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Regional Focus: East Asia (ISEA)

Regional Focus: East Asia (ISEA)

  East Asia today is a core part of the international system. It includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. East Asian studies provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the diversity of cultures and societies in East Asia.

People of East Asia

East Asia

This region of focus introduces students to the study of diverse cultures and societies in East Asia through history, literature, anthropology, and geography.  History, religion, art, anthropology, geography, literature, political science, and economics provide complementary ways of grasping the complexities of contemporary East Asian worlds.

A variety of scholarly and literary sources are used to provide the student with a varied and balanced view of this complex region

Contemporary issues related to the political, cultural, and economic transformation of East Asia in the twentieth century are discussed in light of tradition and its place in East Asian societies as well as the powerful forces of modernity.

Buddhist Pagoda, Lijiang, Yunnan

Regional Coordinator

Shawn Smallman, Ph.D smallmans@pdx.edu

345 East Hall 503.725.9978

For an associated faculty member, regional adviser, and/or PSU faculty members with regional expertise, please visit our East Asian Faculty page.

For a different regional coordinator, please visit the corresponding Regional Focus page. (See menu in the left margin above.)

Regional Focus

At least 20 upper-division credits (with a grade C or above) from adviser-approved, area-specific courses appropriate to the student's regional focus; selected from departments and programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the Graduate School of Education, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

For a list of recommended East Asia-related courses, you can view all lists under FORMS/LISTS.

Foreign Language

A common misconception is that globalization has reduced the value of knowledge of languages other than English. 

The International Studies major requires that students demonstrate third-year proficiency in one language appropriate to the regional focus.  For students taking courses at PSU, third-year proficiency is defined by successful completion of the terminal course in the third-year language sequence or completion of an upper division equivalent.  For students admitted to PSU in Fall 2007, or later, the terminal course for most languages is 303. 

Since this requirement is met by proficiency and not credit hours, you may have learned the foreign language outside of a classroom, for example, from relatives or by living abroad. If this is the case, please contact the World Languages and Literatures department for information on how to satisfy this requirement by third-year proficiency demonstration.

Adviser-Approved Asian Languages:

  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Japanese

Education Abroad

There is not an education abroad requirement associated with the International Studies major; however, our students are encouraged to pursue international experience opportunities. Portland State University's Education Abroad Office offers study abroad opportunities in the following countries in Asia:

  • China
  • Japan
  • Nepal
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

For more information on any of these programs please visit the Study Abroad office in East Hall 101.

Need a reason to study abroad??  . . . just read this article and it will inform you of many of the benefits of an intercultural academic experience!