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East Asian Studies to become Asian Studies

March 15, 2016

This coming fall, the East Asian Studies department will officially become the Asian Studies Department and introduce a new curriculum to broaden its approach to one of the most dynamic regions in the world.

The new Asian Studies program is an interdisciplinary program focused on the study of historical and contemporary Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and India among others. The curriculum introduces students to the critical and methodological approaches that have informed the study of Asia and encourages them to examine the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, and religious formations of different societies in the region.

Students may focus on a particular region in its historical and contemporary manifestations or examine a conceptual theme that could include literary, musical, and visual arts; environmental studies; transnational relations; economic development; state-building; cultural identities; gender roles and class distinctions; social movements and popular protests, among many others.

While the program will retain options for China- or Japan-focused study that include two years of language training, it will also offer a general “Asia” track that is based in the humanities and social sciences rather than in language. This Asia track will include overseas studies opportunities in India and Vietnam as part of its curriculum.

Students may also choose a language-intensive focus that would be similar to a major in either Chinese or Japanese.

The change to Asian Studies will also allow the department to incorporate several additional members of the faculty who study South and Southeast Asia, including Sepideh Bajracharya, Maryann Bylander, David Campion, and Kabir Heimsath.

The East Asian Studies program has had excellent success placing students in a wide range of postgraduate positions including at the Gates Foundation in Beijing and the Johns Hopkins Chinese language center. It has also produced several Fulbright scholars and anticipates that incorporating the broader region of Asia will further enhance opportunities open to students when they graduate.