The Asian Lens

The Asian Lens


Academic Team:
Kathie Carpenter (
First-Year Experience Seminar Instructor
Camryn Saydah (
FIG Assistant

9 credits

UGST 109 First Year Experience Seminar – 1 Credit 

CRN: 16282: M: 2:00 – 2:50 PM, COL 45 

GLBL 101 Introduction to International Issues – 4 credits 

CRN: 12346: MW: 10:00 – 11:20 AM, LLCS 201, +DIS CRN: 12349: 11:00 – 11:50 AM, ANS 192 

ASIA 111 Great Books on Modern Asia – 4 credits 

CRN: 10640: TR: 4:00 – 5:20 PM, ANS 191 

About the FIG:

The 21st Century has been named the Asian Century, and you're living in it! In this FIG, through discussions, guest speakers, hands-on activities and field trips, we'll explore how global forces are experienced through the eyes of ordinary people living in a range of Asian societies.   

In GLBL 101, we'll examine the big picture, learning about forces impacting the world, such as the media, film and music industries, immigration, resource scarcity, war and social media. In ASIA 111 we'll take the local perspective, by reading books that show how these forces shape, and are shaped by individuals and their cultures and communities.   

Whether you're one of the 60% of the earth's population that calls Asia home, or whether you've never set foot outside of Oregon, studying the culturally and historically diverse areas of Asia will provide you with opportunities to discover new global perspectives, and new ways of thinking about yourself and your community. Along the way, we'll focus on building social connections, facilitating your transition to college life and learning how to cook a spectacular Cambodian noodle dinner for our end-of-term party! 

GLBL 101 Introduction to International Issues - CoreEd or major satisfying course

Hunger, intellectual property, global warming, arms trade, water rights, resource depletion, civil war, genocide, biodiversity loss, terrorism, education, global financial inequities, and immigration: These a just a few examples of the sometimes overwhelming list of challenges we face in a highly globalized world. Some are new but most have been with us for thousands of years. What have changed significantly and rapidly are our mobility and our access to information and images. Issues which a few decades ago may have seemed distant and disconnected are now thrust upon us or at least accessible through various media. Among the wide range of problems and issues faced by people throughout the world, who decides which issues get priority and attention? What informs your own sense of compassion and focus? Does our heightened sense of connection move us more quickly to resolution or to greater cynicism?

The course is designed to meet the social science group-satisfying general education requirement. As the syllabus demonstrates, GLBL 101 covers a cross-section of issues, perspectives and scholarly modes of analysis by those working in the field of international studies. The course subject matter is broad, covering issues such as hunger, intellectual property, global warming, arms trade, water rights, resource depletion, civil war, genocide, biodiversity loss, terrorism, education, global financial inequities, and immigration. The course is grounded in the social sciences with readings and lecture material largely informed by the fields of human geography, sociology, political science, and social psychology. The course compels students to consider ways in which current international issues are framed by popular media, various stakeholders, and academicians (from the social sciences)

ASIA 111 Great Books on Modern Asia - CoreEd or major satisfying course

This course satisfies the Arts and Letters general-education group and International Cultures multicultural requirements. The course does not require prior knowledge of Asia, and can be counted toward the major or minor in Asian Studies. Both lower-division and upper-division students are welcome.

Asia is the largest and most populous continent on earth. The continent is rich in history and culture, home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations and the birthplace of two major world religions. In the modern era, Asia has experienced not only traumatic wars and genocides but also rapid economic and political development.

This course will introduce students to the cultural, social, economic, and political dimensions of life in modern Asia, along with comparisons of different regions of Asia. Through selections from four awesome and discussion-stimulating books, students will learn about the continent’s particular places, peoples, and aspects of their lives and cultures. This selective profile of Asia is aimed to convey not only the complex and diverse conditions of particular Asian countries but also the broadly shared regional patterns of development.

The course is divided into four segments, with each segment using a single book, and each taught by a different faculty member from among the UO’s many world-class experts on Asia. Depending on the faculty who teach the class in a particular term, the books selected for the class and the countries discussed are different. Examples include memoir, manga (cartoon book), and scholarly studies. The readings introduce students to the victims of atomic bombs in Japan, North Koreans who survived famine, post-genocide Cambodian refugees in America, and Indians who live in a dynamic and complex society.

Meet your FIG Assistant and Instructor!