2019-2020 Undergraduate Bulletin

Asian Studies Program

Office: Sturm Hall, Room 345
Mail Code: 2000 E. Asbury Ave, Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-6663
Email:  Li.Peters@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 East 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, Professor Li Peters, 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:

Select two courses from the following:
Warring States and Middle Kingdoms
Asia and the Modern World
Food in East Asian History
Modern Japan
Imperial China
Modern China
American Occupation of Japan
Chinese Science and Global History
Religious Studies4
Select one course from the following:
Religions of China & Japan
Religions of Tibet
Modern Hinduism
Religious Lives: The Dalai Lamas
Two years of intermediate and advanced Japanese, Chinese or another approved Asian language 124
Senior Thesis Sequence8
Asian Studies Directed Readings
Asian Studies Senior Thesis
Select four courses from the following:
Sacred Spaces in Asia
Survey of Asian Art
Topics in Chinese Art
Topics in Japanese Art
Buddhism and the Fine Arts
War and Peace in Japanese 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
Contemporary China in Literature and Films
China and the Global Economy
The Asian Economies
Popular Culture of Japan
Postwar Japan: Changing Perspectives in Literature and Culture
Samurai and Merchants: Cultures of Tokugawa Japan
Classical Japanese Literature
North Indian Classical Ensemble
Comparing Politics around the World
Politics of China
Politics of Japan
Hinduism Through Texts
Religious Lives: The Dalai Lamas
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.  

History: Japan and China8
Select two courses from the following:
Warring States and Middle Kingdoms
Asia and the Modern World
Modern Japan
Imperial China
Modern China
American Occupation of Japan
Religious studies: Religions of East Asia or South Asia 4
Select one course from the following:
Religions of China & Japan
Religions of Tibet
Modern Hinduism
Buddhist Lives
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
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
Approved HIST Course4Approved HIST Course4Major Elective4
 16 16 16
Total Credits: 48
Second Year
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 1516 Contemporary China in Literature and Films (4 Credits)

This course investigates, through critically examining the representative literary and filmic texts produced by Chinese as well as foreign writers and filmmakers, the many complicated aspects of some much-talked about issues. This includes the diminishing rural life and landscape, urbanization, migration/dislocation, the changing roles of women, social equality, as well as the balancing act of preserving tradition, the environment, and economic development. The in-depth examination and diverse approaches this course applies enables students to gain greater understanding of not only the challenges that contemporary China has raised, but also the complexities of the increasingly globalized world in which we are living. Cross listed with CHIN 1516. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

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 2106 Chinese Painting: Masters and Masterpieces (4 Credits)

Exploration of pictorial art in China from the third century BCE to the present. Cross listed with ARTH 3846.

ASIA 2403 Modern Japan (4 Credits)

Themes in early and late modern Japan - ideology and politics, culture and society, class and gender, empire and nation, Japan from Tokugawa peace through modern wars to post-war world. Cross listed with HIST 2810.

ASIA 2414 American Occupation of Japan (4 Credits)

Studies the important issues in a vital period of both U.S. and Japanese history. Cross listed with HIST 3861.

ASIA 2601 Japanese Politics (4 Credits)

How did Japan rapidly catch up with more advanced industrial powers? Can other developing countries copy the Japanese model? What was the "darker side" behind Japan's economic miracle? How do we come to terms with the sudden burst of Japan's "Bubble Economy?" Will Japan’s current economic recovery process, which started in 2002, be sustainable? Is a genuine international reconciliation between Japan and its neighbors possible? These are just some of the questions we will examine in this class. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Cross listed with PLSC 2260.

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

ASIA 2702 Religions of China & Japan (4 Credits)

This is an introduction of some of the major East Asian religious and ethical traditions, focusing on Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto. By examining both translations of sacred texts as well as scholarly analyses, we explore the basic ideas, practices, and historical development of these varied and interconnected traditions. Special attention is paid to how people incorporate East Asian religious and ethical ideas and beliefs into contemporary life and how gender shapes the experience of religion. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. Cross listed with RLGS 2103.

ASIA 2703 Modern Hinduism (4 Credits)

Doctrines, practices and history of South Asian Hinduism; conceptions of the sacred, paths to liberation and modern religious attitudes. Cross listed with RLGS 3814.

ASIA 2704 Buddhism (4 Credits)

Buddhist life and thought from origins to present in India, Tibet, Japan and China. Cross listed with RLGS 3820.

ASIA 2870 Modern China (4 Credits)

In this class we focus on China from the nineteenth century to the present. We examine historical change and continuity, including the revolutions that created the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China, the transformation of traditional values, economic liberalization in the post-Mao Zedong era, and the challenges that China has faced in recent years. Cross listed with HIST 2870.

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 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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