About the Department


Asian cultures have long and productive traditions in science and technology, arts and literature, political philosophy, business and economics, religious beliefs and practices—traditions that have become dominant forces in the contemporary world. A basic knowledge of Asia as a field of study is thus vital to Dartmouth students because it figures prominently in the great issues that will confront them in the future—issues related to international law and human rights, the environment and global warming, economic development and migration, media and the arts, and technology. The Department of Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages  (ASCL) promotes the study and understanding of this field.


The ASCL curriculum is designed to provide students with an understanding of Asia through an innovative selection of courses. Thinking Through Asia courses are team-taught interdisciplinary introductions to Asia that problematize the meaning of “Asia” as a field of study and present to students a range of critical theories and methodologies used by Asia specialists from various disciplines. Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational and Diaspora Studies courses provide students with broader perspectives on Asia. Some focus on Asia’s shared cultural heritages, others may focus on humanistic responses to historical and sociological phenomena, some are deliberately comparative.

ASCL also offers a language minor for students pursuing majors in other departments and programs who require competency in an Asian language while at Dartmouth and/or in their post-Dartmouth careers.