Once every three years a group of students ventures out into the world for nine months of rigorous academic and personal inquiry. Visiting eight Asian nations, the group engages in a vast multicultural experience that forces them to confront novel systems of culture, economics, politics, religion, and philosophy…
The Asian Studies Program provides courses on Asian cultures, civilizations, and societies, in a broad range that includes East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as electives for all students. In the subsidiary program of Asian Languages and Cultures (see below), students may major or minor in Japanese, Chinese, or major in East Asian Languages. The Asian Studies Program also offers a curricular concentration on Asia as a designation on the transcript upon graduation for students in any major who choose this concentration. The designation Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Asian Studies reflects the program's multidisciplinary content and interdisciplinary effect. The designation in Asian Studies is not a major or a minor but functions as an enhancement of, or a complement to, any major of a student's choice. (For example, a student majoring in economics or biology could pursue an interest in Asia by fulfilling the requirements and adding the designation.) Fundamental to the program is its invitation to a student who chooses the designation to cultivate her or his intellectual autonomy by exercising flexible choice of courses and participating in co-curricular events. Students in the designation who demonstrate academic excellence and complete a one-semester senior thesis will achieve the added designation Robert Trimble Distinguished Asia Scholar. The program also offers the university's unique Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel Program (see below).
The underlying assumption of all aspects of the Asian Studies Program is that the vast region labeled "Asia" is complex and diverse and that varied Asian peoples and institutions have greatly influenced, and continue to influence, human experience throughout the world. Courses in the program allow students to develop the ability to read difficult texts, to understand and to formulate abstract ideas, and to make informed judgments about a world of many cultures and about their own society as viewed by others. Faculty members with Asian language and area expertise are members of many different departments, and the Asian Studies Program brings together courses from multiple departments and programs for interdisciplinary engagement. Some courses, such as ASIA 344, as well as Asian studies courses in the Humanities Program, are interdisciplinary in themselves.
Asian Languages and Cultures Program
The Asian Languages and Cultures Program offers majors and minors grounded in a strong foundation of language and draws on the broad range of culture courses offered by the Asian Studies faculty. The program offers three majors and two minors, as well as Chinese and Japanese language courses that fulfill requirements toward the Asian Studies designation and meet the university's foreign language requirement. For information on major requirements, see Asian Languages and Cultures.
The Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel Program (PacRim) is scheduled every three years (next in Asia 2014-2015), and offers a full academic year of courses taught in different locations in Asia. Approximately 25 students participate in the program through a process of formal application; selection is by the university's Study Abroad Selection Committee. Participants prepare in advance of the scheduled study-travel year by passing specified prerequisite courses in the Asian Studies Program and a non-credit course taught by the PacRim Directors.
In addition to Asian Languages and Cultures and PacRim, the Asian Studies Program offers special opportunities for all students, including Charles Garnet Trimble Scholarships for selected entering students and Trimble scholarship grants for study abroad in Asia. Furthermore, the program provides a context for the Miki Fellowship for a postgraduate year in Japan and offers a postgraduate English-instructorship at Hwa Nan Women's College in Fuzhou, China. For students seeking the designation in Asian Studies, Trimble Scholarships for continuing upper division students are available. For students seeking the distinguished designation, Trimble summer research grants prior to the senior thesis are also available.