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Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures


Requirements for the Major

A student who plans to major in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures is advised to consult a member of the Department in the spring term of her first year in order to be sure to plan for an appropriate sequence of language study.

Important note: Students majoring in any of the East Asian tracks (China, Japan, Korea) may only study abroad in the Spring of their junior year if they take Research in East Asian Studies V 3999 in the Spring of their sophomore year.

To major in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, a student will choose to follow one of two tracks, East Asian or Middle East and South Asian.

The East Asian Track

The major requires a minimum of 10 courses (if a student has already satisfied the language requirement) or more (if she starts the language requirement from the beginning). The requirements include:

1) Language:
Three years of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or the proficiency equivalent (to be demonstrated by a placement examination).

2) Core Courses:
Asian Humanities V 3400 Colloquium on Major Texts

Two of the following survey courses:

  • Asian Civilizations-East Asia V 2002 Introduction to Major Topics in Asian Civilizations: East Asia
  • Asian Civilizations V 2359 Introduction to the Civilization of China
  • Asian Civilizations V 2361 Introduction to the Civilization of Japan
  • Asian Civilizations V 2363 Introduction to the Civilization of Korea
  • Asian Civilizations V 2365 Introduction to the Civilization of Tibet

3) Disciplinary Courses: Three courses, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser. Because Asian studies is an area-study rather than an academic discipline, it is important that the student also develop competence in a particular discipline. She is therefore asked upon entering the major to choose from among the following: history, literature, philosophy, religion, art history, anthropology, political science, sociology, or economics. Typically, one of the courses taken in satisfaction of the disciplinary requirement will be a basic introductory or methodology course, and the other two will be in East Asia related courses in the discipline. Under certain circumstances the adviser may approve a combination of two basic courses and one East Asia-related course; courses in closely related disciplines may also be substituted with the approval of the adviser. However, if a student chooses one or two disciplinary courses that are not specifically Asia-related, these courses will be considered qualifying in terms of the disciplinary requirement, but not as counting toward the 10-course minimum for the major. Only those courses that are Asia-related are considered to count toward this 10-course minimum.

As their basic introductory disciplinary course, majors specializing in history should take Historiography of East Asia (East Asian W 4103), those specializing in literature should take Literary and Cultural Theory East and West (East Asian W 4101), and those specializing in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, political science, or sociology) should take Critical Approaches to East Asia in the Social Sciences (East Asian W 4102). These three courses are offered in the Spring term and should normally be taken in the junior year.

4) Elective Courses: Two courses related to East Asia, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser.

5) Research in East Asian Studies V 3999:  To be taken in the junior year.

6) Senior Paper: Each student is expected to prepare a research paper or an annotated English translation of an East Asian text. The paper should be in the chosen disciplinary field and will be written in the Fall semester of the senior year in Senior Thesis (East Asian W 3901) in consultation with an appropriate faculty adviser. All students should enroll for the autumn term. Under special circumstances, with the adviser's approval, the senior paper may be written in conjunction with Asian Studies BC 3999, Independent Study.  Note that in all East Asian language courses, the minimum grade required to advance from one level to the next is B-.

The Middle East or South Asian Track

A minimum of 13 courses is required, including:

  • Asian Humanities AHUMV 3399x,y Colloquium on Major Texts
  • Middle East & South Asia MDE W 3000x Theories of Culture: Middle East and South Asia

Two of the following courses:

  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East V 2001 Introduction to Major Topics in Asian Civilizations: The Middle East  and India
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East V 2003x Introduction to Islamic Civilization
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East V 2008y Contemporary Islamic Civilizations
  • Asian Civilizations-Middle East V 2357x Introduction to Indian Civilizations
  • Asian Civilizations V 2365 Introduction to the Civilization of Tibet

Four to six courses of an appropriate language (Akkadian, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu, Tibetan, or Turkish), selected in consultation with the adviser.

A minimum of five courses chosen as a concentration. The concentration may be in the languages and cultures of ancient Semitic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Indic, Iranian, Persian, or Turkish.

A senior thesis, to be written under the supervision of a faculty member chosen in consultation with the adviser. Students whose sole major is Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures should take two semesters of Independent Study (ASST BC 3999) with their adviser for the purposes of producing the thesis. Students who are double-majoring in a second department that requires a group seminar should enroll in that seminar and work with the AMEC advisor on the side.

The courses listed under Middle East and South Asia below represent a selection among those required in one or another of the concentrations. Students should consult the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department office in 401 Knox Hall for a complete list of course offerings. Graduate courses at the G4000-level may be taken with permission of the instructor. See GSAS catalog for course listings.

No minor is offered in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures.