Chinese Studies, Academics | Earlham College Skip to Content

Chinese Studies

Overview   |   Our Faculty   |   The Minor   |   Courses  

In addition to Chinese language study, students can engage in a variety of courses that focus on China. They can plan semester and yearlong study abroad programs as well as May Term opportunities in China led by Earlham faculty. Students are able to immerse themselves in the increasing co-curricular opportunities that bring China to our campus.

Many courses in the Earlham curriculum include significant China content. These courses can be found across the curriculum, including courses cross-listed in Religion, Politics, History, Music, Literature, International Studies, Chinese Language, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Students interested in concentrated study of China may work with their academic adviser to develop an independent, self-designed major or minor in Chinese Studies. A minor in Chinese Studies is now part of the curriculum.

Earlham students who pursue study abroad in China participate in CIEE programs.

Our Faculty

Marya Bower
Professor of Philosophy

Ying Liu
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese

Peng Yu
Assistant Professor of Politics

The Minor

Students pursuing a minor in Chinese Studies must complete:

  • Second-year level of Chinese language instruction (CHIN 202 or equivalent).
  • HIS 265/472 Modern China or HIS 266 Contemporary China and the World or CHIN 321 Introduction to Chinese Culture.
  • Three Chinese Studies courses of 3 or more credits each. At least two must be an advanced-level course (300 levels and above).

Students pursing a minor in Chinese Studies are strongly recommended but not required to complete:

  • Off-Campus Study Program in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong (full year, one semester or May Term).


* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

*CHIN 101 BEGINNING CHINESE I (5 credits) (D-L)

This is a continuation of CHIN 101, a beginning Chinese course for non-native Chinese speakers. This course is designed to help students further develop their oral communication skills in daily life situations as well as improve their reading and writing proficiency in Chinese. In addition to class time, students are required to have one-on-one sessions with the Teaching Assistant. Prerequisite: CHIN 101. (D-L)

This is a beginning level Chinese course for students who have prior experience learning Chinese and wish to continue their study in order to prepare for CHIN 201 in the following semester. Materials in the second half of Beginning Chinese will be covered in an accelerated pace. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. (D-L)

Prerequisite: CHIN 102 or 103.

This course is a continuation of CHIN 201, an intermediate level Chinese course. This course aims to help students further develop their oral and written communication skills in the target language, as well as their awareness of the target culture. Students are required to have one-on-one sessions with the Teaching Assistant or Tutor outside class. Prerequisite: CHIN 201.

Calligraphy is a time-honored art and an important part of Chinese culture. This one-credit course introduces basic brush techniques as well as basic structures of Chinese characters through practice. By completion of this course, students are expected to be familiar with approximately one hundred Chinese characters and frequently seen radicals. Students with previous knowledge about Chinese can discuss with the instructor and choose alternative characters to practice. This course provides students with hands-on experience; therefore each student is required to have their own supplies, which include calligraphy ink, paper and brush. Grades will be given based on weekly practice assignments and final project. No previous knowledge or experience with Chinese language or calligraphy is needed. (FY)

This course will provide students and overview of Chinese culture. This course will approach both the big C and the small c of Chinese civilization by highlighting philosophical thoughts, literacy masterpieces, artistic heritage, scientific achievements, social life, and languages in major dynasties and modern times. The goal of this course is to help students obtain basic knowledge about Chinese civilization, to facilitate their fundamental awareness of the core beliefs and values of Chinese culture, and to provide multiple perspectives reinforcing their cross-cultural understanding. No prior knowledge of Chinese language is required. (D-I)

*CHIN 356 INTRODUCTION TO CHINESE CINEMA (3 credits) This course will provide students an overview of Chinese film history. Film makers from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and overseas as well as their works will be introduced. Students will experience different themes and genres of Chinese films and develop analytical appreciation skills. No prior knowledge of cinema studies or Chinese language is required. (D-I)



This course explores the key question of how the Second World War shaped the everyday lives of Chinese, Japanese, and foreigners in East Asia and the world. In addition, students explore the reasons for and the nature of major events in the war – including the Nanjing massacre, the Chinese resistance to and collaboration with the Japanese, Japan’s wartime mobilization, the role of science and technology in war-making, the gendered and racial underpinnings of wartime labor, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, and the U.S. government’s decision to release atomic bombs in Japan. (D-I)

