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, three in Japanese, and up to 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, Beijing Language and Culture University (summer), and University of Hong Kong, China; 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 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

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, 1600-2000 4
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 the Asian Studies Committee for guidelines regarding Asian languages not taught in the Five Colleges.

ANTHR-204Anthropology of Modern Japan 4
Art History
ARTH-261Arts of China 4
ARTH-262Arts of Japan 4
ARTH-340MCSeminar in Modern Art: 'The Art of Modern China' 4
Art Studio
ARTST-269Japanese Papermaking 4
Asian Studies
ASIAN-110First Year Chinese I 6
ASIAN-111First Year Chinese II 6
ASIAN-120First Year Japanese I 6
ASIAN-121First Year Japanese II 6
ASIAN-131First Year Arabic II 4
ASIAN-160First Year Korean I 4
ASIAN-161First Year Korean II 4
ASIAN-212Second Year Chinese I 6
ASIAN-213Second Year Chinese II 6
ASIAN-215Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater 4
ASIAN-222Second Year Japanese I 6
ASIAN-223Second Year Japanese II 6
ASIAN-233Second Year Arabic II 4
ASIAN-248Contemporary Chinese Fiction: From 1949 to the Present 4
ASIAN-262Second Year Korean I 4
ASIAN-263Intermediate Korean II 4
ASIAN-270Arts of Japan 4
ASIAN-310Third Year Chinese I 4
ASIAN-311Third Year Chinese II 4
ASIAN-312Newspaper Reading and Journalistic Practice in China 4
ASIAN-313LWAdvanced Chinese Reading: 'Literary Works and Social Issues' 4
ASIAN-314Learn Chinese through Film 4
ASIAN-315Business Chinese 4
ASIAN-317Media and Translation 4
ASIAN-324Third Year Japanese I 4
ASIAN-326Third Year Japanese II 4
ASIAN-340Love, Gender-Crossing, and Women's Supremacy: A Reading of The Story of the Stone 4
Gender Studies
GNDST-204CWWomen and Gender in the Study of Culture: 'Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater' 4
GNDST-333HHAdvanced Seminar: 'Love, Gender-Crossing, and Women's Supremacy: A Reading of The Story of the Stone' 4
HIST-137Modern East Asia, 1600-2000 4
HIST-224The Busy Silk Roads: Cultural Exchange in Pre-modern Eurasia 4
HIST-238The Qing Empire 4
HIST-331CHAsian History: 'China's Tumultuous Twentieth Century' 4
POLIT-208Chinese Politics 4
POLIT-228East Asian Politics 4
POLIT-359Democratization and Civil Society in East Asia 4
POLIT-373The Politics of Transformation in China and India 4
RELIG-241Women and Buddhism 4
Russian & Eurasian Studies
RES-312Silk Road, Old and New 4
Theatre Arts
THEAT-234CWTopics in Theatre Studies: 'Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater' 4


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

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Ajay Sinha, Professor of Art History, On Leave 2016-2017

Ying Wang, Professor of Asian Studies

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Kavita Datla, Associate Professor of History, Teaching Spring Only

Susanne Mrozik, Associate Professor of Religion

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic, On Leave 2016-2017

Shihyun Kim, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Lisha Xu, Lecturer in Asian Studies

Lei Yan, Lecturer in Chinese

Richard Chu, Five College Associate Professor of History

Fumiko Brown, Five College Senior Lecturer in Japanese

Olla Al-Shalchi, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chan Young Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Alice A. Kao, Teaching Associate