The Department of Asian Studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary humanities department, and is the premier unit at UBC tasked with teaching and research on Asia at the BA, MA and PhD levels. We ‘get’ Asia.
As a primarily humanities-oriented department, we are firmly committed to the notion that serious study of Asia must proceed hand-in-hand with in-depth knowledge of at least one Asian language and culture, but many of our students command two or more Asian languages by the time they graduate. We also believe passionately that all serious study of Asia requires extended in-country study and/or work experience, and are committed to helping all of our students seek out such opportunities. Many of our undergraduate students combine a Major or Minor in Asian Studies with another Major such as International Relations, Economics, History, etc. Many of our graduates go on to exciting careers in or involving Asia in a wide range of fields.
The Department has significant strengths in premodern history and in East and South Asian thought, philosophy, and religion, covering: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity in East Asia, Chinese philosophy of the Warring States period, and Sikhism; it also includes New Religions in Asia and religion among Asian diasporas in North America.
In literature, Asian Studies has unsurpassed faculty resources in premodern Japanese literature, but is also strong in premodern and modern Chinese literature, and premodern and modern Korean literature. UBC Asian Studies is also unusual in the extent to which both its faculty and students in Asian literatures engage in cross-regional and comparative research that transcends traditional ‘national literature’ boundaries, and this is increasingly true especially for the history of premodern literary culture in the Sinographic cultural sphere.
Languages taught in the Department of Asian Studies include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Indonesian. The Department hopes to add Persian language course offerings in the near future.
As the premier Canadian academic unit tasked with teaching and research on Asia in North America’s most Asian of cities, the Department takes seriously its responsibilities to and relationships with the diverse Asian communities that comprise Greater Vancouver. For some of the many regular public events hosted and/or sponsored by the Department, click here. *Unless otherwise indicated all events are free and open to the public*
Want to learn more about the Department and its doings? Check out the current and past issues of “Asian Edge“, our department newsletter.