2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin

Asian Studies Program

Office: Sturm Hall, Room 345
Mail Code: 2000 E. Asbury Ave, Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-6663
Email:  Hilary.Smith@du.edu
Web Site:  http://www.du.edu/ahss/areasofstudy/joint_dual_programs/asian_studies

The Asian Studies Program takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the cultures, history, literature and languages of China and Japan, with a minor focus on Indian music and religion.  We train students to think and write critically about Asian cultures; to conduct original research on issues that are relevant to one or more parts of Asia; and to develop international and intercultural knowledges and skills that are necessary in order to engage meaningfully with people and issues relevant to Asia.  

Majors may find their training valuable in a wide range of careers, given that the tiny minority of graduates of American universities who are skilled in Asian languages and cultures rank among the most desirable employees for many public- and private-sector organizations. Careers for majors include government service, education, journalism, international business and any other job requiring knowledge of and cultural understandings about China or Japan.  The academic training that majors receive is competitive with similar programs at peer institutions across the United States, providing a firm basis for applying to graduate programs.

Students are required to take at least two years of Japanese, Chinese or another approved Asian language.  First-year language courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement.  However, the requirement may be waived for transfer students who have already had at least three years of Asian language training or for students who demonstrate competency in the language.  The requirement is also waived for native speakers of Japanese, Chinese or another approved Asian language; such students complete 60 credits of non-language study instead.

Asian Studies majors are strongly encouraged to study in Asia for up to one year; excellent programs exist in Japan, South Korea, China, India and many other countries. In many cases, students can use their financial aid and receive University of Denver course credit for successfully completing study abroad programs. Interested students should consult with their Asian Studies advisor and the Study Abroad Office.

A student wishing to pursue an Asian studies major must make an appointment with the program director, Hilary Smith, who assigns an advisor according to the student’s main interests. The student meets quarterly with the program director for approval of courses taken for the major.

Asian Studies

Bachelor of Arts Major Requirements

(183 credits required for the degree)

60 credits, including the following:

Humanities12
Select three courses from the following:
Sacred Spaces in Asia
Survey of Asian Art
Contemporary China in Literature and Films
Topics in Chinese Art
Topics in Japanese Art
Chinese Painting: Masters and Masterpieces
Modern Japan
American Occupation of Japan
Religions of China & Japan
Modern Hinduism
Buddhism
Roots of Yoga and Tantra: Methodologies and Modern Practice
Imperial China
Modern China
Contemporary China in Literature and Films
Asian Ecocinema and Ecoliterature
Warring States and Middle Kingdoms
Asia and the Modern World
Food in East Asian History
Modern Japan
Contemporary Japan
Imperial China
Modern China
Popular Culture of Japan
Postwar Japan: Changing Perspectives in Literature and Culture
Samurai and Merchants: Cultures of Tokugawa Japan
Classical Japanese Literature
Asian Philosophy
Religions of China & Japan
Religions of Tibet
Two years of intermediate and advanced Japanese, Chinese or another approved Asian language 124
Advanced Coursework and Research8
Select EITHER two courses below from the same discipline (e.g. two ARTH courses, two ASIA courses, or two CHIN, or two JAPN, or two RLGS), OR any class from the list below PLUS ASIA 3901
Sacred Arts of Asia
Topics in Chinese Art
Topics in Japanese Art
Buddhism(s) and Arts
Asian Studies Directed Readings
Asian Studies Senior Thesis
American Occupation of Japan
Chinese Science and Global History
Topics in Japanese Culture
Cosmopolitan Cosplay: Japanese fashion, costume and sartorial expression
Modern Hinduism
Hinduism Through Texts
Buddhist Lives
Religious Lives: The Dalai Lamas
Buddhism
Dharamsala: Myth, Land, and Traditions
Electives16
Select four courses from the following list. Alternatively, you may choose courses listed in the "Humanities" or "Advanced Coursework and Research" categories above but not already used to fulfill the required credits in those categories. An ASEM counted as an Asian Studies elective cannot also be used to fulfill the common curriculum ASEM requirement:
Performing India: Performance, Ritual, and the Indian Body Politic
War and Peace in Japanese Film
Environmental Culture in East Asia
Music of Southeast Asia
Death & Dying in Hindu Traditions
India and Historical Film
Japanese Film
Comparative Democratization: East and West
Dance in India
Testimony, Memory and Allegory: the Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Strange Beasts: Nuclear Japan
Religion and Politics in China
China and the Global Economy
The Asian Economies
Comparing Politics around the World
Politics of China
East Asia in World Politics
Comparative Democratization: East and West
Politics of Japan
Total Credits60

Minor Requirements

24 credits, including the following. Please consult the list of courses under the major requirements above for approved Asian Studies courses.  Note:  Up to eight credits of intermediate or advanced language study may be used to fulfill requirements for the minor.  

