2023-2024 Catalog

Asian Studies

Located on the Pacific Rim in a city with one of the largest and most diverse Asian populations in the US, Occidental’s Asian Studies Department offers three majors: Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, and Japanese Studies. With faculty who teach courses across nine departments, the Asian Studies Department is interdisciplinary, offering courses on Asian societies and cultures from various perspectives, including American studies, art history, history, international relations, language and literature, media and film studies, politics, and religious studies. All three majors require the study of language and encourage significant study abroad in Asia with strong programs in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The deep interdisciplinary dive into Asian societies and cultures that the majors offer embodies the essence of the liberal arts tradition at Oxy and provides students with a strong foundation to pursue international and multicultural careers in an increasingly connected, globalized world.

Asian Studies

The Asian Studies major is intended for students who wish to engage in the study of societies and cultures from the Asian region. Building upon an interdisciplinary and transnational foundation, the Asian Studies major encourages students to pursue one or more disciplinary approaches to the study of Asia, such as art history, diplomacy and world affairs, history, Chinese language and culture, Japanese language and culture, literature, film and media, arts and culture, politics, and religious studies. Students may also explore particular issues of Asia across boundaries and disciplines.

Major

A minimum of 10 courses (to be selected from a pre-approved list of Asia-related courses, and not including the 2 units of senior comps work).

Survey Course

Students must select one course from the list below:

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

ARTH 160Introduction to East Asian Art

4 units

DWA 253Security in Asia

4 units

HIST 141East Asian Survey

4 units

POLS 227East Asian Politics: China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan

4 units

RELS 160How to Live and Die Well in Buddhist Traditions

4 units

Language

At least two semesters of Chinese or Japanese numbered 201 or above.

Seminar

The following courses may count toward the one-course seminar requirement. Students are encouraged to take the seminar by the end of their junior year and to select from the list below in consultation with their major advisor. 

ARTH 360Women in Art in East Asia

4 units

ARTH 365Gender and Art in Japan

4 units

HIST 245/DWA 245China and the World

4 units

HIST 344Contemporary China: Reform, Rise, and Crisis

4 units

HIST 346The Transformation of Urban and Rural China

4 units

HIST 348The Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Global Sixties

4 units

RELS 261Between Empire and Appropriation: Buddhism in the Modern World

4 units

RELS 276Empire and Religion in Asia and the Pacific

4 units

RELS 335Downloading Deities, Mediating Meditation, Streaming Spirits: Religion and Media in Asia

4 units

Electives

Students must select six additional courses. In addition to CHIN and JAPN courses (numbered 201 and above) and any 4-unit ASN course, students may select additional electives from the surveys and seminars listed above or from the list below:

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 272/ASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

ARTH 160Introduction to East Asian Art

4 units

ARTH 268The Japanese Woodblock Print

4 units

ARTH 360Women in Art in East Asia

4 units

ARTH 365Gender and Art in Japan

4 units

ASN 295/CSLC 295Topics in Asian Studies

4 units

CSLC 150/ASN 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

CSLC 252/ASN 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

CSLC 253/ASN 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

DWA 237Cuba, Vietnam, China: Communism in a Post-Communist World

4 units

DWA 245/HIST 245China and the World

4 units

DWA 253Security in Asia

4 units

HIST 141East Asian Survey

4 units

HIST 169/RELS 169Transpacific Movements and Activisms: Asian and Asian American Connections Across the Pacific

4-unit courses. HIST169 is a 4-unit course. On average, you should expect to spend at least twelve (12) hours a week (including in-class time) on this course.

HIST 242Imperial China

4 units

HIST 243Modern China: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Revolution

4 units

HIST 245/DWA 245China and the World

4 units

HIST 248Modern Japan

4 units

HIST 249Modern Korea

4 units

HIST 344Contemporary China: Reform, Rise, and Crisis

4 units

HIST 346The Transformation of Urban and Rural China

4 units

HIST 348The Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Global Sixties

4 units

MUSC 103Music of Asia and the Pacific Islands

4 units

POLS 226Contemporary Chinese Politics

4 units

POLS 227East Asian Politics: China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan

