Asian Studies Program

Program Director: P. Richard Bohr

Department Coordinator: Norma Koetter

The Asian Studies major and minor prepare students for personal and professional engagement in and with Asia in accordance with the Benedictine commitment to service, learning in community, multiculturalism, leadership, and global citizenship.  Graduates of Asian Studies at CSB/SJU go on to pursue careers in education, religion, government, diplomacy, international relations, law, business, medicine, journalism, non-profit and non-governmental activism, and other professional paths. 

This major offers an interdisciplinary and experiential liberal arts approach to the study of Asia's great traditions, modern transformation, global Diaspora, and its pivotal role in today's world.   The curriculum offers a broad array of courses in art, economics, environmental studies, gender studies, global business leadership, geography, history, language and literature, management, philosophy, political science, and theology. Coursework is complemented by study abroad, May Term experiences, service learning, internships, teaching, and other experiential opportunities in China, Japan, and India.  Courses taken at our study abroad sites in China, Japan, and India count toward the major and minor.  (Please consult the Office of Education Abroad for a complete listing of study abroad courses.)

Assessment of Student Learning

The Asian Studies Program pursues on-going assessment of its curriculum, pedagogy, and experiential offerings. Through student surveys, oral presentations, the senior thesis, and experiential activities, we regularly assess the Department's efforts in meeting student objectives established in our Assessment Mission Statement and Plan. Assessment data are used to assist the Asian Studies faculty in its periodic program review.

Major in Asian Studies (48 credits)

Students majoring in Asian Studies are required to complete 48 credits of courses from the interdisciplinary offerings listed below. An introductory level course, ASIA 200, to be taken in the spring of the sophomore year, exposes students to a broad understanding of Asian Studies. ASIA 399, taken in the senior year, is the a capstone experience in which students explore a chosen topic in a more in-depth manner under the guidance of the Asian Studies faculty. Students majoring in Asian Studies are required to study an Asian language through the intermediate (CHIN212 or JAPN212) level; additional English-language courses to complete the major should be selected based on the student's specific interest, and in consultation with a faculty advisor. While many Asian Studies courses are centered on the humanities, students are expected to take at least 8 credits from the social sciences or the arts. All courses taken through CSB/SJU study abroad programs in China, Japan, and India will count toward the elective course requirements for the Asian Studies major.

Students will pursue a three-course concentration that is thematic, geographic, or chronological (e.g. "women in Asia," "India," or "nineteenth-century Asia") and which is explained in the student focus statement developed in the ASA 200 course and in consultation with the Director of Asian Studies.

Asian Studies students must complete their Common Curriculum Experiential Learning requirement through an Asia- or Asian America-related experience which include but is not necessarily limited to CSB/SJU-approved semester study abroad, internship, teaching, and service learning activities related to the student's chosen concentration.

No more than 4 credits from non-CSB/SJU study abroad experiences will apply toward the Asian Studies major without prior approval of the Chair of Asian Studies.

Minor in Asian Studies (20 credits) 

The minor requires 20 credits:  Asia 200, 4 credits at the 100 level and 12 credits at the 300  level.  Chinese and Japanese language courses will not count for this minor; students interested in pursuing a minor using coursework in these languages should consider the Chinese and Japanese minors offered through the department of Modern and Classical Languages.  Literature in translation courses offered under the MCLT course designation will count toward the Asian Studies minor. 

Minor in Chinese Language

This minor is administered by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and requires courses in Chinese language and culture.  For more information on the Chinese minor, go to the Modern and Classical Languages website.

Minor in Japanese Language

This minor is administered by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and requires courses in Japanese language and culture. For more information on the Japanese minor, go to the Modern and Classical Languages website.


ASIA 200 - Intro to Asian Studies (4)
This course introduces Asian Studies majors and minors to the range of disciplines within the field of Asian Studies through four units taught by four different Asian Studies faculty. In addition to examining a variety of themes focusing on Japan, China, and South Asia, students will also engage in career-preparation and experiential activities. At the beginning of the course, students will write a focus statement describing their planned Asian Studies concentration topic (thematic, geographical or chronological). The coursework will culminate in a final paper that explores an issue based on each student's concentration topic.  Course offered for A-F grading only.

