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Asian Studies

morrissey college of arts and sciences



Director:  Prof. Franziska Seraphim (History, Japan)

Assistant:  Yao Li, Assistant          

Program Coordinator:  Susan Leonard

Coordinating Committee:

Prof. Aurelia Campbell (Art History, China)

Prof. Kenji Hayao (Political Science, Japan)

Prof. Christina Klein (English, Cultural Studies, Korea)

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Asia matters. Simply asking the question of what encompasses “Asia” opens up ways of seeing that require historical knowledge, cultural literacy, political acuity, and a willingness to cross borders. Asia’s immense diversity and rapid pace of transformation have made it an engine of global change that is exciting, and indeed indispensable, to explore from multiple perspectives.

To this end, Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program sustained by faculty from eight MCAS departments with expertise in East Asia, South Asia, and Central & Islamic Asia. It offers students the tools to pursue individual interests as they engage with coursework on a wide range of topics, draw inspiration from visiting experts, take part in Asia-related events on campus and around Boston, and study abroad in Asia.

The Asian Studies program administers an 18-credit interdisciplinary minor in Asian Studies that allows students a high degree of flexibility in course selection. Students choose from several introductory courses that treat Asia as a world region, attain proficiency at or beyond the intermediate level in an Asian language, select electives from three different departments, and finish up with a capstone course specially designated each semester for its interdisciplinary approach to a specific topic.

Regularly offered courses by the Core faculty open up the worlds of

  • art and architecture (Campbell, Blair, Bloom)

  • economic history, labor and migration (Chuang, Hwang, Parthasarathi, Zhang)

  • environment and food sustainability (Parthasarathi, Zhang)

  • film (Klein)

  • gender and sexuality (Mo, Klein)

  • history (Hwang, Mo, Parthasarathi, Seraphim, Zhang)

  • literature (Chiang)

  • politics and international relations (Hayao, Hwang, Ross, Bailey)

  • popular culture (Klein, Sullivan)

  • religion and philosophy (Chiang, Jiang, Johnson, Makransky, Mozina)

  • social & rights movements (Chuang, Hwang, Mo, Seraphim)

  • sociology and ethnography (Chuang)

  • War, revolution, and memory (Mo, Seraphim)

Additionally, the program offers an intensive Chinese language program beyond the advanced level including specialized courses in classical, business, and media Chinese; Japanese beyond the advanced level, including courses on pop culture; and Korean up to the intermediate level. Hindi/Urdu and Vietnamese language courses are available through the Boston consortium.  

We work closely with the Office of International Programs (OIP) to support students taking advantage of one of our internal or approved external programs in China, India, Japan, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. A number of scholarships are available to students studying in Asia.

Asian Studies also runs the Daniel C. Morrissey ‘88 and Chanannait Paisansathan, MD Distinguished Lecture Series in Asian Studies with approximately two high-profile invited lectures per year. In addition, we offer occasional faculty panels on current issues and sponsor or co-sponsor various cultural events, film screenings, and invited talks. To keep updated on events on and off campus, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.