Understanding Asia

Subject 100-183 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: 36 contact hours per semester; 30 hours of class preparation and reading per semester; 30 hours of assessment-related tasks per semester; 96 hours total time commitment per semester; 8 hours total time commitment per week.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Kate McGregor
Subject Overview:

The subject begins by exploring the question of how the West has sought to define Asia geographically, culturally and historically in the modern period and how peoples living in the Asian region have responded to and resisted these definitions. Students are then introduced to the formation of early cultural identities within the Asian region, including the emergence of diverse Asian civilisations, the major religions and belief systems of Asia and selected themes within contemporary Asian societies. These may include an examination of Asian families, gender in Asia, religious revival, Asian diaspora, Asian economies and ‘Asian' values. Students will be introduced to Asia through a variety of Asia-produced media. They will learn to analyse historical sources, maps, artefacts, images and extracts from religious teachings in addition to secondary sources.

Subject Objectives

Students who complete this subject should:

  • be able to reflect critically on Western and Asian ideas of Asia and Asian identities;
  • comprehend the key religions and value systems of Asia and their origin;
  • have an understanding of key features of early Asian civilisations;
  • appreciate key historical and cultural links between Asian societies;
  • grasp some of the multiple ideas of gender and family in Asia;
  • comprehend processes of economic transition in Asia;
  • appreciate some of the experiences of Asian diasporas;
  • be able to challenge commonly held Western views about Asia;
  • be able to critically analyse primary documents, religious and cartographic texts and visual artefacts.

Assessment: 1. A brief interactive map exercise due in week 4 of semester 500 words (20%);2. A short essay based on section 2 of the subject consisting of document and/or artefact analysis supported by further research, due in week 9, 1500 words (30%);3. A two-hour examination (50%) in the examination period.Students must attend a minimum of nine tutorials, demonstrate familiarity with online resources, and participate in the Faculty of Arts online learning community in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the University bookshop and readings will be available online through the LMS.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Biomedicine
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Environments
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Engineering

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who complete this subject should:
  • understand a range of disciplines and methodologies appropriate to the texts, artefacts, theoretical structures and social practices with which they are concerned;
  • have developed a capacity for critical thought and analysis through the construction and articulation of lucid, logical arguments;
  • have developed oral and written skills through essay writing and tutorial participation;
  • have acquired the tools for independent and targeted research, using library and other information services;
  • have the ability to organise and manage their time through the planning of class assessments and the meeting of set due dates.
Notes: This is an Arts Faculty Interdisciplinary Foundation subject. BA students are required to complete two of these subjects during first year.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Asian Studies)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Asian Studies)

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