Minor in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

The Minor in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies is designed for students interested in the language, history, politics, and culture of Asia and/or the Asian diasporas. In consultation with the minor advisor, students may focus their coursework on a subregion of Asia, on one of the Asian diasporas, or design their program to offer a comparative study across different regions and/or cultural groups. The goal of the minor program is to provide balanced coverage of language, humanistic and social science offerings on the region, and to expose students to comparative perspectives.

The minor consists of six subjects (at least three of which must be MIT subjects), arranged in four areas of study:

  • Area I: Language
  • Area II: Humanities and the Arts
  • Area III: Social Sciences
  • Area IV: Historical Studies

Subjects about Asia and the Asian diaspora, as well as subjects in Asian languages, are also available from Harvard University and Wellesley College through cross-registration. Students must receive permission from the minor advisor prior to registering for a class at another institution.

Five of the six subjects taken for the minor may be counted toward the eight-subject HASS Requirement. Of these five, at most one may count toward the distribution component of the HASS Requirement. Of the six subjects required for the minor, at least four cannot be counted toward a major or another minor.

Area I: Language 1
Select from among the following:21-24
Chinese III (Regular)
Chinese IV (Regular)
Chinese V (Regular): Discovering Chinese Cultures and Societies
Chinese VI (Regular): Discovering Chinese Cultures and Societies
Chinese III (Streamlined)
Chinese IV (Streamlined)
Chinese V (Streamlined)
Business Chinese
Japanese III
Japanese IV
Japanese V
Japanese VI
Korean III (Regular)
Korean IV (Regular)
Two intermediate-level subjects in another Asian language 2
Select four subjects from at least two of the following areas: 348
Area II: Humanities and the Arts
Select from among the following: 4
Topics in Indian Popular Culture
Introduction to East Asian Cultures: From Zen to K-Pop
Advertising and Media: Comparative Perspectives
China in the News: The Untold Stories
Gender and Japanese Popular Culture
A Passage to India: Introduction to Modern Indian Culture and Society
Classics of Chinese Literature in Translation
Modern Chinese Fiction and Cinema
Anime: Transnational Media and Culture
Introduction to Japanese Culture
Japanese Media Cultures
Digital Media in Japan and Korea
Cinema in Japan and Korea
Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese Youths and Web Culture
Music of India
China on Stage
Asian American Theater
South Asian America: Transnational Media, Culture, and History
Science, Gender and Social Inequality in the Developing World
Area III: Social Sciences
Select from among the following:
Chinese Foreign Policy
International Relations of East Asia
The Rise of Asia
Politics and Policy in Contemporary Japan
Images of Asian Women: Dragon Ladies and Lotus Blossoms
Area IV: Historical Studies
Select from among the following:
Asian American History: 1865 to 1965
Global Chinese Food: A Historical Overview
The Global Chinese: Chinese Migration, 1567-Present
Dynastic China
Modern China
Inventing the Samurai
Modern Japan: 1600 to Present
Modern South Asia
Business in China Since 1800
Shanghai and China's Modernization
World War II in Asia
South Asian Migrations
Colonialism in South Asia and Africa: Race, Gender, Resistance
Total Units69-72

The language requirement can be satisfied by taking two intermediate (Levels III and IV, or Very Fast Track equivalent) subjects in an Asian language. Students with proficiency at this level are encouraged to take two more advanced language subjects, such as 21G.105 Chinese V (Regular): Discovering Chinese Cultures and Societies and 21G.106 Chinese VI (Regular): Discovering Chinese Cultures and Societies or 21G.505 Japanese V and 21G.506 Japanese VI. Alternatively, they may take two more subjects from Areas II, III, and IV. In cases where the student is specializing in an Asian country where English is one of the official languages, in an English-speaking region of the diaspora, or is a native speaker of an Asian language, the Area I component would be replaced by other subjects in consultation with the minor advisor. 


Other languages may be taken at Harvard, Wellesley, or other institutions during IAP or the summer, with permission from the minor advisor.


For students who are not required to take Area I subjects (see footnote 1 above), all six subjects for the minor must be taken from Areas II, III, and IV, with at least one subject from each area.


21G.591, 21G.592, 21G.593, 21G.594, 21G.596, and 21G.597 are acceptable alternatives for 21G.039[J], 21G.064, 21G.065[J], 21G.094, 21G.063, and 21G.067, respectively. 21G.138, 21G.190, 21G.192, 21G.193, 21G.194, and 21G.195 are acceptable alternatives for 21G.909, 21G.036[J], 21G.046, 21G.030[J], 21G.038, and 21G.044[J], respectively. These 13-unit alternatives include a research project that is conducted in the language of study.

The subject list above is not exhaustive. Additional information can be obtained from the minor advisor, Professor Sana Aiyar, E51-296F, 617-324-7285, or from the SHASS Dean's Office, 4-240, 617-253-3450.