Director, 2014-15: Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak, (Political Science), East Asian politics
Faculty, 2014-15: Hiroe Akimoto (Asian Studies), Japanese language; William H. Bridges, IV (Asian Studies), Japanese Language and Literature; Robert Entenmann (Asian Studies/History), Chinese History; Karil Kucera (Asian Studies/Art History), East Asian visual culture; Kris MacPherson (Asian Studies), Reference librarian; Ka F. Wong (Asian Studies), Chinese language and cultural studies
The goal of the Asian Conversations program is to provide students with an opportunity to incorporate an off-campus learning experience as well as language study into an extended discussion of the peoples and places that make up Asia. Offered as a sophomore-year sequence, Asian Conversations is open to all students interested in studying Asia and Asian languages. Students who are studying Chinese or Japanese language are invited to apply for this three-course sequence, which includes an Interim program in China and Japan.
Those accepted into the Asian Conversations program embark on a series of linked courses that explore "Journeys through Asia." Asian Conversations is a learning community that introduces students to some of the key texts of Asia as well as key historical, cultural, political and linguistic constructs through an integrated sequence of three courses. Over that time students pursue conversations with three different faculty members about the issues that have shaped the development of Asian societies over the centuries, ending in the spring term with contemporary Asia.
For information about Chinese language courses, Japanese language courses, and Asian Studies curriculum see Asian Studies.
overview of the program
Asian Conversations is an interdisciplinary program integrating study of the Chinese and Japanese languages with investigations into the culture, history, language and societies of Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and more). Whether you plan to major in biology, economics, history, Asian studies, or anything else, the Asian Conversations program offers you an integrated, innovative way to complete required study in foreign language and the liberal arts.
Course Equivalents for General Education Requirements
By successfully completing courses 210, 215 or 216, and 220 of Asian Conversations, a student fulfills the following general education requirements, which are all awarded upon completion of Asian Conversations 220:
Multicultural Global Studies [one MCG]
Artistic Studies [one ALS-A]
Literary Studies [one ALS-L]
Studies in Human Behavior and Society [one HBS]
Writing [one WRI]
Oral Communication [one ORC]
How do pilgrims, travelers and migrants make sense of their journeys in Asia? Students explore maps, histories, tales, and guides that define Asia today and in years past, including several classic Asian texts; study how cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, social, and political connections and divisions create and sustain communities in Asia; and plan related projects for their Interim course. Prerequisite: CHIN 112 or JAPAN 112 or permission of instructor. Must be accepted into Asian Conversations program to register. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Students pursue guided fieldwork experience in the country whose language they study, either Japan or China. Activities and readings in this course build on the topics from ASIAN 210 and three semesters of language study. Students continue to explore their understanding of Asia through ethnographic observation, interviews, and site visits. Students develop projects and follow a process of inquiry that will help them understand how ordinary people construct "Asian" culture and society today. Prerequisite: ASIAN 210. Offered during Interim.
Students pursue guided fieldwork experience in the United States. Activities and readings in this course build on the topics from ASIAN 210 and three semesters of language study. Students reflect on the experience of Asians in America through readings, site visits, and local interviews. Students develop projects and follow a process of inquiry that will help them understand how ordinary people construct "Asian" culture and society today. Prerequisite: ASIAN 210. Offered during Interim.
In this final semester in Asian Conversations students examine modern reinterpretations of traditional Asia focusing on major social and cultural aspects of the 19th through 21st centuries. Students engage with primary and secondary texts through written and oral presentation, including materials collected during Interim. Prerequisite: CHIN 231 or JAPAN 231 and ASIAN 215 or ASIAN 216. Offered annually in the spring semester.