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Courses and Requirements

Asian Studies concentrators gain an understanding of the diversity of cultures in Asia through multiple disciplinary practices in the humanities, languages, and social sciences. They gain an in-depth understanding of Asia through the study of Asian languages, with opportunities to study in China, Japan, or India, and learn multidisciplinary approaches to the study of Asia in courses in at least three disciplines, culminating in the senior project.

The Asian Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary approach to studying the cultures, societies, and languages of Asia. Concentrators may study one of three tracks that focus on China, Japan, or South Asia. Students may, in consultation with the program director, elect to develop a comparative course of the study of Asia.

A concentration in Asian Studies consists of nine courses distributed among at least three departments: Anthropology, Art History, EALL (Chinese, Japanese), English, Government, History, Religious Studies, and Theatre. Concentrators must (1) successfully complete AS 180, (2) take at least three courses at the 300 level or above, and (3) study an Asian language through the intermediate level in coursework at Hamilton or appropriate language study off campus. Concentrators fulfill the College SSIH requirement through successful completion of AS 180 and are encouraged to pursue the study of structural hierarchies in the senior project. Students fulfill the senior project requirement through successful completion of AS 550. Honors in Asian Studies will be awarded to concentrators with at least an 3.3 (88) average in the concentration and who complete 550 with a grade of at least A-.

A minor in Asian Studies consists of five courses, including 180 and four electives approved by the program director.

Building upon this interdisciplinary approach, Asian Studies concentrators are well-prepared for study in an Asian country. In the senior year, concentrators draw together their knowledge from coursework and experiences in Asia to complete senior projects.


Students double majoring in Asian Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) may use upper-level Chinese or Japanese language courses to satisfy the Asian Studies requirements, providing they are not used to count toward the EALL concentration.

There are three tracks within the Asian Studies concentration: China Studies, Japan Studies, and South Asia Studies. Ordinarily, students choose to focus their coursework and language study in one of these three regional areas. Students with thematic interests in Asia may pursue a comparative course of study in consultation with the Director. A partial list of courses regularly offered in each of these three areas follows a list of requirements for each track.

China Studies track
1. AS 180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
2. Asian Language: The completion of intermediate language study, Chinese 140. In consultation with the program director, students may fulfill this requirement through appropriate language study abroad or through an intensive summer program. Chinese language courses numbered 140 and higher may be used to meet this requirement. (Language courses numbered 140 and above may also be counted toward the 7 core courses.) Students are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced language courses beyond the intermediate level.
3. Core Courses: In consultation with the program director, students design their concentration through the completion of seven courses chosen from at least two departments. Besides Asian Studies 180, one other 100-level course may be counted toward the concentration. At least three of these courses should be at the 300 level or above.
4. Senior Project: Students complete the senior project by enrolling in AS 550.

Japan Studies
1. AS 180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
2. Asian Language: The completion of Japanese 140. In consultation with the program director, students may fulfill this requirement through appropriate language study abroad or through an intensive summer program. Japanese language courses numbered 140 and higher may be used to meet this requirement. (Language courses numbered 140 and above may also be counted toward the 7 core courses.) Students are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced language courses beyond the intermediate level.
3. Core Courses: In consultation with the program director, students design their concentration through the completion of seven courses chosen from at least two departments. No more than two 100-level courses may be counted towards the concentration. At least three of these courses should be at the 300 level or above.
4. Senior Project: Students complete the senior project by enrolling in AS 550.

South Asia Studies
1. AS 180 Exploring Cultures in Asia.
2. Asian Language: The completion of intermediate level Hindi, offered through Critical Languages. (Language courses numbered 140 and above may also be counted toward the 7 core courses.) In consultation with the program director, students may fulfill this requirement through appropriate language study abroad or through an intensive summer program. Hindi language courses numbered 140 and higher may be used to meet this requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced language courses beyond the intermediate level.
3. Core Courses: In consultation with the program director, students design their concentration through the completion of seven courses chosen from at least two departments. Besides Asian Studies 180, one other 100-level course may be counted toward the concentration. At least three of these courses should be at the 300 level or above.
4. AS 550 Senior Project.