ASIA 271 - Independent Study (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

ASIA 371 - Independent Study (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

ASIA 397 - Internship (1-16)
Completed Application for Internship Form REQUIRED.  See Internship Office Web Page.   Internships are offered for S/U grading only.

ASIA 399 - Asian Studies Capstone (4)
Senior ASIA majors only.  Offered for A-F grading only.

ART 208 - Non-Western Art Survey: Asia (4)
Selected Survey of great architecture, sculpture and painting of Asia and other non-Western cultures.  A study of artworks in relation to religion, culture, philosophy and geography of the non-Western world.

ART 240 - Topics in Art History: Chinese Photography (4)
A special interest course offered periodically on subjects or themes such as American Art, World Art, etc.

ART 309 - East Asian Gardens (4)
A series of special interest courses offered periodically on subjects or themes such as Japanese Ceramics, Icons, or Ritual Art.

CHIN 111/112 - Elementary Chinese (4, 4)
Introduction to the basic elements of the Chinese language.  Practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, including work with grammar, pronunciation, and culture.

CHIN 211/212 - Intermediate Chinese. (4, 4)
Review and continued study of grammar together with additional training in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  211 and 212 emphasize Chinese culture and civilization.  Satisfactory completion of Chinese 211 fulfills the global language proficiency requirement.

CHIN 311/312 - Third-Year Chinese (4, 4)
Designed to help students solidify and further their communicative and writing ability in Chinese through contact with various written styles of modern Chinese.  Advanced Chinese also provides a basic introduction to contemporary Chinese literature and culture.

COLG 280 - May Term: Economic Development & Social Change in China (2)
A series of topics courses offered during the summer term.

ECON 316 - Asian Economies (4)
 Examines the rise of the Asia-Pacific as an important economic, cultural, and geopolitical region.  Concentrates primarily on the post-World War II growth performance of the "Asian Tigers" in East and Southeast Asia.  Studies how these countries transformed themselves from peasant societies into global industrial powerhouses within their regional and international contexts.  Prerequisite: ECON 111.

ECON 317 - International Economics (4)
Uses elementary techniques to examine the reasons for and consequences of international trade.  Explores the gains from trade, impact of trade on factor markets, the problems of labor and capital mobility and current commercial policy disputes (such as tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions).  Also examines financial aspects of trade, including the balance of payments and exchange rates.  Prerequisite: ECON 111.

ECON 362 - Economic Development (4)
 Examination and analysis of the economic problems of less developed countries.  Emphasis on critical examination of current economic development theory, policies, and programs as they are applied in developing countries.  Prerequisite: ECON 334.

ENGL 385 - Literature of the Indian Subcontinent (4)
Special topics in Literature.  Recent courses have included Envisioning Nature, Literature of South Asia, and Women and Power in Medieval Literature.

ENGL 386 - Tinsel Dreams: Cinema and Social Change in India (4)
Analysis of film through one or more theoretical aspects.  Psychoanalytical, feminist, cultural studies, and reader-response theories are among possible approaches offered.

ENVR 300J - Sustainability in Asia (4)
In-depth study of an environmental issue, perspective, or methodology at the upper-division level.  Course may be repeated for credit when topics vary with approval of Department Chair. Varies.

GBUS 337 - Doing Business in Asia (4)
This course will focus on South and East Asia.  Students will learn about the cultural milieu in a variety of Asian countries, and the impact of the milieu on business practice.  We will study the strategic environment of doing business in Asia, learn about major Asian businesses, and immerse ourselves in Asian business practices.

GBUS 341 Operations (4)
The course will provide fundamentals of operation functions both in  manufacturing and service industries. The course focuses on interesting hot button theories and issues like operation strategy,  product design and process selection, total quality control (TQM), just in time (JIT)/lean systems, supply chain, supply chain management and green supply chain, six sigma, forecasting, techniques, layout design, planning, inventory controls and much more. Part of the course will be taught as an applied operations management course examining how theories play out in reality in actual companies in the local region.