4 units

RELS 120How to Live in the Midst of Dying: Religion and Climate Change

4 units

RELS 160How to Live and Die Well in Buddhist Traditions

4 units

RELS 167Zen

4 units

RELS 215Shamans, Sages, and Spirits in East Asia

4 units

RELS 256Borderland Buddhisms: Religion in Tibet and the Himalayas

4 units

RELS 258Magic, Morality, and Modernity in China

4 units

RELS 261Between Empire and Appropriation: Buddhism in the Modern World

4 units

RELS 266Sexuality and Gender in Buddhism

4 units

RELS 276Empire and Religion in Asia and the Pacific

4 units

RELS 335Downloading Deities, Mediating Meditation, Streaming Spirits: Religion and Media in Asia

4 units

Students may also apply MAC 244 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "The Female in Japanese Film and Media" or the "Asian American Film and Media" sections of the course.

Students may also apply MAC 246 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "New Waves of Asian Cinema" section of the course.

Students may also apply MAC 248 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "Transpacific Social Justice" section of the course.

Students may also apply MAC 260 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "Women Making Moves" section of the course.

Honors in the Major

Students with an overall GPA of 3.25 and a major GPA of 3.50 may submit an honors research proposal at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. If the proposal is supported by two faculty advisors, the student will enroll in a 2-unit Independent Study (ASN 499) in the spring to expand the fall semester senior comprehensive paper into a 40-page paper that will be evaluated to determine whether the student has achieved Honors.

Minor

Five courses (20 units) from the Asian Studies course list. CHIN 201 and JAPN 201 or above may be counted toward the minor. At least two of these courses must be taken at Occidental.

Chinese Studies

The Chinese Studies major enables students to delve into the study of Chinese culture through the lens of language, literature, and other disciplinary offerings on campus.

Major

Total of nine courses minimum.

Language Component

Four Chinese language courses, at the level of CHIN 201 and above.

CHIN 201Intermediate Chinese I

5 units

CHIN 202Intermediate Chinese II

5 units

CHIN 301Expository Essays and Short Narratives I

4 units

CHIN 310Expository Essays and Short Narratives II

4 units

CHIN 330Topics in Fiction and Film

4 units

CHIN 338Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

5 units

CHIN 350Classical Chinese Texts

4 units

CHIN 460Translating Chinese I

4 units

Literature in Translation and Theory

Students must complete two courses from the list below:

ASN 150/CSLC 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

ASN 252/CSLC 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

ASN 253/CSLC 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

CHIN 338Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

5 units

CHIN 460Translating Chinese I

4 units

LING 301Introduction to Linguistics

4 units

Only ASN 295 courses that are Chinese literature in translation courses count for this requirement.

East Asian Electives

The remainder of the nine total required courses are chosen from the below list of East Asia-related elective courses and can include up to two 201 and above CHIN courses.

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 272/ASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

ARTH 160Introduction to East Asian Art

4 units

ARTH 360Women in Art in East Asia

4 units

ASN 150/CSLC 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

ASN 252/CSLC 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

ASN 253/CSLC 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

ASN 272/AMST 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

CSLC 150/ASN 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

CSLC 252/ASN 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

CSLC 253/ASN 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

DWA 237Cuba, Vietnam, China: Communism in a Post-Communist World

4 units

DWA 245/HIST 245China and the World

4 units

HIST 141East Asian Survey

4 units

HIST 242Imperial China

4 units

HIST 243Modern China: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Revolution

4 units

HIST 245/DWA 245China and the World

4 units

HIST 344Contemporary China: Reform, Rise, and Crisis

4 units

HIST 346The Transformation of Urban and Rural China

4 units

HIST 348The Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Global Sixties

4 units

MUSC 103Music of Asia and the Pacific Islands

4 units

POLS 226Contemporary Chinese Politics

4 units

POLS 227East Asian Politics: China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan

4 units

RELS 160How to Live and Die Well in Buddhist Traditions

4 units

RELS 215Shamans, Sages, and Spirits in East Asia

4 units

RELS 256Borderland Buddhisms: Religion in Tibet and the Himalayas

4 units

RELS 258Magic, Morality, and Modernity in China

4 units

RELS 261Between Empire and Appropriation: Buddhism in the Modern World

4 units

RELS 266Sexuality and Gender in Buddhism

4 units

RELS 276Empire and Religion in Asia and the Pacific

4 units

RELS 335Downloading Deities, Mediating Meditation, Streaming Spirits: Religion and Media in Asia

4 units

Students may also apply MAC 246 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "New Waves of Asian Cinema" section of the course.

