Mission Statement of the Department of Asian Studies
The mission of the Department of Asian Studies is to help as many students as possible—both majors and non-majors—develop practical proficiency in Asian languages and, in the tradition of the liberal arts, acquire a meaningful understanding of important facets of one or more of the disciplines represented within Asian Studies (including anthropology, art history, economics, history, linguistics, literature, music, political science, religion, and sociology), so that they may realize their fullest intellectual and personal potential and be able to make useful contributions to society. We offer three distinct major tracks: Asian Studies, Chinese, and Japanese.
Learning Objectives for the Asian Studies Major
Asian Studies is a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary major track that combines the humanities and social sciences with language study. It aims to help students develop practical proficiency in an Asian language and, in the tradition of the liberal arts, acquire a meaningful understanding of important facets of Asia through a particular disciplinary lens. Beyond training in the discipline they choose for their three-course disciplinary qualification, students have the opportunity to explore a range of other disciplinary approaches and perspectives.
Majors in Asian Studies will:
- Attain a practical proficiency in an Asian language (either Chinese or Japanese currently offered by the department, or Hindi or Korean, offered by the Critical Language Program of the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
- Gain awareness and understanding of a particular country or region in Asia through training in one of the disciplines represented in the Department of Asian Studies (anthropology, art history, economics, history, linguistics, literature, music, political science, religion, or sociology).
- Have an opportunity to explore a range of disciplinary approaches and perspectives in addition to their primary disciplinary focus and apply a range of research methodologies with a focus on interdisciplinarity.
- Develop close reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills by engaging in cross-linguistic, cross-cultural, and comparative historical analysis.
- Gain a comparative perspective on issues affecting Asia as a region.
- Develop global awareness and engagement through identification of the values, perspectives, and practices of Asian societies, both past and present.
Learning Objectives for the Chinese Major
Consisting of a core language curriculum and a variety of courses in the various disciplines represented in the department, the Chinese major track enables students to achieve proficiency in aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing in Mandarin Chinese, as well as to understand the cultural traditions and diversity of the Chinese speaking regions in the world. Majors in Chinese are expected to function as responsible global citizens, able to use the Chinese language to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world, while remaining keenly aware and respectful of varying cultural beliefs, norms, and sensitivities.
Students who complete the requirements of a major in Chinese will be able to:
- Attain the “advanced” level in speaking, listening and reading, and “intermediate-high” level in writing based on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.
- Understand the basic grammar and vocabulary of Classical Chinese.
- Master intercultural skills to competently navigate a wide range of social and cultural contexts.
- Critically read and analyze a variety of Chinese-language primary sources for academic and professional purposes.
- Acquire research, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills by engaging in cross-linguistic, cross-cultural, and comparative historical analysis.
- Engage critically with important aspects of the historical and cultural developments and trends in China’s diverse and complex past and present.
- Continue their engagement with the target language and culture as lifelong learners and users of Chinese.
Learning Objectives for the Japanese Major
The Japanese major consists of a core language curriculum and a variety of interdisciplinary courses offered in the Asian Studies Department. Students achieve linguistic and cultural proficiency from elementary to advanced levels of Japanese language courses. The interdisciplinary courses are designed to deepen students’ understanding of and familiarity with diversity and dynamicity in Japanese culture.
Students who complete the requirements for a major in Japanese will be able to:
- Demonstrate linguistic competency/proficiency in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing in Japanese at the ACTFL intermediate-high to advanced levels.
- Critically read and analyze a variety of Japanese primary sources for academic and professional purposes
- Conduct research by engaging in cross-linguistic, cross-cultural, and comparative historical analysis with problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Critically engage with Japanese culture, past and present, recognizing its diversity and vibrancy.
- Navigate a wide range of social and cultural contexts by communicating effectively and appropriately with people of other cultures in their local and global communities.
- Continue their engagement with Japanese language and culture as lifelong learners and users of Japanese.