The Asian and Middle East Studies Program is dedicated to the creating greater awareness on campus to the regions of Asia and the Middle East and to provide students with opportunities to study about these regions in different ways.
It encourages students to acquire analytical and critical skills as they study the linguistic, literary, and cultural traditions of Asia and the Middle East. The program is committed to promoting cultural sensitivity and developing humanistic knowledge needed in our increasingly globalized world. Students come to understand Asia and the Middle East as culturally diverse regions with deeply intertwined histories. Through academic, material, and cultural encounters they learn to study about--and from--people and communities of which they are not necessarily a part, understanding them as active players in regional and world history. Focusing on voices, objects, and written materials from Asia and the Middle East, rather than relying on Western formulations, the goal of Asian and Middle East Studies is to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which people of these interrelated regions have historically defined and expressed themselves.
To accomplish this the Asian and Middle East Studies program offers a join major, two concentrations, and more than 100 courses, along with associated activities, such as speakers, and cultural events. The joint major works in association with the Departments of Modern Languages and Literatures, Religious Studies, History, and Art History (departments in which we have special strength) to build a major program that integrates the disciplinary major with interdisciplinary Asian and Middle East Studies courses. The Concentrations — one in Asian Studies and the other in Islamic Cultures and Civilizations — build on broadly interdisciplinary course work, drawn from anthropology, art history, English literature, history, languages and literatures (of Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic), music, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and sociology.
These learning objectives are designed to help you develop skills and competencies that prepare you to be a global citizen in this rapidly changing world. (Not all AMES courses address all of the following goals, however, throughout the program we keep these objectives in mind.)
A. Learn and use language(s) from Asia and/or the Middle East. The language learning experience enables students to experience the culture associated with the language and to look at matters from a different/global perspective. While, some students may achieve/or have fluency in an Asian or Middle East language, all AMES students will appreciate the value of language achievement and will use languages to the best of their ability.
B. Learn to address and discuss what it means to write about a culture/society/community of which you may or may not be a part. Examine and analyze how best to write/speak about multiple Asian and Middle East perspectives.
C. Recognize the influence of Western-centric arguments and viewpoints in writing about Asian and Middle East cultures, peoples, and societies. Critique Western-centric, Euro-centric, and Orientalist arguments. To do this:
D. Understand the humanities in broad global terms, so that students, not only see themselves as learning about varied civilizations and cultures, but also learning from them to discern larger lessons about human knowledge and wisdom.
E. Identify primary sources and data that you use in your own writing, presentations and research. Where did they come from? What are their provenance? Authorship? And learn to use those sources effectively, based on methodologies or theories of different disciplines.
F. Learn to evaluate sources in a variety of formats: visual, aural, written, and digital. This includes the ability to analyze material culture — art, architecture, cultural products, and material resources — both while abroad and as part of coursework and research at Kenyon.
G. In all academic work in Asian and Middle East Studies, learn to be conscious of historical, gendered, culturally diverse, as well as economic and political perspectives contained within the material that you encounter and read.
H. Be able to express your ideas clearly, without jargon, using sound arguments and lucid prose, both in writing and through oral presentation.