College graduates today enter a world without borders, a truly global society vastly different from the one their parents and grandparents knew. Their lives will be increasingly linked to what happens in other countries, and they will find themselves working with and competing against people from a wide array of cultures.
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most crucial areas for us to understand. Renowned as a central sphere of global economic activity, Asia accounts for well over a third of the world’s population as well as many of the most culturally vibrant, enduring and productive civilizations on earth. It is not only in our best interest to know more about these people and their societies; it is imperative that we do so as our lives are destined to become more intertwined.
With this in mind, Furman offers an interdisciplinary major in Asian Studies with an emphasis on China, Japan and India. In studying Asia, Furman students encounter the richness and variety of these civilizations in a manner that expands their awareness of the multiplicity of human cultural experience while deepening their reflections on the cultures and societies from which they have come.
The Asian studies major gives Furman students the chance to develop broad cross-cultural understanding and to focus in-depth on one of three cultures — China, India, or Japan.
In addition to an Asian Studies colloquium and capstone seminar, majors select a course in each of four primary disciplines: history, social science, art or literature, and philosophy or religion, and students may opt to pursue a language track within the major. Students may complete four years of Chinese and Japanese on campus and continue further through Furman's extensive Study Away opportunities in China and Japan.
Students focusing on China and Japan must complete the intermediate-level language requirement of their concentration. Students can also apply for Language House programs in Chinese and Japanese and live with native speakers.
Students may combine their interests in Asian studies and another subject to form a double major. For example, a business student might find the study of Chinese or Japanese culture beneficial in preparation for a career in international business. The same might be said of students in history or political science who are interested in intercultural studies. As an interdisciplinary program, the Asian studies major offers a high level of flexibility in terms of intellectual interest and practical application.
Members of the Asian Studies faculty are devoted teachers and respected scholars in their fields of study. Several have received prestigious Fulbright fellowships to study in Asia, and all have been invited to visit and lecture in China, Japan, or India. All have traveled extensively or lived in Asia and are able to include first-hand accounts in their classroom discussions.
It has often been said that we cannot truly understand a culture without experiencing it firsthand. Furman’s study abroad programs in Asian Studies provide this opportunity. Students can participate in study abroad programs in India, Japan, and China. The Fall in India program runs every other year. Students join a Furman faculty member for travel and study across northern India before starting classes at Madras Christian College. Students studying in Japan can select to study for a term near Osaka and Kyoto at Kansai Gaidai University or for the year in Tokyo at prestigious Waseda University. Each fall a Furman China specialist brings students to Soochow University, where they take classes with both Furman and Chinese faculty, live with Chinese roommates, and participate in internships. The trip includes significant travel throughout the country. Students may also opt to participate in our one-to-one student exchange program in Suzhou to concentrate on their Chinese language study.Each summer the department also offers the popular Summer China Experience, a competitive program that awards successful applicants a fully funded two-week seminar in China the summer preceding their freshman year. Participants commit to studying a year of Chinese language at Furman and to enrolling in a first year seminar on China