About the Department
Conceived in the new millennium and established in 2002, the Department of Asian & Asian American Studies is among the youngest on the Stony Brook campus. Rooted in the premise that America's involvement in Asia is expected to be of paramount importance to the long-term national interests of the US in the 21st Century, the Department offers an interdisciplinary curriculum which seeks to instill an awareness of issues relating to Asia and Asian-Americans through education and research in Asian languages, cultures and societies, literature and arts, philosophies and religions, histories and politics, environment and science. Our programs are designed to prepare students to be caring and competent citizens of a global community, in which Asia is playing an increasingly important role, through a study of the processes at work in the transformation of Asian societies in their homeland settings as well as Asian-American societies in the U.S.
The Department started functioning fully in 2003 and it has already carved an enviable reputation for itself as being among a select few in the US that integrates the study and teaching of Asian & Asian American issues. We offer two majors (Asian & Asian American Studies and Religious Studies), and six minors (China Studies, Japan Studies, Korean Studies, South Asian Studies, Asian & Asian-American Studies and Religious Studies). With some 50 courses offered every semester and nearly 25,000 students enrolled in these courses in the past seven years, the popularity of our courses is self-evident.
We have just added undergraduate teacher education programs in Chinese and Japanese leading to New York State initial teaching certification, preparing qualified teachers of Asian languages. Our Department will provide the content core courses for teacher certification. Our Study Abroad programs provide a unique opportunity for immersion in the languages and cultures of China, India, Japan and Korea A Graduate program in Asian Studies is planned for Fall 2011, to be followed up with an Interdepartmental Doctoral Program with a clear departmental focus but using an inter-disciplinary approach.
Vision for the Future
The Department will continue to strive for excellence in creating awareness about the social, political, economic, and environmental issues that are challenging Asia in the 21st century. The US’ increasing involvement with, and in, Asia will require competent people trained in languages and transnational perspectives on philosophy, history, culture, and social structure. Our aim is to prepare students for professional success outside the academy as well as within it, offering training in cross-cultural communication, leadership skills, and practical experience in trans-national work and interaction in Asia as well Asian-related settings in the US. Though course offerings currently focus on East, South and Southeast Asia based on the core competencies of the small but highly-dedicated faculty endowed with multidisciplinary capabilities, our vision for the future encompasses coverage of the remaining areas of Asia, including notably, Central Asia, which is acquiring increasing strategic importance after the end of the Cold War.