A survey of traditional culture in China, Viet Nam, Korea and Japan, with emphasis on China and Korea, and on East Asia as an international system. Special attention to the historical development of the great tradition in literature, art, religion, politics and social institutions. Also listed as JPNS 226. (D-I) (AY)

*HIST 228 MODERN EAST ASIA (3 credits)
A survey of East Asia since about 1800, with emphasis on China and Korea, and on East Asia as an international system. Special attention to the historical development of politics, economics, society and social institutions, literature, thought and international relations. Prerequisite: An Earlham Seminar, an Interpretive Practices course or consent of the instructor. Also listed as JPNS 228. (WI, D-I) (AY)

*HIST 265 MODERN CHINA (3 credits)
This course examines the history of China’s recent past from the 17th century to the present. Students explore the rise and fall of an expansive Qing Empire, debate the vibrancy of Republican-era China, and examine the multifaceted experiences of ordinary people living in the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan. Students analyze such themes such as rebellions and revolutions, gender relations, foreign diplomacy, material culture and economic development through the myriad voices of political leaders, activists, intellectuals, students, workers, filmmakers and poets. Students gain understanding of the rise of China today within the context of its dynamic recent past. (D-I)

This course examines the history of China’s recent past from 1949 to the present, with an emphasis on the relationship between China and the world. We will examine the strategies of the Mao Zedong and his comrades in winning and consolidating power, the relationships among leaders of China, Taiwan, and the United States in a Cold War context, the importance of science, medicine, and technology in the economic development of China and Taiwan, and the ways in which gender, class, race, and authoritarianism underpinned the revolutionary and post-revolutionary experiences of the Chinese. Additional film lab is required. Upon completion of the course, students will gain the tools to critically examine the economic and diplomatic growth of China in the context of its dynamic past. (D-I)

*HIST 472 MODERN CHINA (4 credits) Research Credit.
A survey of Chinese historical development from the first dynasties to the present day, with emphasis on the period from the mid-14th century through the liberalizing reforms of the post-Mao era. Investigates problems of historical continuity and change, Chinese perceptions of themselves and of the West, attempts at economic and political modernization, the Maoist revolution, and the interplay between institutions and ideas. Also listed as JPNS 472. (D-I) (AY)


International Studies

INST 330 CHINA AND THE NEWS (4 credits)
It seems that a day doesn't go by without a significant story about China appearing in a major news source.  How China presents itself to the world via its media, and how the rest of the world frames and receives this presentation, raises questions of ethics and integrity in the media and cross-cultural communication.  Using a variety of texts and digital resources including blogs and film documentaries, this course will explore both the form and the content of Chinese news media.


Japanese Studies

JPNS 140 MAPPING EAST ASIA (2 credits)
This course entails an exploration of Japan's shifting geographies in the 20th century through the lenses of cultural geography and literature. First and foremost, the course will serve as an introduction to Japan within the context of East Asia, through close reading of texts on Taiwan, Korea, Micronesia, and Manchuria. However, at the same time, through critical examinations of how "Japan" is imagined, mapped, and enacted across and beyond the boundaries of its nation-state, students will gain an appreciation for its instability as a social, cultural, and political entity. (D-I)

This course is a study of the ghost and supernatural tales in East Asian literature, dealing with themes such as foxes, monsters, vengeful spirits, netherworld, the quest for the eternal elixir and realm of dreams. (D-I, WI)



This course provides students with a broad introduction to China's politics in the modern period. The focus will be on top leaders, political institutions and policies under Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. The course covers the main stages in the history of CCP rule: the Mao Zedong period,1949-1976; the Deng Xiaoping period, 1977-1994; and the rule of the so-called third- and fourth-generation leaders, Jiang Zemin, 1995-2003, and Hu Jintao, 2003-1012. A.R.T.S. designation: R. Prerequisite: Politics 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as POLS 358 and INST 358. (D-I, WI)



Introduction through teachings, videos, and memoir to the three Buddhist "turnings of the wheel": Theravadan Buddhism in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia; Tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet; and the Mahayana, through Zen in Japan, China, and Vietnam. Students will learn methods of meditation, maintain and journal, and discuss readings and experiences together. Also listed as JPNS 172. (D-I) (AY)

An exploration of the religious and philosophical thought and practice of East Asia, including Popular, Shinto, Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist traditions as manifested in the classical periods of cultural development as well as contemporary society. Prerequisite: One course in Religion (preferably in World Religions), one course in Japanese Studies or consent of the instructor. Also listed as JPNS 380. (D-I)

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.