Asia is a vital region of the globe today. Its population of almost 4 billion represents 60 per cent of the globe. In recent years, Asia has been experiencing dynamic cultural transformations and astounding growth in economic power. The task of understanding Asia has become increasingly important, and requires a good educational program, due to the ancient histories of Asian societies, the diversity of Asian languages and cultures, the importance of their colonial and postcolonial histories, and the complexities of their modern rural and urban social structures.
Australia today is tied into Asia more than ever before, in terms of intensifying cultural contacts, immigration, tourism, commerce and trade, and strategic alliances. Thus, the study of Asia has become vital to Australia's future.
The University of Sydney was the first academic institution in Australia to recognise the importance of Asia, dating back to the establishment of the Department of Oriental Studies in 1918. Since then, the University has developed considerable resources in teaching and research in the languages, religions, histories, societies, political economies, arts and literature of Asia. The Asian Studies program is now in the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).
The program draws on the expertise of Asian specialists from various departments and faculties in the University including:
Government and International Relations, Art History and Theory, Studies in Religion, Performance Studies, Anthropology, and History.
All classes are conducted in English and use English language texts. You do not need to speak an Asian language to enrol in Asian Studies units of study, but you are encouraged to extend your understanding of the region by also studying an Asian language.
Whether you are interested in a particular Asian region; intending to enrol in an Asian language; or planning to study history, politics, economics, art history, sociology or a wide range of other areas, it would be stimulating to incorporate units from Asian Studies into your degree. You can also apply to study for a semester overseas at one of a number of universities who have exchange agreements with Sydney, counting the credit gained for study there towards your degree. The University of Sydney holds a number of agreements with universities in Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.