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Courses & Requirements

Requirements for the Asian Studies Minor

Required Introductory Course

One course from the following list:

ART-175: Arts of China, Korea and Japan (4.00)

This course will provide an introduction to the arts of China, Korea, and Japan. We will focus on monuments in the history of art for each culture, as well as the historical moments when these cultures interacted through objects: commodities, religious images, and works of art. Emphasis will be placed on artist techniques, materials, and formats as well as viewing art in the complex context of each culture. We will also explore how the history of East Asian art has been written and approached in the West, questioning Western assumptions through approaching the objects in context.

HIS-113: Introduction to Japanese History (4.00)

A survey of Japanese cultural, literary and institutional history from ancient times to the present.

HIS-114: Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Chinese History (4.00)

This course is a general survey of ancient and medieval Chinese history, from antiquity to roughly 1700 A.D. Topics include the origins of Chinese civilization, the establishment of the empire, and the economic and social development through the middle empires.

HIS-115: Introduction to Modern Chinese History (4.00)

This course surveys the major social, intellectual, and political developments in China from the Opium War of 1839 to the present. Themes include the fall of imperial China, the Chinese revolutions, post-Mao reforms, and contemporary Chinese social issues.

REL-128: Suffering in Non-Western Film (4.00)

Wisdom in most traditions across the globe converges on the idea that suffering brings clarity and illumination. For Buddha, suffering is the first rule of life. Zen scholars posit that suffering is a privilege because it moves us towards thinking about essential things and shakes us out of our complacency. In this course, we will explore the concept of suffering through non-Western films that focus at answering the question: "Is there at the heart of suffering a powerful, redemptive, and transformative idea?"

REL-130: Religions of India (4.00)

This course examines the beliefs and practices of the religious traditions of India, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam.

REL-131: Islam (4.00)

The course will focus upon Islam. It will survey Islamic history, its distinctive forms of faith and practice, its roles in society and its worldwide involvement in a host of issues related to social, economic and political developments. The course will explore sympathetic, critical and creative perspectives on Islam, particularly as related to the struggles of today's Muslim women. The course will include opportunities for experiential learning, primarily in the form of field trips to one or more Islamic communities in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

REL-132: Buddhism (4.00)

This course examines the life and teachings of the Buddha, the religious institutions that he founded to carry on his doctrine, and the ways that Buddhism later developed in India and spread through Asia and to the West.

REL-133: Religions of China & Japan (4.00)

This course examines the beliefs and practices of the religious traditions of China and Japan, including Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto, Zen Buddhism, and Tantric Buddhism.

REL-143: Hinduism (4.00)

What are the main practices and beliefs of Hinduism? How did they originate historically and how have they evolved over time? How can we understand key Hindu concepts, such as caste or karma and how are they related to Hindu understandings of the cycle of transmigration? What do Hindus believe and do to achieve happiness in this life and to prepare for the next one? In order to answer these questions, we will explore the historical richness of Hindu doctrine and praxis.

CHI-110: Introduction to Chinese Culture (4.00)

This course will explore the foundations of Chinese civilization and the dimensions of Chinese culture. Organized around thematic topics, this course aims to promote students' understanding of traditional Chinese culture and relevant issues of contemporary China. Students will develop a fundamental knowledge of the Chinese culture from a historical and global perspective. The course will be taught in English.

CHI-120: Chinese Calligraphy (4.00)

Being one of the most revered arts in China, calligraphy (the art of writing) has been an essential part of Chinese culture. This course is designed to introduce the importance of calligraphy in its development integrated with Chinese art, history and culture, with emphasis on incorporating calligraphy into the more comprehensive objective of achieving cultural competency. This course provides students the opportunity not only to learn how to appreciate and write Chinese calligraphy, but also to understand how the calligraphy intertwines with various aspects of Chinese cultural elements and its influence on the neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea. In addition to the various scripts of calligraphy, this course will introduce related subjects, including the origin and evolution of the Chinese writing system, the historical development and aesthetic principles of Chinese calligraphy, well-known inscriptions on epitaphic stones, writings on scrolls and (or) album leaves by major artists, as well as the calligraphy's close relationships with painting and poetry.

Required Language Courses

Two sequential courses from the following list:


CHI-101: Elementary Chinese I (4.00)

Designed to make spoken and written Mandarin Chinese a functional language for students. Emphasis on pronunciation, basic vocabulary, foundational grammar for simple sentences and short paragraphs, and the Chinese writing system for rudimentary reading and writing.

CHI-102: Elementary Chinese II (4.00)

Continuation of 101.

Course requisites: CHI-101

CHI-201: Intermediate Chinese I (4.00)

Designed to advance skills in spoken and written Mandarin Chinese. Grammatical structures, vocabulary and pronunciation will build on elementary foundation. Cultural material will be included in course content.

Course requisites: CHI-102

CHI-202: Intermediate Chinese II (4.00)

Designed to advance skills in spoken and written Mandarin Chinese. Grammatical structures, vocabulary and pronunciation will build on Chinese 201. Cultural material will be included in course content.

Course requisites: CHI-201


JAP-101: Elementary Japanese I (4.00)

Fundamentals of spoken and written Japanese. Development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, with emphasis on the development of conversational fluency in socio-cultural contexts.

JAP-102: Elementary Japanese II (4.00)

Continuation of Japanese 101.

Course requisites: 101

JAP-201: Intermediate Japanese I (4.00)

A continuation of elementary Japanese, focusing on the further development of oral proficiency, reading, and writing skills. Prerequisite: JAP-102 or equivalent.

