Faculty of Arts


Asian Identities


Who am I? Who are we? Who are they? Questions of identity drive the relationships between individuals, societies and nations. This course will examine a range of theorisations of identity and explore how these can be applied in modern Asia. Our exploration will embrace two themes: nationalism and gender and then continue to examine the way identity can be multiple, hybrid, fractured or contested, with particular reference to minorities and diaspora.

National identity is a driving issue. Where does China begin and end? How does Indonesia maintain itself as a nation? What does the division of the peninsula mean for Korean nationalism? How do discourses of nationhood include or exclude minority identities? What is the role of colonialism in the development of Asian nations?

Evolving conceptions of gender identity involve the ways in which customary expectations for masculine and feminine roles in society are challenged or undermined. Is Asian masculinity becoming feminised? What modes of sexual orientation are permitted or taboo?

Asian diaspora identity often seems to be expressed in terms of food! What is the difference between a mango, a twinkie and banana? Why is it so difficult for Korean-Japanese to be either Korean or Japanese? What is the difference between migration, diaspora and transnationalism?

Our approach to these issues combines two pathways. The first is the reading and discussion of key theoretical works on the main themes. The second is the examination of these themes in case studies and works of popular culture from the societies and nations discussed.

In addition to learning the importance of theory in understanding social and cultural phenomena, this course also helps you develop strong, analytical essay-writing and research skills. The assessment is by course work only and you are encouraged to explore those themes and countries that interest you.

ASIAN 303 is the core course for the Asian Studies major. ASIAN 200 and 303 are both options for those majoring in Chinese or Korean, and in Gender Studies. It is also highly recommended for those majoring in Japanese.

Availability 2020

Semester 2




All course readings are available via the comprehensive course website, which also gives access to a wide range of news items and AV resources.


Coursework only


ASIAN 200: 15.0 points


ASIAN 100 or 30 points in Gender Studies or 45 points in BGlobalSt courses



Contact details | Search | Accessibility | Copyright | Privacy | Disclaimer | 1