Honors in the Major

Students with an overall GPA of 3.25 and a major GPA of 3.50 may submit an honors research proposal at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. If the proposal is supported by two faculty advisers, the student will enroll in a 2-unit Independent Study (CHIN 499) in the spring to expand the fall semester senior comprehensive paper into a distinguished 40-page paper.

Minor

Five courses (20 units). At least four Chinese language classes, 201 and above; can include one Chinese literature in translation course or LING 301. Three of the five courses must be completed as Occidental courses (one of the three MUST be taken at the Eagle Rock campus. The other two may be taken at an Occidental-in-China campus).

Japanese Studies

The Japanese Studies major enables students to delve into the study of Japanese culture through the lens of language, literature, and other disciplinary offerings on campus.

Major

Total of nine courses minimum.

Language Component

Four Japanese language courses, at the level of JAPN 201 and above.

JAPN 201Intermediate Japanese I

5 units

JAPN 202Intermediate Japanese II

5 units

JAPN 301Advanced Japanese I

4 units

JAPN 302Advanced Japanese II

4 units

JAPN 303Advanced Japanese Readings

4 units

JAPN 340Language in News Media and Advertising

4 units

JAPN 350Tales of the Supernatural

4 units

JAPN 460Translating Texts

4 units

 

Literature in Translation and Theory

Two courses out of the list below:

ASN 161/CSLC 161Modern Japanese Literature

4 units

ASN 295/CSLC 295Topics in Asian Studies

4 units

CSLC 161/ASN 161Modern Japanese Literature

4 units

JAPN 271Fiction in Japanese Literature and Film

4 units

JAPN 273Popular Culture and Literary Traditions of Tokugawa Japan

4 units

JAPN 460Translating Texts

4 units

LING 301Introduction to Linguistics

4 units

Only ASN 295 that is listed as a Japanese literature in translation course counts for this requirement.

East Asian Electives

The remainder of the nine total required courses are chosen from the below list of East Asia-related elective courses and can include up to two 201 and above JAPN courses.

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 272/ASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

ARTH 160Introduction to East Asian Art

4 units

ARTH 268The Japanese Woodblock Print

4 units

ARTH 360Women in Art in East Asia

4 units

ARTH 365Gender and Art in Japan

4 units

ARTH 368Japanese Painting

4 units

ASN 150/CSLC 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

ASN 252/CSLC 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

ASN 253/CSLC 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

ASN 272/AMST 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

CSLC 150/ASN 150The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons: Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature

4 units

CSLC 252/ASN 252To Dwell or to Wander: Reading Confucius and Zhuangzi

4 units

CSLC 253/ASN 253The Golden Era: Literature of China's Tang and Song Dynasty

4 units

HIST 141East Asian Survey

4 units

HIST 248Modern Japan

4 units

POLS 227East Asian Politics: China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan

4 units

RELS 167Zen

4 units

RELS 160How to Live and Die Well in Buddhist Traditions

4 units

RELS 215Shamans, Sages, and Spirits in East Asia

4 units

RELS 261Between Empire and Appropriation: Buddhism in the Modern World

4 units

RELS 266Sexuality and Gender in Buddhism

4 units

RELS 276Empire and Religion in Asia and the Pacific

4 units

RELS 335Downloading Deities, Mediating Meditation, Streaming Spirits: Religion and Media in Asia

4 units

Students may also apply MAC 244 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "The Female in Japanese Film and Media" section of the course.

Students may also apply MAC 246 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "New Waves of Asian Cinema" section of the course.

Students may also apply MAC 260 as an elective if they have enrolled in the "Women Making Moves" section of the course.

Honors in the Major

Students with an overall GPA of 3.25 and a major GPA of 3.50 may submit an honors research proposal at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. If the proposal is supported by two faculty advisors, the student will enroll in a 2-unit Independent Study (JAPN 499) in the spring to expand the fall semester senior comprehensive paper into a 40-page paper that will be evaluated to determine whether the student has achieved Honors.

