International Studies & Programs


New Asian Area Studies Courses

Michigan State University is now offering new Asia area studies courses starting in fall 2019. Registration is now open, for all courses.

Fall Graduate Seminar: Religion and Ritual

ANP 822.jpgANP 822 Fall 2018
Professor: Mara Leichtman, maral(at)
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.

This course explores anthropological approaches to the study of religion and is balanced between reading classics in the field and evaluating important topics in the present-day body of literature.  As with other major fields of inquiry in the contemporary era, it is not possible to read and discuss all relevant materials on religion in one semester.  Instead, this graduate seminar provides exposure to key issues and theoretical frameworks currently debated by anthropologists and other intellectuals through cross-cultural comparison of religious ideologies, values, and practices. Recommended readings are suggested to introduce students to other significant works that we will not have time to discuss in class.

Topics will include African Diaspora religions, the Azande of Sudan, Christianity, Islam, and religious conversions in an Indian slum.

Please contact Mara Leichtman, maral(at) for an override.

Film Culture in Korea

The-Host-Korean-Movie-poster-cropped-noscale.jpgKOR 291 Sec. 301 Fall 2019
Professor: Catherine Ryu, ryuc(at)
Tuesdays and Thursdays
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

In order to better understand the resurgence of Korean films in recent years and the critical acclaim that they received domestically and globally, this course will examine representative films, directors, and genres during the last hundred years in South Korea. You will explore different genres of historical drama, melodrama, literary adaptation, horror, mystery, and monster films, and will discuss topics pertaining to family, sexuality, gender, cultural tradition, national identity, social movement, and urbanization. You will also pay particular attention to the historical context of films, and how artistic assertion and negotiation of the time are reflected in their final cut.

This course is offered as part of the Big 10 Academic Alliance. It will be shared with the University of Illinois UC and University of Michigan

For more information please email Catherine Ryu at ryuc(at)

Cold War Cultures in Korea

KOR 291.jpgKOR 291 Sec. 301 Spring 2019
Professor: Catherine Ryu, ryuc(at)
Tuesdays and Thursdays
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.

This course will analyze the Cold War not only as a geopolitical event, but also as a historical period marked by specific cultural and artistic forms. There will be a focus on the Korean peninsula, looking closely at the literary and film cultures of both South Korea and North Korea. Global conflict between U.S.-centered and Soviet-centered societies affected the politics, culture, and geography of Korea between 1945 and 1989, treating the division of Korea as an exemplary case extending from the origins of the Cold War to the present will also be discussed.

This course is offered as part of the Big 10 Academic Alliance. It will be shared with the University of Minnesota and Rutgers University.

For more information please email Catherine Ryu at ryuc(at)

South Asia: Paradoxes of Cultural Identities and Development

MC 390.jpgMC 390 Spring 2019
Professor: Sejuti Das Gupta, dasgup16(at) 

The course will begin with an examination of the historical context for independence in the region, with particular attention to the Partition of India and Pakistan. Partition not only left millions of Indians and Pakistanis scarred, it also raised questions about the content of ‘nation’ and ‘nationality’ on the subcontinent and influenced the cultural politics of all the countries of the region.

After this overview, the course will take up four specific paradoxes: nationality and belonging, secularism and communalism, class/caste cleavages and development, and gender-power and powerlessness. Each of these paradoxes will be explored through exploration of any two of the countries, in order to comprehend the depth of the issue. India will remain the most prominent case as it is the de facto hegemon of the region and exercises tremendous power not just over the region but its influence permeates the domestic politics of these nations. Despite being a celebrated as the largest democracy in the world, the politics of India is mired in traditional cleavages like religion, caste, class, ethnicity, and gender which makes the contradiction even starker.

For more information contact Sejuti Das Gupta at dasgup16(at) .