Michael Schneider, History, chair
Steven M. Cohn, Economics
Weihong Du, Chinese
Nancy Eberhardt, Anthropology/Sociology
Mat Matsuda, Japanese
Shuyan Gao Shipplett, Chinese
William Young, Philosophy
Asia, a vast, culturally and linguistically diverse region, is home to half the world’s population. Study of this region requires a broad scope as well as specific study of one or more societies within it. Asia is divided conventionally into five subregions: East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and Western Asia. Asian Studies combines training in Asian languages with study of the cultural, social, economic, and intellectual complexity of these subregions. While the program is new, it has deep roots. Asian students have come to Knox for nearly a century. Regular courses in Asian history began in the 1960’s and Japanese language in the 1980’s. Current members of the Knox faculty have lived and engaged in research in India, Thailand, the Philippines, the Middle East, China, and Japan.
The strength of Asian Studies at Knox is East Asia, with the established Japanese language program and the newly created Chinese language program. Asia-related courses in Anthropology/Sociology, Political Science, History, and Philosophy provide additional opportunities. In addition to the Asian Studies major, students may minor in Japanese or Chinese.
Off-campus study in Asia has been a key component of Asian studies at Knox for decades. In addition to the approved programs in Japan, China, and India, students have participated in study programs in Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Oceania. See the catalog section on Special Programs and Opportunities.
Another avenue for study in Asia is Japan Term. Japan Term is an interdisciplinary set of Japan-focused courses offered during the Fall Term, alternating years. Participants travel to Japan during the December break to explore key sites and complete course projects.
The Asian Studies major is an interdisciplinary program that combines study of Asian languages and cultures with depth of study in a single discipline focused on Asia. The major requirements encourage students to study Asia broadly, while allowing students to concentrate on one Asian society. Off-campus study in Asia is also encouraged.
The program's curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - Students will complete writing intensive courses as part of their Asian Content and Allied Field courses, usually at the 300 level. ASIA 399 is also writing intensive.
- Speaking Key Competency - JAPN 203 and CHIN 203 are speaking-intensive courses for majors. Students who do not study Japanese or Chinese should select an Asian Content or Allied Field course that has O designation.
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Language courses will introduce students to the variety of tools for second language acquisition, word processing, and electronic reference works. In area studies courses, students will develop skills for accessing and evaluating web-based resources about Asia. Advanced courses cultivate students' understanding of the issues and controversies surrounding representation of Asians in old and new media, as well as exploring questions of access, connectivity, and censorship. The senior capstone ASIA 399 will allow students to employ and refine skills in library database searches, evaluation of web-based materials, and presentation of research outcomes.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing an Asian Studies major will be able to:
- Identify the major political, social, cultural, and intellectual dimensions of human experience in Asia.
- Cultivate college-level competence in an Asian language as an avenue for further opportunities to explore the experiences of members of Asian societies.
- Contrast and apply different methodologies for interpreting Asian societies and appreciate the ethical implications of serving as a cross-cultural learner and interpreter.
- Design and execute a research project in order to enhance our understanding of Asia.