Humanities12
Select three courses from the following:
Sacred Spaces in Asia
Survey of Asian Art
Contemporary China in Literature and Films
Topics in Chinese Art
Topics in Japanese Art
Chinese Painting: Masters and Masterpieces
Modern Japan
American Occupation of Japan
Religions of China & Japan
Modern Hinduism
Buddhism
Roots of Yoga and Tantra: Methodologies and Modern Practice
Imperial China
Modern China
Contemporary China in Literature and Films
Asian Ecocinema and Ecoliterature
Warring States and Middle Kingdoms
Asia and the Modern World
Food in East Asian History
Modern Japan
Contemporary Japan
Imperial China
Modern China
American Occupation of Japan
Chinese Science and Global History
Popular Culture of Japan
Postwar Japan: Changing Perspectives in Literature and Culture
Samurai and Merchants: Cultures of Tokugawa Japan
Classical Japanese Literature
Asian Philosophy
Religions of China & Japan
Religions of Tibet
Modern Hinduism
Buddhism
Buddhist Lives
Electives12
Select three courses from the list of major electives
Total Credits24

Requirements for Distinction in the Asian Studies Major

  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA 
  • Minimum 3.75 major GPA 
  • Nomination by an Asian Studies faculty member or the program director
  • Submission of a portfolio of representative work that completed in the major
  • Completion of a thesis project that goes beyond a normal Asian Studies senior thesis

BA in Asian Studies

The following course plan is a sample quarter-by-quarter schedule for intended majors. Because the bachelor of arts curriculum allows for tremendous flexibility, this is only intended as an example; that is to say, if specific courses or requirements are not available in a given term, students can generally complete those requirements in another term. More importantly, students should focus on exploring areas of interest, including Common Curriculum requirements and possible minors or second majors, and maintaining a course load which will allow for completion of the degree within four years.

Ideally, Common Curriculum requirements other than Advanced Seminar should be completed during the first two years. Students should anticipate taking an average course load of 16 credits each quarter.

Ways of Knowing courses in the areas of Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture and Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture introduce students to University-level study of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Credits earned in Ways of Knowing courses may also apply to a major or minor.

The sample course plan below shows what courses a student pursuing this major might take in their first two years; beyond that, students should anticipate working closely with their major advisor to create a course of study to complete the degree.

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits
FSEM 11114WRIT 11224WRIT 11334
Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4
Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture4Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture or Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture 4Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture or Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture 4
Foreign language14Foreign language14Foreign language14
 16 16 16
Total Credits: 48
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits
Foreign Language14Foreign Language14Foreign Language14
Approved RLGS Course4Analytical Inquiry: Natural and Physical Word4Major Elective4
Minor or Elective4Major Elective4Minor or Elective4
INTZ 250122Minor or Elective4Minor or Elective4
 14 16 16
Total Credits: 46

ASIA 2102 Topics in Chinese Art (4 Credits)

Selected topics in Chinese Art. Content changes. Course may be taken more than once. Cross listed with ARTH 3841.

ASIA 2105 Topics in Japanese Art (4 Credits)

Selected topics in Japanese Art. Content changes. Course may be taken more than once. Cross listed with ARTH 3842.

ASIA 2701 Topics in Asian Studies (1-4 Credits)

ASIA 2714 Roots of Yoga and Tantra: Methodologies and Modern Practice (4 Credits)

This class will explore the pluralistic origins of yoga and tantra both within South Asia and a global context, the relationship between yoga (union, control) and tantra (ritual/material technologies), how they function as a ritual/spiritual practices, and conclude by examining how yoga and tantra have become popular, transnational phenomena The first half of the class focuses on the history of yogic/tantric traditions, texts, and communities while the second is devoted to study of the the guru/śiṣya (teacher/student) relationship as the foundation of modern yoga. Some of the issues we will engage include different conceptions of the human self, how and why particular cultural and religious practices cross geographical and cultural boundaries, the role of the guru, and secularization.This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. Cross listed with RLGS 2114.

ASIA 2850 Imperial China (4 Credits)

In this class, students learn about change and continuity in imperial China, from the third century BC to 1911 AD. Over the course of this more than two thousand years, what we refer to as "China" changed a great deal politically, economically, and socially. We will explore many of these changes, while at the same time keeping an eye on the continuities that continued to characterize the place and its people over the long term. Cross listed with HIST 2850.

ASIA 3701 Topics in Asian Studies (1-4 Credits)

Specialized topics in Asian Studies. Topic varies per offering. Check with the Asian Studies program director for more information. Open to majors and non-majors May be repeated for credit.

ASIA 3875 Chinese Science and Global History (4 Credits)

This class introduces students to the ideas and contexts of pre-modern Chinese science and critically examines ways in which modern historians have incorporated science and technology into their global narratives about China and the West. Intended for students familiar with the methods of historical inquiry. No prior knowledge of Chinese history is expected. Cross listed with HIST 3875.

ASIA 3901 Asian Studies Directed Readings (4 Credits)

Students will read deeply in a specific field of scholarship directed by a core faculty member in the Asian Studies program and will write a methodological essay that discusses the scholarship in their chosen field of research. This is the first part of a required, two-quarter sequence that will culminate in the senior thesis. Enrollment is restricted to Asian Studies majors.

ASIA 3902 Asian Studies Senior Thesis (4 Credits)

Students will pursue a primary document research project under the supervision of their core faculty member in Asian Studies. The goal of this course is the writing and completion of the senior thesis in Asian Studies. Prerequisite: ASIA 3901.

ASIA 3980 Asian Studies Internship (1-4 Credits)

Provides academic credit for off-campus internships in areas related to the Asian Studies major. The purpose of the internship is the gain valuable work experience, explore various career options, develop job competencies and/or apply theoretical knowledge to practical concerns of the world. Must be an Asian Studies major and have cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have taken at least two Asian Studies content courses, not counting language training. Requires approval of Asian Studies director.

ASIA 3991 Independent Study (1-4 Credits)

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