Course requisites: 102

JAP-202: Intermediate Japanese II (4.00)

A continuation of Japanese 201.

Course requisites: 201

Additional Courses

Three additional courses, from at least two departments, from the courses listed below. At least one of these additional courses must be at the 300 level or above.

HIS-230: The Vietnam Wars (4.00)

An examination of the origins, expansion, and consequences of the Vietnam Wars from Vietnamese and American perspectives. Topics include French colonialism, the rise of nationalism in Vietnam, the responses to imperialism, American foreign policy and the "wars" at home.

HIS-352: The Chinese Revolutions (4.00)

A study of the complex sociopolitical crises of modern China, including an evaluation of the revolutions and their impacts on recent Chinese history; particular focus on the Republican Revolution of 1911, the Communist Revolution of 1949 and the Cultural Revolution.

HIS-354: Chinese Women on Film: History and the Cinematic Imagination (4.00)

This course examines the history of women and gender in China as depicted in film. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which modernization, imperialism, and globalization have shaped women's roles and representations of women throughout the 20th century. Cross-listed with WS-354.

HIS-360: World War II in Asia on Film (4.00)

This course explores the history of World War II in Asia, especially as (re)presented and remembered in films. Special attention is devoted to the cross-cultural aspects of World War II and to how films shape the collective memory of different Asian countries and the United States.

HIS-362: Modern China Through Literature & Film China (4.00)

This course uses literature and film as primary sources to examine cultural and political changes in Modern China. It is organized as a research seminar and will focus on research methods, primary sources and writing.

REL-232: Socially Engaged Buddhism (4.00)

Socially Engaged Buddhism will explore the religious and social phenomenon of Buddhist activism in Asia and the West. We focus especially on activists Chan Khong, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ariyaratne, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Ariyaratne, Joanna Macy, Fleet Maull, among others.

REL-233: Constructing Tibet Through Film and Literature (4.00)

This course examines the construction of Tibet as a mythic object of fantasy in the Western imagination. Close attention will be given to the way Tibet has been portrayed in a variety of literary and film genres.

REL-244: Women and Buddhism (4.00)

The question of women's place and standing within Buddhism remains problematic and sometimes contentious. In this course we will focus on women in Buddhist literature over time, in order to draw conclusions about women's place and status according to doctrinal sources. We will also focus on women in Buddhism, looking at the lives of contemporary Buddhist women, with the aim of understanding the values and concerns that sustain, drive, and empower them. Cross-listed with WS-244.

REL-251: Gender, Sexuality & Islam (4.00)

Gender and sexuality are crucial to understanding the political, social, and economic life in the world today. Gender and sexuality studies challenge a number of traditional, academic, and cultural perspectives. In this course, we will be using critical texts from a wide variety of disciplines to examine gender and sexuality in the Muslim context. Using gender and sexuality as our main lens of analysis, we will be able to tease out the complex relationships between religion and culture and think about how particular constructions of culture have been pivotal to the reproduction of each of these social structures. In the final section of the course, we will look at transnational discourses that shape the way in which Islam and "the woman question" is imagined in relationship to gender and sexuality. We will also learn about Orientalism, colonialism, and the role of global inequalities. Cross-listed with WS-251.

REL-252: Islam and/In the West (4.00)

This course examines the interaction between Islamic and Western civilizations during the past fourteen hundred years. The first part of the course is devoted to the analysis of key terms and concepts that will serve as the foundation for the remaining parts of the course. Different concepts such as Islam, Shari'a, the nation state, free speech, rationality, democracy, and secularism will be discussed in their historical contexts. The second part of the course is structured chronologically and covers from the Middle Ages through the nineteenth century. In the final part of the course, we will survey the history of Islam in the West, with a focus on the U.S. and France, and examine case studies to discuss contemporary questions on political Islam, civilizational clash, and the future of coexistence.

REL-261: Race & Racism Through a Buddhist Lens: A Multimedia Exploration (4.00)

RACE & RACISM THROUGH A BUDDHIST LENS: A MULTIMEDIA EXPLORATION--This multimedia course will offer an intensive exploration of how a social construct ("race"), when used as a tool of discrimination that advantages one social group over another ("racism"), inflicts tremendous harm and suffering. What insights can ancient Buddhist teachings provide to help us to recognize, and to transform, the challenges of racism, inequality and other social justice issues we face today? Participants will read important pieces, watch films and documentaries, listen to diverse contemporary music as well as do exercises and meditations aimed at helping them to gain insight into the origins and manifestations of the challenging and thorny issues of race and racism in our lives and in our world. Cross-listed with AS-261.

REL-334: Sex/Gender/Embodiment in Buddhism (4.00)

This course examines the various ways that different Buddhist societies have struggled with the tension between the religion's transcendent goal of enlightenment and the this-worldly challenges of human sexuality, embodiment, and gender. Cross-listed with WS-334.

Course requisites: Take ONE from REL-113, REL-130, REL-133, REL-195 or REL-232 or permission of instructor.

REL-372: Fiction, Film and Orientalism (4.00)

Orientalism, as defined by Edward Said, is the ideology that promotes the "West-and-non-West" dichotomy and the idea that "Others are less human." Neo-Orientalism is savvier, and has a more complex and dualist nature, not all that is read or seen is neo-Orientalism narratives is wrong and pejorative, and most significantly, it is written not by outsiders about "the other" like in Orientalism, but by "authentic" insiders. Both narratives serve largely the same purpose, which is to dominate and subordinate both politically and intellectually the non-West. In this course, books and movies that have become bestsellers in the West will be analyzed for Orientalism and neo-Orientalism.

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