Introductory Courses


Thinking Through Asia courses 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. Thinking Through Asia serves as ASCL's gateway course. ASCL courses include the following topics:  

ASCL 01.01 Urban Asia:

Asian cities, once considered to be recipients or followers of urban models imposed by Western cities, have become new models of urbanism themselves, thereby serving as the heart of the growing body of scholarship which focuses on such dynamic urban processes reshaping cities across the globe. For instance, over the last few decades, Singapore, Shanghai, and Seoul have distinguished themselves as points of reference for other aspiring cities in and beyond Asia. How have Asian cities transformed in an interconnected global economy? How does an interdisciplinary reading of Asian cities provide ways to think anew about Asia today?  

With Asia at the center of our urban inquiries, this course proposes to read Asian cities from historical and comparative perspectives. The primary purpose of this course is to introduce students to multiple disciplinary approaches to Asia's urban environments and their dynamic relationships to other parts of the world. The course features instructors from several Dartmouth departments and programs presenting a diversity of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies drawn from cities across East, South, and Southeast Asia.

  • Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: NW
  • Eom

ASCL 01.02: Asian Bodies

ASCL 01.03: Asian Food

ASCL 01.04: Global Asia

ASCL 01.05: War and Peace in Asia

ASCL 01.06: Nature in Asia

ASCL 01.07: Asian Borders

ASCL 01.08: Languages in Asia

ASCL 7: First-year Seminars

ASCL 7.03 Asian American Art and Architecture

This course introduces students to the politics of Asian American identity and visual culture in the twentieth century. Moving from a discrete category, the course employs "Asian American" as a relational term that helps students interrogate historical processes of inclusion, exclusion, and racialization which have shaped American society and culture. With an overview of social and legal contexts of Asian America, from immigration policies and residential exclusion to Japanese internment to struggles over citizenship rights, the course explores what it meant to be Asian American and how Asian American art and architecture came into being at specific historical junctures. By discussing case studies including Japanese internment camps, Chinatown, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and works of artists and architects such as Martin Wong, Poy Gum Lee, and Do Ho Suh, students are expected to examine how Asian American and diasporic artists strove to define their identity and imagine their place in the world.

  • Eom
  • Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: NW

ASCL 10.XX and 11.XX Courses: Introductions to National and Regional Cultures

note: ASCL 10.XX and 11.XX courses can be counted as Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Transnational, and Diaspora (IITD) credits in ASCL majors and minors.

ASCL 10.01 Introduction to Chinese Culture

The aim of this course is to provide students with a basic knowledge and appreciation of Chinese culture. We will examine the evolution of Chinese culture and identity from the earliest Chinese dynasties, dating back more than 3500 years, to the present day. Through readings of literary texts in translation, students will be introduced to topics in language, history, literature and art, philosophy and social and political institutions.

  • Gibbs, Xie
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: CI

ASCL 10.02/HIST 5.04 Introduction to Korean Culture

This course provides an introduction to Korean culture and history, examining Korea's visual and textual expressions from the pre-modern age to the twentieth century. What are the origins of Korean national and cultural identities? How have Korean claims of cultural distinctiveness been manifested and modified over time? Tracing answers to these questions simultaneously helps us consider how and why Korea has entered America's consciousness. As Korea matters to the US not simply as a fact but as a project, this course avoids portraying Korea through any generalized statements or uncritical categories. Rather, students are encouraged to explore novel perspectives on Korea and thereby unravel their own prejudices and agendas. No prior acquaintance with the Korean language is required.

  • Kim, Suh
  • Dist: Soc; WCult: CI

ASCL 10.03 Introduction to Japanese Culture

Japanese cultural history through a broad survey of literature, art, social and political institutions, and popular culture. Modern conceptions of Japan and formations of Japanese identity have evolved under the pressures created by radical swings between periods of wholesale appropriation of foreign cultural forms and periods of extreme isolation. The course will trace the evolution of Japanese culture by examining the ways in which cultural archetypes are distinguished in Japan. Taught in English.

  • Schmidt-Hori, Washburn
  • Dist: LIT; WCult: CI

ASCL 11.04 Introduction to South Asia: Culture and Identity on the Indian Subcontinent

This interdisciplinary course is an introduction to the cultures of South Asia—particularly the contemporary nations of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh—with a focus on the issue of identity. The course will examine the many identities of South Asia, including regional, religious, caste, national and gender identities and explore how these identities have been shaped in contexts of change from ancient times to the present. Topics covered will include the role of identity in food practices, Bollywood and sport as well as the role of identity in politics and the public sphere.

  • Faculty 
  • Dist: SOC; Wcult: CI