GEND 290B - Chinese Women in Literature (4) 
A sustained interdisciplinary analysis of selected topics in Gender Studies at the intermediate level.  Topics will vary each year.

GEND 360 - Colonial Violence and the Mother-Daughter Relationship (4)
A sustained interdisciplinary analysis of selected topics in Gender and Women's Studies at the upper division level.  Topics will vary each year.

GEND 381 - Sex and Gender in Global Perspectives (4)
Examines issues of sex and gender from cross-cultural perspectives.  Themes vary but may include: international sex trade, global women's movements, gender and economic development, GLBT human rights movements, health and environmental issues, or cross-cultural conceptions of masculinity.  Course will vary according to the particular instructor's design.  Prerequisite: GEND 101 for GEND majors.

HIST 114 - East Asia Before 1800 (4)
A survey of East Asia-including China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam-from ancient times to the dawn of the modern era.  Explores the building blocks of East Asian civilization and analyzes the changes set in motion by the region's contact with the West between 1600 and 1800.  Every year.

HIST 115 - East Asia Since 1800 (4)
A survey of continuity and change in the modern transformation of China (including the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan), Korea, Japan and Vietnam.  Examines each country's role in the other's development; the impact of Western imperialism on the "modernization" of the region since 1800; and the implications of the "Asian Century".  Every year.

HIST 116 - South Asia Before 1500 (4)
A survey of the history of the South Asia (the Indian subcontinent) from ancient times to 1700 CE.  Course focuses on topics such as the role of religious traditions.  Forms of government, changing socio-economic formations, and art, literature, and culture will also be explored.  Where appropriate, course will address the similarities and differences between South Asian development and that of the other regions in the world.  Every year.

HIST 117 - Indian Subcontinent Since 1500 (4)
This class examines the history of the Indian subcontinent, one of the largest and most populous world regions, from the rise of the Mughal Empire to the advent and decline of the British Empire.  Important themes include wealth and power in pre-colonial India, the impact of British colonialism, as well as the rise of Gandhi.  We will explore how the concepts of religion, gender, and identity evolved and changed during this time from multiple perspectives.  Every year.

HIST 118 - Islam and the West (4)
This class will provide and introductory history of the Islamic World through a comparative analysis of Muslim societies in the Middle East and Asia.  We will study the rise and spread of Islamic social movements.  We also will concentrate on the interactions between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, highlighting issues that include the influence of colonialism, Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations and Islam as a political, social, and religious force in the contemporary world.  Every year.

HIST 300 - Topics in Asian American History (4)
An in-depth examination of selected topics, with an emphasis on critical reading, analysis, written critiques and discussion.  Course may be repeated for credit when topics vary and with consent of the Asian Studies Director.

HIST 305 - Gandhi and Nationalism (4)
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most celebrated historical figures and peace activists in modern history, yet few fully grasp his ideas and impact.  This course will help to introduce you to Gandhi, examining his life, teachings, and actions, as well as global influence.  The assigned readings have been selected to provide historical background and thought-provoking discussions, and include speeches, memoirs, literature, and film.  They provide an Asian and a global focus, as we analyze social justice movements in India as well as the United States - including the US Civil Rights Movement.  You also will have the opportunity (although it is not required) to research a local social-justice organization through a service-learning option developed for this course.  A background in South Asian history is not required.  Every year.

HIST 315 - Islamist, Modernists, Mughals: Muslims in South Asia (4)
This class focuses on the history of Islam in South Asia and the development of a modern Islamic identity in the region, from the Mughal Empire to the twentieth century.  South Asia contains more Muslims than any other region, and it is central to understanding the political, religious, and cultural concerns of the Muslim World.  Important course themes include the continuities and changes of leaders to the rise of European colonial influence in the region, and the development of contemporary Islamic movements -some moderate and some extreme - that have impacted our world.  Every year.

HIST 316 - China in Revolution, 1800-1949 (4)
An analysis of China's transformation from Middle Kingdom to People's Republic.  Explores traditional China's decline amid rebellion and the Opium Wars with the West; efforts to combat dynastic decay, famine, poverty, foreign domination, warlords and Japanese invasion; U.S.-China Relations; and Communism's victory in 1949.  Alternate years.

