Program Highlight

Chiang Mai River

Are you interested in a spending a term in India? Consider a semester-abroad program at Pondicherry University, located in a beautiful seaside town in Southern India where local people speak Tamil, Hindi and French!

All majors can be accommodated: the university has programs in biodiversity, language, philosophy, anthropology, biology, physics, english, economics, religious studies and other disciplines. A 17-day study tour of south India is integrated into the semester, with possibilities for travel in the North.

Please contact Dan Meckel for more information. 

SMP Spotlight

Brick Lane

Rachael Carter, “Chicken Tikka Masala: Literature of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain,” Class of 2007.

50% of non-white Britons are of South Asian descent, and the multiple south Asian communities and cultures of Great Britain—focused in London—are a vibrant part of national life. Using four novels written by Britons of South Asian descent, this St. Mary's Project explores the impact and aftermath of reverse colonization in Great Britain.

Asian Studies List of Courses

Regularly offered approved courses in Asian Studies include the following:

Note: The notations immediately following each course title refer to the number of credits and the frequency of offering. For instance, 4F denotes a 4-credit course offered each Fall, 4E is a 4-credit course offered every semester, 2AS is a 2-credit course offered every other Spring.

Asian Studies (ASIA)

ASIA 200. Introduction to Asian Studies (4F)

This team-taught interdisciplinary course introduces students to the civilizations of Asia and the various methods related to the study of this region and its diasporas. The course includes the study of East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as well as cultures of the Asian diaspora in North America and around the globe. A group of five to ten faculty participates in this course.

ASIA493/494. St. Mary's Project in Asian Studies (1-8E)

This project, which may take many forms, draws on and extends knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. The student initiates the project, identifies an area to be explored, and proposes a method of inquiry appropriate to the topic. The project should include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which it is a contribution. It must be shared with the College community through posters, presentations, or other means. This course is repeatable up to 8 semester-hours. Pre- or co-requisites: Requirements in the Asian Studies study area. Approval of faculty mentor, Asian Studies coordinator, and-for students double-majoring or majoring in a discipline other than Asian Studies-of the department chair(s) of the student's major(s).


ECON 373. East Asian Economies (4S)

The course provides an economic framework to analyze the process of East Asian development since the end of World War II. The roles of culture, religion, education, history, and politics in the economic transformation of this region are examined. Contemporary issues, such as the environment, labor practice, and public policy, are also covered. Prerequisite: ECON 101.


ENGL 102. Composition (4E) (Asian-focused sections only)

In this course, students consider writing as a major tool for discovering what they think, examining these thoughts, communicating them effectively, and generating ideas as they take in new information. This course will generally use peer-group techniques to help develop a sense of audience and purpose. Each section ENGL 102 will have a primary focus or subject matter determined in advance by the instructor, and students will be introduced to various strategies for refining their thinking by taking their writing through the drafting, crafting, editing, and polishing processes.

ENGL 235. Topics in Literature and Culture (4A) (Asian topics only)

This course aims to examine literary and non-literary representations of the ways race, class, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality help shape an individual's world view. Recent Asian-focused offerings have included Mysteries of Identity. Prerequisite: CORE 101, CORE 301, or ENGL 102.

ENGL 380. Studies in World Literature (4A) (Asian topics only)

Each version of the course will engage the student in the reading of major works in translation, including works outside what is thought of as the traditional Western canon. Recent Asian-focused offerings have included Modernism and the Noh; The Tale of Genji; and Asian Literature. Prerequisite: ENGL 281, 282, or 283, or permission of instructor.

ENGL 430. Special Topics in Literature (4A) (Asian topics only)

Topics and authors will vary each time the course is taught. Recent Asian-focused offerings have included AngloIndia/IndoAnglia. Prerequisite: ENGL 304 and one 300-level literature course or permission of instructor.


HIST 206. East Asian Civilization (4AS)

This course studies the history of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) from ancient times to the 1900s. Through reading a wealth of masterpieces in East Asian history, including philosophical and political writings, historical records, religious scriptures, songs, poems, plays, novels and personal memoirs, students will examine both the common and distinctive features of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures and recognize the cultural complexities of East Asia. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements in Humanistic Foundations.

HIST 351. History of Traditional China (4F)

A survey of Chinese history to 1840. Investigated are the political, economic, and social forces that shaped and altered China over centuries; also highlighted is how the experience of traditional China relates to modern times and the rest of the world.

HIST 352. History of Modern China (4S)

A survey of Chinese history from 1840 to the present. Emphasis is on the fate of traditional China in modern times, the conflicts and interactions between China and the West, the issue of Chinese communism, and the emergence of a new China in the age of reform.

HIST 353. History of Japan (4F)

A history of Japan from antiquity to the present. Surveyed are the origin of the Japanese people; the making of Japanese culture and institutions; the challenge of modern times and Japanese responses; militarism and imperialism; the “miracle” of postwar development; and the dialogue between tradition and modernity in the changing world.

HIST 455. Topics in Asian, African, or Latin American History (4E) (Asian topics only)

Topics in Asian, African, or Latin American history to be determined by interest of students and instructors. Possible topics: Vietnam War and revolution, African culture, and international relations in Asia. May be repeated for credit if the topic is not repetitive.

International Languages and Cultures

ILCC 101. Elementary Chinese I (4F)

An introduction to the basic structure of spoken and written Chinese for the student beginning study of the language. Introduction to Chinese culture and its relation to the language.