China Studies

Anthropology
232 Comparative Ethnographic Study of Asia
248 Peoples of China
338 The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism

Art History
154 Arts and Cultures of Asia
258 Political Power and Cultural Authority: The Arts of China
352 Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Cultural Economy

Asian Studies
218 Smart Films for a Smart World

East Asian Languages and Literatures - Chinese
160 Modern China Through Film
200 Third-Year Chinese I
210 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature: Traditions and Modernists
215 Chinese Literature in Translation
220 Third-Year Chinese II
240 Exploring the Roots of Contemporary Issues in China
260 Place, Memory, and Empathy: Japan and Its Others
380 Transcultural Chinese-Language Cinema and Hollywood
420 Introduction to Taiwanese Society and Culture
425 Current Issues in Greater China
430 Masterpieces of Chinese Literature
442 Cinematic Heroes and Heroines in Post-Mao China
450 Remembering the Chinese Revolution through Film

Government
211 Politics in China
329 Authoritarian Politics

History
180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
233S Laozi and Confucius in History
235 Women in Modern Asia
280 Chinese Culture in Imperial Times
285 Modernity and Nationhood in China
305 Nomads, Conquerors and Trade: Central and Inner Asia
[337 Confucian Traditions]
[309 Seminar on Asian Temples in a Virtual World}
363 Seminar: Colonial Encounters in Asia
396 History of Gods

Literature and Creative Writing
283 Introduction to Asian American Literature

Religious Studies
225 Buddhist Worlds in the USA
425 Seminar in Mahayana Buddhism

Japan Studies

Anthropology
232 Comparative Ethnographic Study of Asia

Art History
254 Courtier, Samurai, Priests and Chonin: Japanese Art
340 The Arts of Zen Buddhism

Asian Studies
218 Smart Films for a Smart World

Comparative Literature
356 Introduction to Japanese Film

East Asian Languages and Literatures - Japanese
160 Modern Selves and Ways of Seeing: Japanese Film, Animation, and Literature
200-220 Advanced Japanese
205 Topics in Japanese Linguistics
219 Language Acquisition
239 Modern Life and War in Japanese Literature
255 The Languages of East Asia
260 Place, Memory, and Empathy: Japan and Its Others
356 Introduction to Japanese Film
401 Selected Readings in Japanese
402 Japanese Textural Analysis and Translation

History
180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
235 Women in Modern Asia
309 Seminar on Asian Temples in a Virtual World
[360 Mythical Histories in China and Japan]
363 Seminar: Colonial Encounters in Asia

South Asia Studies

Anthropology
220 Contemporary Politics and Culture in India
232 Comparative Ethnographic Study of Asia

Asian Studies
180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
209 Islamic History and Culture
218 Smart Films for a Smart World
256 Islam and Modernity in South Asia

Art History
154 Arts and Cultures of Asia
266 Art of the Islamic World

History
180 Exploring Cultures in Asia
220 Culture & Politics of India
235 Women in Modern Asia
239 The Making of Modern India, 1526-1947
[247 "Cracking India:" Historical and Literary Perspectives on Partition]
305 Nomads, Conquerors and Trade: Central and Inner Asia
[309 Seminar on Asian Temples in a Virtual World]
363 Seminar: Colonial Encounters in Asia
375 Gandhi: His Life and Times
396 History of Gods

Literature and Creative Writing
230 Bollywood Film
283 Introduction to Asian American Literature

Religious Studies
143 Sacred in South Asia
144W Indian Buddhism
244 Religious Conflicts
357W Death, Dying and Afterlife
256 Islam and Modernity in South Asia

Asian Diaspora and Other Courses
History 124 Silk Road
English 283 Introduction to Asian American Literature

160 F Everyday Islam.
Introduction to the study of Islam as an everyday lived religion. The course uses interdisciplinary approaches to understanding Muslim beliefs, practices, and institutional practices. Particular focus on questions of revelation, devotion, law, spirituality, and aesthetics. Students develop facility with analyzing Islamic texts and material culture. (Same as Religious Studies 160.) Usman Hamid.

180 S Exploring Cultures in Asia.
History of South and East Asian cultures beginning in ancient times, emphasizing both their commonalities and distinctive features in comparative context. Critical examination of structural hierarchies that have shaped Asian societies, focusing on ritual and kingship, the spread and transformation of Buddhism throughout Asia, Islamization of South Asia, gender, and the formation of empire. Students read secondary and primary sources, including selections from epic traditions, ritual and mythic sources, and literary texts. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Same as History 180.) Maximum enrollment, 18. Trivedi and Wilson.

[209] Islamic History and Culture.
An interdisciplinary exploration of Muslim societies from the 7th century to the present. Beginning with the origins of Islam, the history of the Quran, and the biography of the Prophet, the course examines how questions of political authority, religious practice, and cultural exchange were navigated as the Muslim community developed. We read texts from Islam’s rich literary heritage and pay close attention to the ways in which the Muslim past continues to animate contemporary debates, practices, and imagination. (Same as History 209 and Religious Studies 209.)

211 S Islamic Spirituality, Mysticism, and Devotion.
Introduction to the rich tradition of Islamic spirituality, mysticism, and devotion, sometimes lumped together under the category of Sufism. We shall adopt an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on key ideas, practices, and institutions that mark these diverse traditions. Students will read Qur’anic verses, Prophetic traditions, didactic literature, devotional poetry, and hagiographies. At the same time, we shall engage closely with questions of rituals, lived experience, built environments, and aesthetics. (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Usman Hamid.

