5. Intermediate proficiency in an Asian language.

Asian Studies Major

Nine courses including ASIA 101; 490 or 495/496; seven courses selected from the approved list (a maximum of two language courses); a Foreign Language requirement (Intermediate language proficiency, e.g., Chinese or JAPN 112 or another approved Asian language); and the AB Common Course of Study.

Example 1:

  • ASIA 101
  • Japanese language sequence 101-112 (language proficiency + 2 maximum towards the major)
  • MUS 103 Introduction to World Music Traditions
  • ART 140 Art and Architecture of World Traditions: Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania
  • ART 242 Chinese Art and Architecture
  • REL 260 Global Muslim Literature and Film
  • ASIA 270 Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Cinema
  • ASIA 490 Asian Studies Capstone Course

Example 2

  • ASIA 101
  • Chinese 211-212 (tested out of first-year Chinese)
  • INDS 128 China: An Ancient Civilization and New Global Power (interim)
  • GOVT 238 East Asian International Relations
  • HIST 249 20th Century East Asia: Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan
  • GOVT 270 Chinese Foreign Policy
  • GOVT 415 Nationalism in World Politics
  • ASIA 495-496 Honors Thesis in Asian Studies

Asian Studies Minor

Five courses including ASIA 101 and four courses from the approved list. A maximum of two language courses.

Example 1

  • ASIA 101
  • Chinese 101-102
  • REL 211 Hinduism: Unities and Diversity
  • REL 212 Buddhism: From India to Asia and Beyond

Example 2

  • ASIA 101
  • MUS 231 World Music: Japan
  • ART 242 Chinese Art and Architecture
  • REL 260 Global Muslim Literature and Film
  • REL 305 Muhammad and Prophecy

For more information, contact program chair Professor Barclay at (610) 330-5178 or barclayp@lafayette.edu