Asian and Pacific Studies (ASPA)

ASPA 1998  Special Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 2100  Asian Civilizations  (4 semester hours)  
A study of Asian civilizations though history, literature, art, philosophy, and film. Topics to be covered will emphasize the intellectual, cultural, social, and political factors which shaped the civilizations of Asia and the Pacific. University Core fulfilled: Foundations: Studies in American Diversity; Flag: Oral Skills.
ASPA 2300  Intro to Asian Societies and Cultures  (4 semester hours)  
The course explores sociocultural dynamics in modern and contemporary Asia. We will question: How did Asian societies adapt to “Western” influences in the 19th and 20th centuries? How have modernization and globalization transformed traditional social, cultural, gender, and religious dynamics in Asia? By discussing these questions using academic literature in History, Anthropology, and Sociology, students will develop critical insights into contemporary social and cultural phenomena across Asia.
ASPA 2998  Special Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 2999  Independent Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 3100  Christianity in Asia: Two Thousand Years of Evangelization  (4 semester hours)  
The history of Christianity in Asia is as old as the history of Christianity itself. But while much has been told about Christianity as it grew from an obscure Jewish sect to mighty Western Christendom, not enough attention has been given to the Christianity which spread eastwards to Asia in the first millennium of the Christian era. This course seeks to correct the imbalance by introducing students to the history of Christianity in Asia. It traces the development of Christianity in different parts of Asia, both in the ancient times and since the Age of Discovery. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Faith and Reason.
ASPA 3200  Introduction to Asian Literature  (4 semester hours)  
This course introduces students to major authors, texts, diverse genres, and themes in Asian literature. It examines the intricate connections between literary works and various cultural aspects, including philosophy, spirituality, religion, and aesthetics. It also explores how Asian literature actively contributes to discussions on topics such as modernity and tradition, gender and sexuality, trauma and violence, memory and identity, among others. Through the critical analysis of Asian literary works, this course aims not only to enhance students’ analytical skills but also to cultivate a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Asian culture, history, and society. Please note that specific coverage may vary at the discretion of individual instructors. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections
ASPA 3300  Arts of Asia  (4 semester hours)  
(See ARHS 3351.)
ASPA 3400  Politics of Asia  (4 semester hours)  
This course deals with the politics of East Asia, emphasizing China, South Korea, and Japan. In particular, the concept of democratization is examined by looking at the political institutions, history, culture, ideologies, and economies of these countries.
ASPA 3500  Economic and Political Issues in Contemporary Asia  (4 semester hours)  
What is happening in Asia today? How are these political and economic events related to the historical formation of Asian societies? How are Asian countries and people interconnected with one another to shape current events? This three-part course introduces a few crucial moments, places, people, things, and ideas that have shaped Asian societies in the 20th and 21st centuries. The first part focuses on the colonial and imperial orders in the early 20th century and how they affect the current political debates in Asia. The second part examines the series of wars and violence in mid-20th century Asia and lingering trauma. The third part explores the economic development in the late 20th and early 21st century Asia and its implication on gender, class, and culture. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections.
ASPA 3600  Introduction to Asian Media  (4 semester hours)  
An introductory course to the media and politics of the Asia-Pacific region. This survey seeks to connect leading aspects and themes of the history, politics, economics, and culture of specific leading countries to their media systems. Course materials include historical perspectives as well as contemporary journalism, including New Media technology developments and their impact on politics. Media systems will be analyzed and categorized in the social-science tradition.
ASPA 3610  Asian Media Practicum  (2 semester hours)  
Learn how to best write and think about Asia in all its importance and complexity for public publication on the well-established website of ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL—— with bylines.
ASPA 3700  Food in Asia, Asia in Food  (4 semester hours)  
Food is an essential part of human (and non-human)’s biological survival, but its production, circulation, and consumption are complicatedly intertwined with political, economic, social, ethical, and cultural problems. In this course, students will deepen their understanding of Asian societies and communities through careful observation, analysis, and reflection on “Asian” food. The course combines academic discussion of anthropological texts with experimental fieldwork in Asian communities in Los Angeles. In this way, students will apply what they learn from the classroom to their everyday lives and milieu. University Core Fulfilled: Flag: Engaged Learning.
ASPA 3710  Transpacific Korea  (4 semester hours)  
How can we understand Korean society, not within a narrow scope of South Korea but through transpacific mobility and connections of Korean people, commodities, and cultures? Drawing upon the literature in Anthropology, Sociology, History, and Media Studies, Transpacific Korea aims to develop students’ perspectives on the transnational mobilities, connections, and dynamics that have shaped Korean societies and communities. Through class reading and discussion on Korea’s recent histories, students will contextualize the implication of colonialism, cold war, and neoliberalism in contemporary Korean societies. Students will build up knowledge of Korean society and culture in global contexts by reading and discussing sociological literature on South Korea and overseas Korean communities. Based on the interdisciplinary approaches that students will develop in this course, students will analyze and discuss the artistic representation of Korean societies and cultures in film, and conduct independent research on “Transpacific Korea around Us.”
ASPA 3800  Buddhism  (4 semester hours)  
(See THST 3282).
ASPA 3850  Meditative Gaze: Dao and Film  (3 semester hours)  
This course brings two distinctive disciplines, philosophy and film theory together into a coherent discourse. The focus of the class is on the philosophical question most often posed as the mind-body problem and the various ways that media texts have addressed and articulated this issue, specifically through the adoption of a meditative gaze as a philosophically charged stylistic approach.