Minor

Five courses (20 units). At least four Japanese language classes, 201 and above. Can include one Japanese literature in translation course or LING 301. Three of the five courses must be completed as Occidental courses (one of the three MUST be taken at the Eagle Rock campus. The other two may be taken at an Occidental-in-Japan campus).

Second-Stage Writing

Asian Studies

Students will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by submitting a paper in English from a 300-level or seminar course (in any subject) in the fall semester of the senior year, which will be evaluated by the appropriate program chair.

Chinese Studies

Students will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing requirement by submitting a paper in English from a 300-level or seminar course (in any subject) in the fall semester of the senior year, which will be evaluated by the appropriate major coordinator.

Japanese Studies

This requirement is fulfilled through either a seminar course (JAPN 271 or JAPN 273) or a 2-unit Independent Study in the fall semester of the senior year, in which the student will produce: either (1) a 20-page paper written in English on Japanese language or literature, including source texts written in Japanese; or (2) an annotated translation, with commentary, of a Japanese language text into English. In the spring semester, the student will make any required revisions and prepare an oral presentation to be given in Japanese.

Comprehensive Requirement


Asian Studies

Students will produce a 20-page paper written in English on East Asian comparative/transnational topic, typically by completing a seminar course or a 2-unit Independent Study (ASN 497) in the fall semester of the senior year.  In the spring semester, the student will make any required revisions and prepare an oral presentation to be given in English.

Chinese Studies

This requirement is fulfilled through either a seminar course (CSLC 252, or CHIN 460) or a 2-unit Independent Study (CHIN 497) in the fall semester of the senior year, in which the student will produce: either (1) a 20-page paper written in English on Chinese language or literature, including source texts written in Chinese; or (2) an annotated translation, with commentary, of a Chinese language text into English.  In the spring semester, the student will make any required revisions and prepare an oral presentation to be given in Chinese.

Japanese Studies

Students will fulfill this requirement by completing a seminar course or a 2-unit Independent Study (JAPN 497) in the fall semester of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 20-page paper written in English on China, Japan, or an East Asian comparative/transnational topic; in the spring semester, the student will make any required revisions and prepare an oral presentation to be given in English.

Advising Information

 

Asian Studies

The study of an East Asian language is foundational to the major. The earlier you begin taking Chinese or Japanese the better. First-year students who are interested in the East Asian Studies major are encouraged to take an East Asian survey course (AMST 280, ARTH 160, HIST 141, POLS 227, or RELS 160) as a gateway course.

Placement Information

Students who have previously studied either Japanese or Chinese should take the placement exam for that language as early as possible.

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • CHIN 101/JAPN 101

  • Spring FYS course

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • CHIN 101/JAPN 102

Year 2

  • Survey Course

  • CHIN 201/JAPN 201 (CPRF)

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective

  • CHIN 202/JAPN 202

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

Year 3

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • General Elective

  • General Elective

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • Seminar

  • General Elective

  • General Elective

Year 4

  • ASN 497 (Senior Seminar, 2 units)

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • General Elective

  • General Elective

  • Asian Studies Elective

  • General Elective

  • General Elective

  • General Elective

Curricular Notes

  • Asian Studies majors are required to take at least two semesters of Chinese or Japanese language courses number 201 or above.

  • See the Catalog for lists of courses that fulfill the major’s Survey Course, Seminar, and Elective requirements. 

Chinese Studies

First-year students who are interested in the Chinese Studies major are advised to take CHIN 101 (Elementary Chinese I) and CHIN 102 (Elementary Chinese II) in their first year as gateway courses. Students who already have proficiency in Chinese should take the placement exam or submit a qualifying standardized test score (see Placement Information below) in order to identify the appropriate course to start their studies. Please contact Major Coordinator Prof. Meimei Zhang (mzhang2@oxy.edu) with any questions.

Placement Information

Students interested in the Chinese Studies major who have previous experience with the language should take the Chinese Placement Exam. Students studying Chinese for the first time can enroll in CHIN 101 without taking the exam. 

