Asian Studies

  • Cara E. Jones and Amy Miller, co-directors of program
    Lin Lin Aung, Masako Hikami, Daniel Metraux, James Yoxall

    Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary major that emphasizes broad cultural, political, economic, and historical perspectives of Asia including the Middle East. Varied courses in related disciplines allow students to understand Asia as a part of the emerging global community. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the college’s programs at Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto, Japan for a semester each fall or for a semester or more at Soka University or at Kansai Gaidai in Japan; Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea; National Chengchi University in Taiwan; or at another recognized institution in Asia. Language and Asian Studies courses taken abroad may be included in the major.

    Mary Baldwin College offers a major and a minor in Asian Studies. Students may delve deeply into Japanese language and culture and study in Japan or elsewhere in Asia for as long as one academic year. Japanese language courses can be found in its appropriate listings. There is no Japanese language major or minor.

  • Requirements for the Major in Asian Studies

    38 semester hours
    JPNS 201 and JPNS 202 or equivalent or 6 s.h. of another Asian language at the intermediate level or above. See Note below.
    AS 106
    AS 212
    ANTH 120
    ANTH 220 or another course in cultural anthropology
    AS 400
    Four of the following: AS 200, AS 242, AS 244, AS 246, AS 247, AS 251, AS 253, AS 255, AS/SOC 270, AS/REL 275, AS 277, AS/REL 278, or PHIL/AS 320
    Students may substitute one of the following for the courses listed above: BUAD 305, ECON 253, ECON 254, POLS 215, or AS 287/387
    Recommended: At least 3 s.h. academic credit for one of the following:

    • Enroll in a recognized college in Asia for at least one semester
    • Complete an internship in Asia or with an Asian company in the United States
    • Participate in AS 200 or another approved study travel course in Asia


    Note: Students who are unable to study in Asia may take an additional Asian Studies or related course in consultation with the department chair.

    Native speakers of an Asian language
    A student may substitute another major Asian language for Japanese by demonstrating competence in that language. However, a person who is a native speaker of an Asian language, or who has achieved at least an intermediate level knowledge of an Asian language, and who elects not to take at least six semester hours of an Asian language at Mary Baldwin College or elsewhere must take up to two additional courses or one additional course and an internship in Asia or with an Asian-related company or institution in the United States.

    Requirements for the Minor in Asian Studies

    21 semester hours
    AS 106, AS/REL 212, or AS 251
    18 semester hours of Asian Studies courses listed below
    Recommended: Not more than 6 s.h. earned in one of the following three activities:

    • An internship in Japan or elsewhere in Asia
    • An internship with an Asian company/organization in the United States
    • Participate in AS 200, or another travel study course in Asia


  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Internships with noted international scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC
    • Teaching practicum in elementary schools in New Zealand
    • Local internships through our sister schools in Japan and Korea


  • 106 Asian Civilizations (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    Survey history of East Asia and Southeast Asia from early 1600s to present.

    200 Introduction to Asia (3 s.h.) (I)
    A three- to four-week travel study of historical and cultural sites in Japan, Korea, or elsewhere in Asia or travel study of Asian cultures in the United States.

    212 Asian Religions (3 s.h.) (H)
    A study of the historical religions and philosophies of India, China, and Japan. Cross listed as REL 212.

    242 Modern Korea (3 s.h.) (I, W)
    Study of the emergence of the modern Korean state from the end of the Yi dynasty through the present division of the country.

    244 Modern Middle East (3 s.h.) (I)
    Modern political, economic, and cultural history of Middle East from 1800 to present. In-depth studies of Egypt, Israel-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and current “War on Terror.” Preceded by a brief study of Islamic and Jewish history and civilizations.

    246 Modern Japan (3 s.h.) (I)
    A study of Japanese cultural, political and economic history from the 19th century. Preceded by a brief introduction to its early history.

    247 India and Pakistan (3 s.h.) (I)
    Political, economic, and cultural history of British India and India, Pakistan and neighboring regions since the late 1700s, preceded by a brief introduction to Hinduism and Islam.

    251 Asian Women (3 s.h.) (G, W)
    Study of the social, cultural, political, and religious roles of Indian, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Japanese women past and present. Focus on degree of “choice” in the lives of Asian women.

    253 China in the Developing World (3 s.h.) (I)
    Chinese political, economic, and cultural history from the 17th century to the present with an emphasis on 20th-century developments. Emphasis also on Taiwan.

    270 Australia and New Zealand (3 s.h.) (I, W)
    Comparative analysis of the history and cultures of Australia and New Zealand including native peoples. Cross listed as SOC 270.

    275 Buddhism (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    A study of the teachings of the original Buddha and of the Hinayana (Theravada) and Mahayana schools of Buddhism, followed by analysis of the socio-political role of Buddhism in contemporary Asia. Cross listed as REL 275.

    277 Colloquium (1–3 s.h.)
    Colloquia are one-time special courses that focus on specialized areas or themes in Asian Studies.

    278 Hinduism (3 s.h.) (H, W)
    A general introduction to the many distinct yet interrelated religious traditions of South Asia that are labeled “Hinduism.” Study of the development of traditional Hinduism, its evolution in modern times and its socio-political role in contemporary Asia. Cross listed as REL 278.

    287, 387 Internship (1–3 s.h.)
    An internship in Japan or elsewhere in Asia, or with an Asian-related company or organization in the United States.

    320 Peacemaking: Gandhi and Nonviolence (3 s.h.) (T, R)
    For course description, see PHIL 320 in the Philosophy listing.

    400 Senior Requirement (3 s.h.) (O, M)
    A required course for Asian Studies majors, who meet as a class to prepare individual research papers. Weekly sessions guide students through a step-by-step process from introduction of topic to completion of a 25–30 page paper. Students work in a seminar format, discussing as a group the weekly progress of each student.