HIST 317 - The People's Republic of China. (4)
An analysis  of China's socialist revolution since 1949.  Explores the rise of Communism in China; the China of Mao, Deng, Jiang, Hu and Xi; and U.S.-China relations since 1972.  Previews the integration of the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan into a post-communist "Greater China" during the current "Asian Century".  Alternate years.

HIST 319 - Modern Japan, 1868-Present (4)
A study of Japan's transformation from feudal mosaic to economic superpower.  Analyzes the "modernization" process set in motion by the Meji Restoration of 1868; the impact of its Asian neighbors and the West on Japan's economic and military rise; and U.S.-Japan relations since WWII.  Examines Japan's role in the current "Asian Century."  Alternate years.

HIST 368 - The U.S. and the World (4)
An examination of the U.S. role in world affairs since 1929.  Topics include isolationism, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam and post-war adjustments, Reagan's efforts to restore primacy, involvement in the Middle East, the search for a post-Cold War role, and the roots of the war on terrorism.  Alternate years.

HONR 230 - China in Focus: Photography of 1850-Present (4)
A study of great authors for the theater, artists and/or composers and their works.  Fulfills the Common Curriculum requirement for the Social Sciences.

JAPN 111/112 - Elementary Japanese (4, 4)
Introduction to the basic structure of the Japanese language.  Practice in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on an accurate command of grammar and culturally appropriate communication skills.

JAPN 211 - Intermediate Japanese I (4)
Review and continued study of language skills.  Satisfactory completion of this course fulfills the core foreign language proficiency.

JAPN 212 - Intermediate Japanese II (4)
Review and continued study of grammar together with additional training in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

JAPN 311/312 - Third-Year Japanese (4, 4)
Review and continued  development of grammar together with development of skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

MCLT 315 - Folklore, Myth and Legend in Chinese and Chinese American Literature (4)
In this class, we read the English translations of popular Chinese folklore, legends, and myths. These include the tale of Mulan, the story of the Cowherd and the Weaver Goddess, and the legend of Caiji. We analyze how the stories evolved throughout history and how they were told differently in mainstream and vernacular cultures. More interestingly, we examine a number of adaptations of these stories in film, story-telling and writings by Chinese American authors, and compare the differences in terms of language, theme and function.

MCLT 316 - Radical Fantasies: Contemporary Japanese Women Writers (4)
This course introduces entertainment novels, comics, and films created by Japanese female writers and directors since the 1970s. Postwar economic development made it possible for young talented women to go into a variety of cultural fields and become successful. We examine how these contemporary female creators have come to terms with issues of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation as well as how their products have intersected the changing phases of economic conditions. Their works have created new businesses, not only in Japan but also in the broader Asian market, by being combined with thriving local entertainment industries. We also consider what these phenomena signify, especially when the images of the West, Asia, the US and Japan are diversely reflected in these works.

MCLT 319 - Transnational East Asia (4)
This course surveys literary and visual texts in East Asia including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea, but with a focus on Japan. We will examine developments of cultural materials in the national and transnational contexts across the region since the turn of the twentieth century, and also how these cultural activities expose collaborative, competitive, and conflicting relationships between them. In Part I, we will analyze what imaginative spaces have emerged from the use of pre-modern narratives in recent box-office hit movies, TV dramas, and best-selling manga. In Part II, we will investigate how national subjects have been formulated through the creation of national literatures in modern Japanese, Korean, and Chinese culture spheres in the wake of the expansion of the Japanese Empire.

MGMT 201 - Principles of Management in a Global Context
This class gives students a foundation in management theories and concepts. The course will help students improve their communication skills and practice problem solving, conflict resolution and decision making as an individual and in groups. Students will develop an understanding and relationship of the traditional functional areas of organizations; Marketing, Human Resources, Operations and Finance. The class setting will frequently utilize global business settings, cases and examples. Students will examine multiple ethical perspectives and learn to utilize these perspectives as a context for decision making.