An exception: you do not need to take Occidental’s Placement exam if any of the following are true:  

  • Students who received a 4 on the AP Chinese exam are placed into CHIN 201.

  • Students who received a 5 on the AP Chinese exam are placed into CHIN 202.

  • Students who received a score of 550-679 on the Chinese SAT Subject Test are placed into CHIN 101. 

  • Students who received a score of 680 or above on the Chinese SAT Subject Test are placed into CHIN 102.  

Note: To use a standardized test score for placement you must have the official score report sent to the Registrar’s Office.

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • CHIN 101

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • CHIN 102 (Foreign Language)

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 2

  • CHIN 201 (CPRF)

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • CHIN 202

  • Literature in Translation(CPRF or CPGC)

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

Year 3

  • 300-/400-level CHIN

  • Additional Elective

  • Methods/Theory

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • 300-/400-level CHIN

  • Additional Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • 300-/400-level CHIN
  • CHIN 497(2 units)
  • General Elective (2 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • 300-/400-level CHIN

  • Additional Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)


Japanese Studies

First-year students who are new to the language and are interested in the Japanese Studies major are advised to take JAPN 101 (Elementary Japanese I) and JAPN 102 (Elementary Japanese II) in their first year as gateway courses. Students who already have proficiency in Japanese should take the placement exam or submit a qualifying standardized test score (see Placement Information below) in order to identify the appropriate course to start their studies.

Placement Information

Students interested in the Japanese Studies major who have previous experience with the language should take the Japanese Placement Exam. Students studying Japanese for the first time can enroll in JAPN 101 without taking the exam. 

Exception: you do not need to take Occidental’s Placement exam if any of the following are true:  

  • Students who received a 4 on the AP Japanese exam are placed into JAPN 201.
  • Students who received a 5 on the AP Japanese exam are placed into JAPN 202.
  • Students who received a score of 540-669 on the Japanese with Listening SAT Subject Test are placed into JAPN 101. 
  • Students who received a score of 670 or above on the Japanese with Listening SAT Subject Test are placed into JAPN 102.  

Note: To use a standardized test score for placement you must have the official score report sent to the Registrar’s Office.

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • JAPN 101

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • JAPN 102 (Foreign Language)

  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 2

  • JAPN 201

  • Literature in Translation

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

  • JAPN 202 (CPRF)

  • Japan-related Elective

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

Year 3

  • 300-/400-level JAPN

  • Methods/Theory

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • 300-/400-level CHIN

  • Japan-related Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • 300-/400-level JAPN
  • JAPN 497(2 units)
  • General Elective (2 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • 300-/400-level JAPN

  • Japan-related Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)


Transfer Credit Policies

The East Asian Studies Program does not accept online courses for transfer.

Students who earn a score of 4 on the AP Chinese Language examination will earn four units of credit and be placed into CHIN 201 while those who earn a score of 5 will earn four units of credit and be placed in to CHIN 202. Students who earn a score of 4 on the AP Japanese Language examination will earn four units of credit and be placed into JAPN 201 while those who earn a score of 5 will earn four units of credit and be placed into JAPN 202. The department does not award credit or placement for IB or A-level examinations.

At most four courses will be accepted in transfer toward the major. At most two courses will be accepted toward in transfer toward the minor.

For students transferring from another institution or students who have taken a leave of absence for at least one semester at most six courses will be accepted toward the major in transfer, while at most three courses will be accepted toward the minor in transfer.

Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Courses

Asian Studies Courses

Chinese Studies Courses

Japanese Studies Courses

Faculty

Tenure and Tenure Track Faculty

Alexander F. Day, chair

Associate Professor

B.A., Colby College; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

Associate Professor

B.A., Victoria University of Wellington; Ph.D., Australian National University 

Meimei Zhang

Assistant Professor
B.A., Beijing Foreign Studies University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

On Special Appointment

Swee Fong Lee

Visiting Instructor

B.A., Tokyo Gakugei University; M.A., Hitotsubashi University; M.A., California State University, Long Beach

Emi Okubo

Visiting Instructor
B.A., M.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Yuki Taylor

Resident Associate Professor

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

 

Other faculty associated with the Asian Studies department can be viewed here.