The site of the world’s oldest complex societies, Asia is also home to the globe’s most modern cities: Shanghai, Tokyo, Bangalore, among others. Yale’s history department has been teaching about Asia for more than a century and is one of the most established programs in the country. In the Asia pathway you can choose to focus on South Asia, Southeast Asia, or East Asia – or perhaps a single country, whether India or Pakistan, Vietnam or Cambodia, or China or Japan. Because each of these societies has a long and fascinating written tradition, some knowledge of the indigenous language deeply enhances historical research and engagement; for this reason, we encourage students to study at least one of the languages spoken in the area that fascinates them most. Many students acquire sufficient language skills to incorporate primary sources written in the target language in their capstone projects during the senior year. The faculty offers survey courses that introduce specific parts of the region, as well as more advanced seminars focusing on a shorter slice of time in one country. Of course, every type of history from elsewhere in the world exists in Asia, too: the Asia pathway offers classes with political, religious, cultural, economic, and gender orientations. One of the newest fields is environmental history: at a time when China and India are among the world’s most polluted societies, it is crucially important to understand when residents first began to exploit their environments and when the earliest signs of human damage appear (certainly before the turn of the Common Era in China).
Faculty advisers: Daniel Botsman, Rohit De, Fabian Drixler, Valerie Hansen, Denise Ho, Benedict Kiernan, Peter Perdue
Specialist Track requirements: Students specializing in this region must complete at least five of the courses listed below. For additional requirements of the major, see Requirements of the Major.
Course numbers: Courses beginning with “0” (i.e. HIST 012) are freshman seminars; courses with a three-digit number (i.e. HIST 113) are lectures, open to all students; courses with a “J” suffix (i.e. HIST 136J) are departmental seminars. Courses designated “PI” meet the Pre-Industrial requirement within the History major. Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to include other HIST courses within a region if their written work for the course is directly relevant to that region.