ASPA 3870  Gender and Family in China  (4 semester hours)  
The course explores gender, sexuality, and family dynamics in contemporary China. We will question: How does post-socialist market reform affect traditional gender roles in China? Do new forms of sexuality and gender identities emerge in globalizing cosmopolitan China? How do the Chinese envision futures through raising children? By discussing these questions, students will deepen their understanding of contemporary China while developing comparative and critical insights into gender, sexuality, and family. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections.
ASPA 3890  Contemporary Chinese Cinema  (4 semester hours)  
This course provides an introduction to contemporary Chinese cinema. It focuses not only on the "poetics of cinema" (cinematic language, styles, and aesthetics) but also the "politics of cinema" that emphasize contemporary Chinese cinema's engaging dialogue with Chinese history and its critical intervention into key socio-political issues facing post-Mao China. It concerns itself with such issues relating to history and memory, modernity, and nationhood; family, gender, and sexuality; urbanization, migration, and transnational formations; and Hong Kong and Taiwan identities. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections; Flag: Information Literacy.
ASPA 3960  Hong Kong Cinema  (4 semester hours)  
This course critically explores one of the world's most popular, dynamic, and innovative cinemas - Hong Kong cinema. Situating Hong Kong cinema in historical, artistic, and transnational contexts, this course examines major developments in Hong Kong cinema running from the war time cinema, the rise of martial arts movies and their influx into the United States, the international breakthrough of the "New Wave," Hong Kong filmmaking before and after the 1997 handover to China, to Hollywood remakes of Hong Kong films in recent years. The class will focus on issues relating to filmic nationalism, transnational film production and consumption; migration, identity, and community formation; nostalgia, memory, and post-colonialism; and family, gender, and sexuality.
ASPA 3970  Popular Culture in East Asia  (4 semester hours)  
This course will explore the role of popular culture in the social production of meaning and creation of identity. The site of study will be popular culture in East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) and "East Asian" popular culture abroad. It aims to impart to students the theoretical and analytical tools necessary to conduct in-depth interdisciplinary research on the mechanisms, implications, and functions of popular culture. By exploring myriad forms of popular culture - popular literature, film, manga, television, music, posters, fashion, material culture, etc. - that span modern Asian history from the early 20th century to today, students will gain a critical understanding of culture, politics, and history of the East Asian region. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections; Flag: Writing.
ASPA 3998  Special Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 3999  Independent Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 4600  Women and Gender in Asia  (4 semester hours)  
This course employs interdisciplinary methods to examine the problems and issues confronting women in Asia from pre-modern times to the contemporary era. Drawing on the scholarly insights of gender studies, history, literature, philosophy, anthropologies, film and media studies, we will explore how the concepts of womanhood and gender in Asia are constructed, institutionalized, appropriated, and reinterpreted in different socio-historical discourses. We will interrogate the underlying mechanisms that tend to perpetuate Asian women’s marginality and subordination. At the same time, we will pay particular attention to new perspectives on women’s roles in current scholarship and look into women’s ongoing negotiation with their gender identity and their struggles for empowerment and agency. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections.
ASPA 4820  Daoism: Theory and Practice  (4 semester hours)  
An introduction to Daoism, its classical texts, and its enduring practices. Special emphasis will be on the examinations of Daoist philosophical concepts and persistent issues that arise in the development of Daoist spiritual tradition. A central aim of the course is to understand the Chinese ways of thinking, values, and the way of life.
ASPA 4830  Advanced Asian Media  (4 semester hours)  
This is a sequel to ASPA 3600, but the introductory course is not a prerequisite. This survey course of media systems in the Asia Pacific emphasizes compare-and-contrast methodology. An additional education tool is the University website, ASIA MEDIA (, where students discover the origins of the media presentations, develop rigorous analytic tools, and critique that epistemology. This course is sometimes taught in conjunction with an Internet-linked class at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, UAE.
ASPA 4860  Topics in Asian Literature  (4 semester hours)  
The subject matter of this course will vary from semester to semester.
ASPA 4870  Asian Mythology  (4 semester hours)  
This class will examine mythology and folktales from various Asian traditions: China, Japan, Korea, and India. The reading materials will be examined through psychological, philosophical, and cultural approaches. The topics for discussion include creation myths, heaven and hell, the mythic hero, metamorphosis, and immortality. Junior or senior standing required. University Core fulfilled: Integrations: Interdisciplinary Connections.
ASPA 4880  Modern Asian Fiction  (4 semester hours)  
This course examines twentieth-century Chinese and Japanese fiction through the study of novels, short stories, novellas, biographies, diaries, and film. The class will also study major literary trends and movements.
ASPA 4900  Asian Women Writers  (4 semester hours)  
This is a cross-cultural study of Asian women writers through the readings of poetry, short stories, autobiographies, diaries, and novels. Most readings are derived from contemporary female writers from China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States.
ASPA 4998  Special Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 4999  Independent Studies  (1-4 semester hours)  
ASPA 5000  Senior Integrating Seminar  (4 semester hours)  
This requirement enables the students to integrate their work in Asian and Pacific Studies. The actual content of the course will depend on the student's chosen focus. Students write a senior thesis under the guidance of a faculty member. The thesis, while focused on a particular topic, is intended to be interdisciplinary.