The 21st century has been called the “Asian Century.” Indeed, many of the world's most pressing issues cannot be understood without a grasp of the histories, cultures, and languages of Asia. Asia is home to over half of the world's population. China, Japan, and India are three of the world’s top economies. For decades Asian countries have been leaders in global manufacturing, and Asian universities are renowned centers for literary studies and scientific innovation. Fifty percent of the declared nuclear-weapon states are also in the region. Simply put, Asia matters a great deal.

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers a wide variety of courses on East, South, and Southeast Asia taught by faculty who are specialists in their regions and disciplines. Whether you are taking your first step toward learning about Asia or you bring some background experience, an ALC major will expand your ability to think and work across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Majors who opt the ALC major study Asia in a robustly transnational and transhistorical perspective, working with faculty across the department. Alternatively, majors may choose to take a more focused course of study by choosing one of our named options in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, thereby electing to work more closely with the professors who specialize in these specific regions.  

East Asia
The East Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of China, Japan, Korea and Tibet. Students in the East Asian option can study Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Tibetan language and linguistics; and explore Chinese ghost stories and classical Chinese literature or poetry; Korean cinema and pop culture; classical Japanese fiction; early modern comedic narratives, manga, anime and counterculture. ALC faculty and instructors offering courses in this option include: C. D’Etcheverry, A. Detwyler, N. Geyer, R. Huntington, A. Kern, H. Kim, B. Lim, J. Mori, T. Nakakubo, B. Nienhauser, S. Ridgely, H. Zhang, W. Zhu.

South Asia
The South Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. Students in the South Asian option can study Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Urdu language; and probe the roots of Yoga; methods of Buddhist philosophy and meditation; South Asian religion and politics in the past and present of the Indian subcontinent; and medical history in South Asia. ALC faculty and instructors offering courses in this option include: F. Asif, G. Bühnemann, S. Beckham, A. Cerulli, S. Farsiu, J. Dunne, J. Khedup, N. Tiwari.

Southeast Asia
The Southest Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Students in the Southeast Asian option can study Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai and Vietnamese language; and probe Human rights in Thailand; explore literature of the region; and history and politics in Southeast Asia. ALC faculty and instructors offering courses in this option include: E. Barnard, T. Haberkorn, C. Lee, J. Surasin, S. Suryani, H. Dinh, S. Zamar.

To take advantage of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures’ many relationships with other departments and program units across campus, students may choose to double major or enhance their studies in ALC with one of the certificates offered at the university, such as the global health certificate, the certificate in health and the humanities, or those offered by the area studies centers: Center for East Asian Studies; Center for South Asia; and Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

This major is interdisciplinary and offers a wealth of options. Careful planning and consultation with the ALC advisor, is especially important.


Requirements for the Southeast Asian Option

30 credits to include the Introductory and Residence and Quality of Work requirements of the general major, plus these requirements specific to the Southeast Asian Option: 

southeast asian Intermediate Language

Complete a sequence:
Third Semester Burmese
and Fourth Semester Burmese
Third Semester Thai
and Fourth Semester Thai
Third Semester Filipino
and Fourth Semester Filipino
Third Semester Hmong
and Fourth Semester Hmong
Third Semester Indonesian
and Fourth Semester Indonesian
Third Semester Khmer
and Fourth Semester Khmer
Third Semester Vietnamese
and Fourth Semester Vietnamese

Major Breadth

Southeast Asian Studies Humanities

Complete three courses from:
ASIAN 203 Lost in Translation: Western Experience in Asia3
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  267 Asian Religions in Global Perspective3-4
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  236 Asia Enchanted: Ghosts, Gods, and Monsters3
ASIAN 299 Directed Study (Southeast Asian Studies topic)1-3
ASIAN 300 Topics in Asian Studies (Southeast Asian Studies topic) 23
ASIAN/​AFRICAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture3-4
ASIAN/​ART HIST  379 Cities of Asia3
ASIAN 403 Southeast Asian Literature3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  444 Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)3
ART HIST 203 Survey of Asian Art3-4
COM ARTS 310 Topics in Rhetoric and Communication Science (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
COM ARTS 470 Contemporary Political Discourse (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
DANCE/​FOLKLORE/​THEATRE  321 Javanese Performance2
DANCE/​FOLKLORE/​THEATRE  421 Javanese Performance Repertory2
ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI/​RELIG ST  356 Islam, Science & Technology, and the Environment3-4

Southeast Asian Studies Social Science

Complete three courses from:
ASIAN/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines4
ASIAN/​ASIAN AM/​HISTORY  246 Southeast Asian Refugees of the "Cold" War4
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  308 Introduction to Buddhism3-4
ASIAN/​HISTORY  319 The Vietnam Wars3-4
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  438 Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History3-4
ASIAN/​HISTORY  458 History of Southeast Asia Since 18003-4
A A E/​ECON  473 Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia3
ANTHRO 310 Topics in Archaeology (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
ANTHRO 330 Topics in Ethnology (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3-4
ANTHRO 350 Political Anthropology3-4
GEOG 340 World Regions in Global Context3
GEOG 358 Human Geography of Southeast Asia3
GEOG 475 Topics in Geography (Southeast Asian Studies topic)1-4
POP HLTH 640 Foundations in Global Health Practice (Southeast Asian Studies topic)1
POP HLTH 644 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Health and Disease (Southeast Asian Studies topic)1
POP HLTH 645 Global Health Field Course (Southeast Asian Studies topic)1-6
HISTORY 200 Historical Studies (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3-4
POLI SCI 323 Islam and World Politics3-4
POLI SCI 328 Politics of East and Southeast Asia3-4

southeast asian studies Capstone

Complete one course:
ASIAN 600 Capstone Seminar in Asian Humanities (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  620 Proseminar: Studies in Religions of Asia (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
ASIAN/​ART HIST  621 Mapping, Making, and Representing Colonial Spaces3
ASIAN 630 Proseminar: Studies in Cultures of Asia (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  650 Proseminar in Buddhist Thought2-3
ASIAN 681 Senior Honors Thesis (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
ASIAN 682 Senior Honors Thesis3
ASIAN 691 Senior Thesis3
ASIAN 692 Senior Thesis3
ASIAN 698 Directed Study2-3
ASIAN 699 Directed Study2-3
ASIALANG 421 Seventh Semester Asian Language (Southeast Asian Studies language)3-4
ASIALANG 422 Eighth Semester Asian Language (Southeast Asian Studies language)3-4
COM ARTS 610 Special Topics in Rhetoric and Public Address (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  557 Development and Environment in Southeast Asia3
HISTORY 500 Reading Seminar in History (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3
HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History (Southeast Asian Studies topic)3

See Four Year Plan for the Asian Languages and Cultures Major; your course choices for the Southeast Asian Studies Named Option will focus on that region.