East Asian Studies

Sohail Hashmi, Chair

Denise Falk, Academic Department Coordinator

112 Ciruti Center

Overview and Contact Information

One of four interdisciplinary majors within the Asian Studies program, East Asian studies allows students to specialize in the history, languages, cultures, and politics of East Asia. Complementing course work at Mount Holyoke are extracurricular activities and study abroad programs that broaden and deepen students’ understanding of Asia.

Language study is the core component of the major. We offer four levels of instruction in Chinese, two in Japanese, and two in Korean. Our students are expected to incorporate the humanities and the social sciences fully into their studies with classes at Mount Holyoke and the other colleges in the Five College Consortium.

On campus, our students experience regional culture at many levels, including language tables and clubs, guest lectures, performing and visual arts, film, festivals, and regional cuisine. These activities are often initiated by and benefit greatly from the diverse student population of Mount Holyoke and particularly the large numbers of students from Asian countries or with an Asian background.

Most of our students spend a semester or a summer in study abroad programs. Mount Holyoke College has affiliated programs or exchanges in China at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Peking University (summer), and University of Hong Kong; in Japan at the Associated Kyoto Program (year) and the Japan Women’s University; and in South Korea at the Ewha Womans University and the Sookmyung Women’s University.

Asian studies majors and minors graduate to pursue careers in fields as varied as law, education, business, NGOs, journalism, the arts, government service, and graduate study.

Minors in Chinese and Japanese are available; see their own sections of the catalog.

See Also


This area of study is administered by the Asian Studies Committee:

Satyananda Gabriel, Professor of Economics

Rie Hachiyanagi, Professor of Art

Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation and Professor of Politics

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Susanne Mrozik, Professor of Religion

Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies, Teaching Spring Only

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Ajay Sinha, Professor of Art History

Ying Wang, Felicia Gressitt Bock Professor of Asian Studies

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Lisha Xu, Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic, On Leave 2017-2018

Kyae-Sung Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Lei Yan, Lecturer in Chinese

Richard Chu, Five College Associate Professor of History

Mohamed Hassan, Five College Senior Lecturer in Arabic

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chihiro Hanami, Visiting Instructor in Japanese

Syonara Tomoum, Five College Visiting Instructor in Arabic

Alice Kao, Visiting Lecturer in Asian Studies 

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 40 credits:

Four courses (16 credits) in, equivalent to two years of college-level study of, an East Asian language: Chinese, Japanese, or Korean 116
HIST-137Modern East Asia, 1600-20004
At least three non-language courses (12 credits) on East Asia, including at least one from each of the following two groups:12
Group One: Humanities (literature, art, history, philosophy, and religion and interdisciplinary courses in these areas) 2, 3
Group Two: Social Sciences (anthropology, economics, geography, international relations, linguistics, politics, and sociology interdisciplinary courses in these areas)
Two additional courses (8 credits) to complete the major8
At least three of the courses above must be 300-level. One of these three 300-level courses must be a non-language course. 4
Total Credits40

Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are taught at Mount Holyoke and elsewhere in the Five Colleges. A maximum of 16 lower-level language credits and a total of 24 language credits can be counted toward the major.


Language courses are not included in this group


In order to count toward the major, Studio Art or performance courses must be supplemented with analytical written work


Any course that is taught outside of Mount Holyoke must be approved by the chair of the Asian Studies Program to count as a 300-level course.

Additional Specifications

  • Any course that devotes 50 percent or more of its substance to East Asian countries, peoples, or issues may be included in the major.
  • One course on East Asian diasporas (e.g., Asian American studies) may count toward the major.

Related Courses Counting toward the East Asian Studies Major

Most East Asian studies courses at Mount Holyoke are listed below, but students should also consult the catalog entries or websites of other departments, including art history, history, international relations, politics, and religion. East Asian Studies majors should also plan to use the rich resources of the Five College Consortium in selecting their courses (listings are available through the Five College Class Schedule or individual college websites).

Please consult the chair of Asian Studies for guidelines regarding Asian languages not taught in the Five Colleges.

ANTHR-204Anthropology of Modern Japan4
Art History
ARTH-262Arts of Japan4
Art Studio
ARTST-269Japanese Papermaking4
Asian Studies
ASIAN-110First Year Chinese I6
ASIAN-111First Year Chinese II6
ASIAN-120First Year Japanese I6
ASIAN-121First Year Japanese II6
ASIAN-160First Year Korean I4
ASIAN-161First Year Korean II4
ASIAN-212Second Year Chinese I6
ASIAN-213Second Year Chinese II6
ASIAN-215Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater4
ASIAN-222Second Year Japanese I6
ASIAN-223Second Year Japanese II6
ASIAN-229Analyzing Japanese: Intro to Linguistics4
ASIAN-247Chinese Women Writers in the 20th and 21st Centuries4
ASIAN-248Contemporary Chinese Fiction: From 1949 to the Present4
ASIAN-262Second Year Korean I4
ASIAN-263Intermediate Korean II4
ASIAN-270Arts of Japan4
ASIAN-310Third Year Chinese I4
ASIAN-311Third Year Chinese II4
ASIAN-312Newspaper Reading and Journalistic Practice in China4
ASIAN-314Learning Chinese Through Film4
ASIAN-315Business Culture and Communication in China4
ASIAN-316Introduction to Translation Between  Chinese and English4
ASIAN-317Media and Translation4
ASIAN-340Love, Gender-Crossing, and Women's Supremacy: A Reading of The Story of the Stone4
Critical Social Thought
CST-249FDTopics in Critical Social Thought: 'Eating Asian America: Thinking through Food in Literature and Culture'4
CST-349AXAdvanced Topics: 'Making Waves: Gender and Sexuality in Asian America'4
Gender Studies
GNDST-204CWWomen and Gender in the Study of Culture: 'Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater'4
GNDST-333AXAdvanced Topics: 'Making Waves: Gender and Sexuality in Asian America'4
GNDST-333HHAdvanced Seminar: 'Love, Gender-Crossing, and Women's Supremacy: A Reading of The Story of the Stone'4
HIST-137Modern East Asia, 1600-20004
HIST-224The Busy Silk Roads: Cultural Exchange in Pre-modern Eurasia4
HIST-238The Qing Empire4
HIST-239MCTopics in Asian History: 'Borderlands and Ethnicity in Modern China'4
HIST-239METopics in Asian History: 'Cities in Modern East Asia'4
PHIL-212Philosophical Foundations of Chinese Thought: The Ancient Period4
POLIT-208Chinese Politics4
POLIT-228East Asian Politics4
POLIT-359Democratization and Civil Society in East Asia4
POLIT-373The Politics of Transformation in China and India4
RELIG-163Introduction to Buddhism4
RELIG-241Women and Buddhism4
RELIG-329Buddhism in North America4
Theatre Arts
THEAT-234CWTopics in Theatre Studies: 'Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater'4