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Asian Studies

Asian Studies

There's no question about the influence Asia has had on world history, as the birthplace of four major religions, written language, cartography and everything from gunpowder to paper.

Union's Asian Studies program focuses on the language, culture and art of Asia, with emphasis on China and Japan. Our incredibly diverse faculty members offer courses in many disciplines across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences – contributing their expertise and passions in everything from music and art history to economics and political science.


Union students in Vietnam

Union students in Vietnam.

Students take a series of courses that teach both social scientific and humanistic ways of viewing and analyzing the world. They also are able to develop their individual interests by concentrating on courses that explore a related theme, such as ancient Chinese civilizations, Japan or Asia as a global force. In all, there are more than 70 courses to choose from, enough to keep our students curious and engaged from the moment they set foot on campus until they graduate.

Special learning opportunities

Asian studies intersects with many different disciplines. With their acquired depth and breadth of knowledge, our students pursue a range of independent projects, research and theses. They work closely with their professors in an atmosphere of collaboration and personal exploration.

"The interdisciplinary nature of the Asian studies allows me to combine my love for the Chinese language with the history and politics of East Asia. Amazing classes and knowledgeable professors have opened my eyes to so much about the region."
- Andrea Becker

Union terms abroad are offered in China (Shanghai), Japan (Osaka), Vietnam and Cambodia, with mini-terms in Bali, China (Tianjin) and India. Students’ unparalleled experiences in these countries are a highlight of their undergraduate education.


The Asian studies major at Union leads to a bachelor of arts degree. Our students are well prepared for a world and marketplace in which knowledge about Asia is critical. Graduates have gone on to advanced study and to careers in the arts, business, education, government service, journalism and law.

Meet some of our faculty

Junko Ueno

Junko Ueno

Associate professor of Japanese
Ph.D., Indiana University
Special interests: Curriculum development, sociolinguistics and gender linguistics

Bunkong Tuon

Bunkong Tuon

Associate professor of English
Ph.D., UMass Amherst
Special interests: Asian American studies, Southeast Asian American literature and history

Joyce Madancy

Joyce Madancy

Professor of history
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Special interests: Opium suppression in China in the 19th and 20th centuries

Junko Ueno

Jennifer Matsue

Professor of music and anthropology
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Special interests: Modern Japanese music and culture

After Union

Asia manager, Law Firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

China assistant training coordinator, University of Minnesota

Graduate student in Japanese literature, Harvard University

Graduate Student in Japanese translation, Tufts University