Asian Studies

Asia is vast and the home of hundreds of diverse cultures. It contains the remains of some of the most ancient human societies, but today it is also represented by some of the most modern cultural expressions. Hamilton has, for a liberal arts college of its size, an unusually large faculty specializing in Asia. Fourteen members of the faculty from eight departments contribute to a program that includes the study of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Tibet. The teaching and research areas of the Asian Studies faculty include Chinese politics; gender and nationalism in India; Confucian thought and ritual; Daoism; social networks and business practices in Tibet; painting and calligraphy in China; modern Japanese literature and film; Chinese literature and film; Indonesian theatre; Mahayana Buddhist sutras; Chinese and Japanese languages and linguistics, Malaysian anthropology.

The Asian Studies program at Hamilton offers a well-rounded, interdisciplinary approach to the study of Asia. The course of study stresses the importance of Asia’s long cultural traditions and its modern social and political transformations. Language study also plays a key role in the Asian Studies concentration because mastery of a language enables one to study texts and communicate without the barrier that translations often represent.

Students considering a concentration in Asian Studies should start with Asian Studies 180. This course introduces the variety of cultures in East and South Asia by examining the growth of civilizations in the ancient cities of the Indus River valley, along the Yellow River of China, and on the Kanto plain of Japan. Particular attention in this course is paid to students’ written expression of his or her understanding of these cultures. Thus the course is taught in relatively small sections as writing intensive.

Students who intend to concentrate in Asian Studies also should elect courses in an Asian language either through the East Asian Language Department or Critical Languages or in an off-campus, intensive language program. Please consult with the chair of Asian Studies to discuss the various options.

158F Performing Culture: Shamans, Tourists, and Cross-dressers.
Examination of performing arts across Asia from traditional theatre to contemporary pop culture, and how performance functions in society. Topics include shamanic rituals, "invented" traditions, tourism, cross-dressing, and other formations of sociocultural identities. The course will be open to first year students and have no prerequisites. (Same as Dance and Movement Studies 158 and Theatre 158.) Chuyun Oh.

[180F] Exploring Culture in the Great Cities of Asia.
An interdisciplinary exploration of Asian cultures through cities in China, India and Japan from early times to the 20th century. Examines the history and geography of greater Asia; its diverse peoples and their philosophical and literary traditions; their religious and commercial practices; and their art. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as History 180.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
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181F China, Japan, and Korea: Interconnected Histories, 1368 to the Present.
Introduction to the histories of China, Japan, and Korea from the fall of the Mongol Empire to the present. It introduces the writing systems, languages, religions, classical traditions, and social political institutions throughout East Asia, and the transformative events in which their histories intersected. Readings include scholarly works, primary texts in translation, and non-textual sources. Prior knowledge of Asian histories and proficiency in Asian languages not required. (Same as History 181.) Shiu On Chu.

550F 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 – usually written – which demonstrate mastery of the methods of the study of Asia in one or more discipline. Prerequisite, at least one Asian Studies course offered at the 300-level. Maximum enrollment, 20. Program Director.
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