218 F Mobile Media & Creative Ethnography.
introduction to the theory and methods of mobile ethnography. Students develop individual projects using smartphones to document a local community of their choosing. The ethnographic outcome uses digital methods such as short creative writing, photographic postcards, and video snippets. Successful projects will demonstrate a commitment to collaboration, creativity, and mobility. No previous expertise in Asian studies, award-winning aesthetics, or advanced geeky tech required. Pre-requisites: ideas, energy, and an open mind. Maximum enrollment, 16. Emiko Stock.

228 S History of Iran.
This course traces the history of Iran from Late Antiquity to the modern period. It looks beyond the geographic territory of the modern nation state of Iran and considers the impact of Persian culture in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Topics include the cultural and political legacy of pre-Islamic Iran; the impact of the Arab conquest; the Perso-Islamic cultural synthesis; the rise of Turkic and Mongolian dynasties; the emergence of Shi’ism as a state religion in the early modern period; and social and political roots of the Iranian revolution in the twentieth century. (Same as Religious Studies 228 and History 228.) Usman Hamid.

256 S Islam in South Asia.
An exploration of the rich history of Islam in South Asia with a particular focus on the pre-colonial period. Beginning with questions of Islam’s arrival to South Asia, we shall explore the rise of Muslim polities and communities in North India, the proliferation of Sufism across the subcontinent, and the elaboration of Sultanate court culture before focusing on the political, cultural, and religious landscape of Mughal Empire. The course will conclude with a discussion of the impact of colonial rule, modernity, and nationalism in South Asia. (Same as Religious Studies 256 and History 256.) Usman Hamid.

267 S Introduction to Digital Ethnography: Virtual Fieldwork, Real Homework.
Introduction to the theory and methods of digital ethnography. Students develop projects taking the digital as both object and outcome. Students choose an Asian virtual community for study and present final projects on a digital platform. The course interrogates the anthropological separation of “fieldwork” and “homework” in the digital era and raises questions such as: Are social relations erased, transformed, or newly created when the web becomes our world? Are we putting distance between ourselves and others or getting a little too close? Are we now, also, Others among Others? (Same as Cinema and Media Studies 267 and Anthropology 267.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Emiko Stock.

309 S Asian Temples in a Digital World.
Examination of Asian religions in ritual, bodily, and spatial contexts. Discussions of textual and visual sources on human ritual interactions with gods; the use and layout of temples and altars, including food offerings, music, dance, representations of deities; and meditation and internal alchemy. Readings in scholarly sources, instruction in digital historical methods of collecting and analyzing materials on the web. Writing assignments include short essays and a final research project of the student’s design to be presented with text and images in digital form. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 309 and Religious Studies 309.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Thomas Wilson.

320 S Documentary Production for the Ethnographically and Experimentally Inclined.
Introduction to audio-visual digital documentary production. Students work on individual short documentaries based on an Asian community in Utica using filmmakers from Asia and beyond as inspiration. Readings, screenings, and discussions bring together experimental cinema and ethnographic theory and methods. Our ultimate goal is to consider how images can push the limits of the distinction between “fact and fiction” by fusing the real and the surreal. (Same as Cinema and Media Studies 320.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Emiko Stock.

320 S Documentary Production for the Ethnographically and Experimentally Inclined.
Introduction to audio-visual digital documentary production. Students work on individual short documentaries based on an Asian community in Utica using filmmakers from Asia and beyond as inspiration. Readings, screenings, and discussions bring together experimental cinema and ethnographic theory and methods. Our ultimate goal is to consider how images can push the limits of the distinction between “fact and fiction” by fusing the real and the surreal. Maximum enrollment, 16. Emiko Stock.

329 F Art of Devotion: Visual and Material Culture of Islam.
What is the relationship between aesthetics, material culture, and religious experience? In this course we explore this question by examining the aesthetic traditions of Islam, focusing on how Muslims have used literature, visual art, musical performance, and architecture as modes of religious expression and creativity. Through studying aesthetics and devotion in the Islamic tradition, we will reflect on questions of cultural appropriation and reuse, politics of representation, and the global circulation of objects, peoples, and capital. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in Asian Studies, History, or Religious Studies. (Same as Religious Studies 329 and Art History 329 and History 329.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Usman Hamid.

550 F Senior Project.
Seminar in which concentrators develop individually-designed research projects in consultation with the instructor and one other member of the Asian Studies Program Committee. Students discuss their ongoing research with their peers throughout the semester, culminating in formal presentations of the final projects, which demonstrate mastery of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Asia. Prerequisite, at least one Asian Studies course offered at the 300-level. Maximum enrollment, 20. Program Director.

(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)

Contact Information


Asian Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4236 315-859-4390 asianstudies@hamilton.edu
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