ILCC 102. Elementary Chinese II (4S)

A continuation of the study of basic grammar with increased attention given to conversation skills. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives if not used to satisfy the Core Curriculum International Language requirement. Prerequisite: ILCC 101 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 201. Intermediate Chinese I (4F)

A continuation of the study of grammar, with additional practice in speaking, writing, and reading. Prerequisite: ILCC 102 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 202. Intermediate Chinese II (4S)

While continuing to study the grammatical constructions of basic Chinese, students are also introduced to reading and writing at greater levels of complexity. Prerequisite: ILCC 201 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 355. Advanced Chinese: Chinese Culture (4AF)

Through newspaper articles, short stories and essays, TV plays and movies, students will study issues underlying today's China: democratization, education, women, economic reform, and conflicts between modernization and tradition. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 335. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 362. Advanced Chinese: Introduction to Literature (4AF)

Students will study short literary texts representing several periods and genres. Particular attention will be paid to the social and historical context of the literature. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. Written assignments will be based primarily on the readings. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 306. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCC 363. Topics in Chinese Literature (4AS)

Close study of selected major literary works from the May Fourth Period to the Post-Mao Era. The course will normally focus on a theme, movement, genre or period which links the selected works in a common or conflicting tradition. Students will write short papers, reflecting both on the content and the style of the literary works. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. May be repeated for credit. Formerly ILCC 307. Prerequisite: ILCC 202 or consent of the instructor.

ILCT 106. Introduction to World Literature (4F) (Asian topics only)

Literature is an expression of a particular culture's highest aspirations. By studying the literary expressions that have developed within varying cultural traditions, we can come to a richer understanding of the breadth and depth of the human experience, and we can also develop0 a greater sensitivity to cultural multiplicity. This course provides an opportunity to study, at some depth, literary texts produced within traditions that are not encompassed by the English-speaking world. Since, by necessity, we will be reading translated materials, we will also look questions of translation, both linguistically and culturally. The specific content of the course will vary. Topics that may be covered include Latin American literature, Francophone literature, various European literatures, as well as comparative and thematic literary topics.

Philosophy & Religious Studies

RELG 110. Introduction to World Religions (4E) (Asian topics only)

A comparative study of the history, beliefs, and practices of major religious traditions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, or Native American and African religions. Selected aspects of these traditions are examined (for example, conceptions of human nature, ritual, morality law, cosmology, visions of salvation). This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements in Humanistic Foundations.

RELG 200. Foundations of Islam (4S)

Focuses on understanding Islam as a religious system which has come to influence the lives and institutions of Muslims throughout much of the world. Themes will include the Quran and Hadith, women and gender, law mysticism, constructions of sacred history, and the relationships between Islam and politics in the modern world. Attention will also be given to the three primary branches: Sunni, Shiite, and Sufi.

PHIL 101. Introduction to Philosophy (4E) (Asian topics only)

This course provides students with the opportunity to think critically and systematically about fundamental problems of life and the nature of the universe, with materials drawn from a wide variety of intellectual traditions, ancient and modern, Western and non-Western. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Humanistic Foundations.

PHIL 304. Values Inquiry (4E) (Asian topics only)

The goal of this course is to bring together students from multiple majors to share their perspectives on a selected topic in a way that illuminates and critically examines philosophical and religious traditions, makes cross-disciplinary connections, and facilitates integration of their liberal arts education. Participants in this seminar read texts from the world's philosophical and religious traditions against the background of their cultural context. Students are invited to enter into conversation with these texts as they learn to examine their own values and to question their deliberations in making choices. Various systems of thought, moral preferences, and ideological judgments are critically studied with a view to their contemporary relevance. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.

PHIL/RELG 351. East Asian Philosophies and Religions (4S)

A systematic study of the major schools of thought in China and Japan, including Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Shinto, as well as works by contemporary Japanese philosophers. Particular attention will be paid to the historical development of East Asian thought and its contemporary relevance. Cross-listed as RELG 351. Students may receive credit for either course, but not both. Prerequisite: one course in religious studies or philosophy.

PHIL 352/RELG 352. South Asian Philosophies and Religions (4F)

An intensive and extensive study of the history, beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Indian Buddhism, and Jainism as reflected in their canonical texts, with special reference to the Vedic scriptures, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, early Buddhist sutras, and philosophical writings. The interplay between philosophical and theological concerns will be studied, and the contemporary relevance of the tradition will be examined. Cross-listed as RELG 352. Students may receive credit for either course, but not both. Prerequisite: one course in religious studies or philosophy.

PHIL 380. Philosophical Topics and Thinkers (4E) (Asian topics only)

A systematic analysis of either a specific topic in philosophy or the writings of one philosopher. The topic chosen (for example, universalism and multi-culturalism) or thinker (for example, Plato) will vary from semester to semester. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy.

Theater, Film, and Media Studies

TFMS 210. Japanese Performance Traditions (4F)

Japan's rich theater traditions will be explored be examining early Japanese religious rituals and festivals and their evolution into traditional theater forms. The course will focus principally on traditional theater still performed regularly today: noh, kyôgen, bunraku, and kabuki. Instructional methods will include lectures, discussion, readings, slide presentations, and screenings. Several class meetings will also be devoted to learning basic physical movements of performance styles to gain a physical understanding of traditional performance forms. Formerly THEA 245. This course fulfills the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives.

TMFS 425. Advanced Topics in Film and Media (4E) (Asian topics only)

Specialized study of a theme, problem, movement, or figure in the theory and practice of film and media will constitute the topics field for this course. Included among potential offerings are topics such as these: feminist film theory; television and the construction of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ethnicity; identity formations in cybermedia; narrative production of "home" in daytime soap operas; science fiction films and commodifications of future; or Steven Spielberg and the phenomenon of mall movies. The subject matter for the semester will be announced prior to each offering of the course. Depending on topic, may be repeated for credit. Formerly THEA 435. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.