Asian Conversations: Establishing an Integrated, Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Asia
"Asian Conversations" is a program of study that developed out of a desire to provide a specific experience for incoming students: to ground students in the liberal arts and introduce them to the disciplines, to create a learning community around the study of Asia, to integrate their introduction to Asia through the exploration of rich themes, and to give them the unique insight into a culture that study of a language (Chinese or Japanese) engenders. At the end of the sequence of courses, students have the option of traveling with a faculty member during the January term to China and Japan to see the sites they have studied and to experience those cultures firsthand. We will describe the Asian Conversations program at our institution, from the concept to implementation. We will describe the courses and our experience, as well as student response to the program. We will design our workshop as an interactive exchange with our audience about the more general issue of finding ways to globalize our curriculum in an intentionally interdisciplinary way.
Keywords: Asia, Chinese, Japanese, interdisciplinary, globalization
Prof. Phyllis Larson
Associate Professor of Japanese and Asian Studies, Chair, Department of Asian Studies, St. Olaf College
Prof. Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak
Asian Studies and Political Science Departments, St. Olaf College