PHIL 156 - Asian Philosophy (4)
An introduction to the foundational texts of the South Asian and Chinese philosophical traditions.  Texts originating in South Asia (i.e., the Indian subcontinent) will include selections from the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and early sutras from the Theravada Buddhist tradition.  The Chinese traditions of Taoism and Confucianism will be approached through study of the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius.

PHIL 339 - Chinese Philosophy (4)
An introduction to the Chinese philosophical tradition through selected foundational texts like the Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Tzu, the Analects of Confucius, the Menicus, the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and selections from the writings of Chu Hsi.  Students will also study early Chinese philosophical teachings concerning the nature of male and female and their appropriate social roles, contemporary analysis of the role Confucian teachings played in constructing these gender categories and institutions, and philosophical discussions of the compatibility of Confucian teachings with contemporary (Western) egalitarian gender sensibilities.

POLS 121 Intro to International Relations (4)
Analysis of the fundamental structure of the international system, including power, development, war and peace and trade viewed from a political, economic and social perspective.

POLS 223 Comparative Politics (4)
Examination of how politics is practiced in many different ways. Through examples of countries from Europe to developing world, this course analyses different forms of institutions, governmental decision-making and political revolutions. The course highlights the significance of particular histories, the availability of economic resources for development, and the influence of distinct cultures and social traditions to explain why these countries reflect economic and political forms different from the United States. Not available to first-year students.

POLS 346 - Asian Politics (4)
Examination of the politics and economics of three Asian countries, namely India, China and Japan. Contemporary politics is examined through a broad study of history, cultural and social traditions, and economic conditions. The U.S. relationships with each of these nations are also studied in light of distinct foreign policy approaches.

POLS 355 - International Political Economy (4)
Examination of international economic linkages that play a significant role in defining relations among states and non-state actors in the post-cold war world.  While security has been perceived primarily in military terms, in the new world economic conditions will determine the ranking among nations.  Agreements establishing the European Union, the North American Free Trade Area, and the World Trade Organization (WTO)/ General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are symbolic of the significance of global economic concerns.  The course analyzes national and international responses to the challenge of global economic competition.  Alternate years.

POLS 358 - Topics: International Relations and Comparative Politics: Security (4)
In this course, students will explore issues of international security from different perspectives. The course will start by looking at traditional security issues involving violence and warfare, but then move on to economic security, environmental security, human security and human rights. Students will examine the role of states, international institutions, and non-governmental actors that define the contemporary meaning of security.

THEO 327 - Judaism/Christianity/Islam (4)
This course examines a variety of Christian theological positions on other religions. Perspectives from the Bible, Church councils, doctrinal statements, and works of theologians are studied. Concurrently, attention is given to other religions and their relationships to Christianity.

THEO 363 - World Religions (4)
This course focuses on major religions of the world cross-culturally in terms of categories such as sacred text, sacred time, sacred space, myth, ritual, symbol, ethics, and politics.  The relationships among the religions and topics pertaining to inter-religious dialogue are examined.

THEO 365 - Islam and the Judeo-Christian Tradition (4)
This course explores the history of Islam and its interpretations, as well as doctrines and practices among Muslims in various parts of the world.  It examines the Quran and Hadith, and topics related to women and gender, Islamic law, and Islam and politics, and it examines the relationship between Islam and the Judeo-Christian tradition.

THEO 369B - Modern Islamic Political Movements (4)
After providing an introduction to the beliefs, practices, and history of Islam, this course will analyze some of the relationships between Islam and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries among Islamist (or "fundamentalist Islamic groups") in the Middle East, South Asia, and other parts of the world. Specifically, the course will examine the histories, ideologies, and structures of groups. This course will examine the religious, theological, and political, foundations of these groups while analyzing their work in education, literacy, social service to people in many sectors of societies (including the underprivileged), religious and political instruction, and community-building. The course will also explore the various perspectives of members of these groups and movements toward peace and violence as well as their religiously- and politically-based reasons for attacking various targets. Finally, the course will compare and contrast those Islamist trends with those represented by some liberal Muslims.