Asian Studies

College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies

Program Description

Pacific Asia, including the nation states on the Asian shores of the Pacific Rim, the Koreas, Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia, is a region of great economic, political and strategic importance, possessing immense natural and human resources.

The major is designed to provide students with a coherent introduction to the language, history, and culture of Asian societies on the western rim of the Pacific Basin. While focusing on Pacific Asia, the program also supports the study of cultures from the Indian subcontinent and other regions of Asia. Each concentration provides an interdisciplinary understanding of the major social and historical forces at work in the region, supported by appropriate language training. Graduates of the program either continue their studies at graduate institutions or utilize their knowledge and training through employment in government, business or education relating to this increasingly important region of the world.

The minor offers students a framework to explore one or more Pacific Asian societies from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is particularly relevant for students in various academic or applied disciplines who have a regional interest in Pacific Asia.

Degree Programs

BA in Asian Studies (Chinese Studies)

BA in Asian Studies (Japanese Studies)

BA in Asian Studies (Korean Studies)

BA in Asian Studies (South and Southeast Asian)

Minor in Asian Studies

Special Features

  • The program of Asian Studies is administered through the Center for Pacific Asian Studies. The Center is composed of designated faculty in the departments of Anthropology, Art, Education, Ethnic Studies, World Languages and Literatures, Government, History, Humanities and Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Psychology.
  • A program committee, comprised of the director of the center and four members of the Asian Studies faculty, oversees the Asian Studies Program.
  • The Center also serves to support and facilitate various university activities related to furthering our understanding of the Pacific Asian region (as well as the Indian subcontinent and other regions of Asia): faculty research, sponsoring summer training institutes, travel and residential programs in Pacific Asia, seminars for faculty, students and the community, and establishing collaborative links with institutions and community groups.

Contact Information

Greg Kim-Ju, Director
Amador 315A
(916) 278-6738

Pat Chirapravati, Vice Director
Benicia Hall 1004
(916) 278-7373
Savannah Seruby, Coordinator I






















How to Read Course Descriptions

ASIA 96.     The Way of Chanoyu: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Japanese Tea Gathering. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

This course traces the development of a multifaceted cultural practice integrating architecture, garden design, art, painting, and calligraphy into a carefully constructed hospitality ritual. Students explore multiple aspects of Japanese Chado via hands-on learning including aesthetic, economic, scientific, socio-political and cultural dimensions associated with tea. The course is taught in the Nakatani Tea Room, including weekly classroom lectures and discussions, demonstrations, on-line learning modules, a group project, and typically, a day field trip to San Francisco.

Field trip(s) may be required.

ASIA 110.     Anthropology of Contemporary Asia. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ANTH 146 or instructor permission

This course examines contemporary Asia as an articulation of intersecting historical, cultural, political and economic processes. The course will focus on postcolonial developments and critically explore the manner in which process of globalization and neoliberal strategies embed themselves within, and the responses they elicit from societies across Asia.

ASIA 134.     History of Korea: Antiquity to Present. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall only

This course traces the historical development of Korean culture from the period the Three Kingdoms to the present. In addition to the texts and records, other sources such as literature, religion, and art will be examined to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the longevity of Korea as a culture and a polity.

ASIA 135.     Contemporary Korean Culture. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring only

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of Korean culture and society through the analysis of contemporary Korean popular media. By critically examining the particular cultural phenomenon of the Korean Wave, this course upholds various Korean popular media (film drama, documentaries, and music) as significant forms of visual culture, which reflect as well as shape the reality of people's everyday lives both within and outside Korea.

ASIA 136.     Korean Development and Behavior. 3 Units

This course examines critical issues in Korean human development and behavior with particular attention given to current theoretical perspectives within a fast developing society. Topics include identity, cognitive development, mental health, tiger parenting, gender roles, socio-emotional development, body image, and transracial adoptions. This course integrates an interdisciplinary approach and includes indigenous discourse on Confucianism and Eastern and Western thought to understand the underlying processes of the Korean heritage person as an individual and as a member of a larger society.

ASIA 140.     Modern East Asian Cinema. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 09; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70 or 71 and co-enrollment in ENGL 109X.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI), Arts (Area C1)

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Survey of the development of cinema in Asia, focusing primarily on cinematic masterpieces from China, Hong Kong, and Japan. Focuses on directors, actors, and studios that left a lasting mark on cinema history. Also focuses on how the Asian aesthetic sense differs from the Hollywood norm.

Cross-Listed: HIST 140; only one may be counted for credit.

ASIA 151.     Genocide in Southeast Asia. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Survey of human rights abuses and genocides that have occurred in post-colonial Southeast Asia. Focuses on mass killings in Indonesia and Cambodia and communal riots often targeting the ethnic Chinese community, religious minorities, or highland peoples like the Hmong. Topics include cultural genocide, ideological pressure, and ethnic intolerance. An interdisciplinary literature will interpret the causes and conditions while introducing students to the diverse societies and cultures of Southeast Asia.

ASIA 195.     Internship: Asian Studies. 1 - 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Supervised work experience on topics related to the study of Asia's art, culture, economics, geography, environment, politics, and government and social issues.

Credit/No Credit

ASIA 198.     Asia in the World Today. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Instructor permission.

Term Typically Offered: Spring only

Senior seminar in recent scholarship and current issues concerning Asia in the world today. A capstone course for Asian Studies majors, as well as graduate students interested in Asia.

ASIA 199.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Individual research projects, including directed readings, under the direction of an Asian Studies faculty person.

Credit/No Credit