Non-Western and Comparative Studies

Last updated: May 25, 2016 at 2:11 p.m.


The non-Western and comparative studies requirement is designed to encourage students to explore societies, cultures and experiences beyond those of the Western tradition. The common goal of the courses in the program is to acquaint students with world views, indigenous intellectual traditions, historical narratives and social institutions that have developed largely outside European society and its North American transplants.

By examining some particular culture, society or region of the non-Western world (such as those of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Oceania), or by systematically comparing a range of values and institutions across cultural boundaries, students will be able to broaden their understanding of human achievements and potentialities beyond the Western heritage. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, and at the same time more diverse, such an understanding is all the more necessary.

Through the study of non-Western societies in their original settings, it is expected that students will also gain a better understanding of minority groups and diasporic cultures (such as African-American, Latino, Asian and Muslim) in the United States and the West in general. Non-Western courses expand students’ horizons and help them better understand their own history and culture. 

Courses that satisfy the requirement may have Western components or modes of analysis, but their primary purpose is to foster an understanding of non-Western cultures, experiences and perspectives. For example, in a course on the political economy of Africa that employs Western methodologies, the history and culture of Africa still occupy a central place. The program draws attention to the intellectual and methodological problems inherent in the study of cultural systems other than those of the West.  

Courses of Instruction

AAAS 18b
Africa and the West

AAAS 60a
Economics of Third World Hunger

AAAS 80a
Economy and Society in Africa

AAAS 115a
Introduction to African History

AAAS 122a
Politics of Southern Africa

AAAS 123a
Third World Ideologies

AAAS 126b
Political Economy of the Third World

AAAS 132b
Introduction to African Literature

AAAS 133b
The Literature of the Caribbean

AAAS 134b
Novel and Film of the African Diaspora

AAAS 158a
Theories of Development and Underdevelopment

AAAS 163b
Africa in World Politics

AAAS 175a
Comparative Politics of North Africa

Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies

ANTH 55a
Anthropology of Development

ANTH 80a
Anthropology of Religion

ANTH 105a
Myth and Ritual

ANTH 107a
Wealth, Value, and Power in a World without Money

ANTH 111a
Aging in Cross-Cultural Perspective

ANTH 112b
Six Menus: The Archaeology of Food and Drink

ANTH 118a
Secularism, Religion and Modernity

ANTH 127a
Medicine, Body, and Culture

ANTH 133b
Colonialism and Post-coloniality in Africa: Encounters and Dilemmas

ANTH 136a
Archaeology of Power: Authority, Prestige, and Inequality in the Past

ANTH 144a
The Anthropology of Gender

ANTH 147b
Mesoamerican Civilizations and Their Legacies

ANTH 153a
Writing Systems and Scribal Traditions

ANTH 156a
Power and Violence: The Anthropology of Political Systems

ANTH 156b
Activism, Resistance and Change: Global Perspectives

ANTH 163b
Production, Consumption, and Exchange

ANTH 164a
Medicine and Religion

ANTH 168a
The Maya: Past, Present and Future

ANTH 184b
Cross-Cultural Art and Aesthetics

CHIN 100a
Introduction to Chinese Literature: Desire and Form

CHIN 106b
Business Chinese and Culture

CHIN 130b
China on Film: The Changes of Chinese Culture

CHIN 136b
Chinese Modernism in International Context

CHIN 136bj
Chinese Modernism in International Context

CHIN 140a
Yin Yu Tang Documents, Decoding the Late Qing and Early Republic Writings (I)

CLAS 135a
The Silk Road: China Looks West, the Mediterranean Looks East

COML 146b
Classical East Asian Poetics

COML 165a
Reading, Writing, and Teaching across Cultures

COML 166b
Literacy, Language and Culture

ECON 30a
The Economy of China

ECON 122b
The Economics of the Middle East

ECON 176a
Health, Hunger, and the Household in Developing Countries

ENG 20a
Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre, and Society

ENG 22a
Filmi Fictions: From Page to Screen in India

ENG 77b
Literatures of Global English

ENG 127a
The Novel in India

ENG 127b
Migrating Bodies, Migrating Texts

ENG 162b
Narratives of Disability in South Asia

ENG 167a
Decolonizing Fictions

FA 31a
Global History of Architecture: Prehistory to the 15th Century

FA 33b
Islamic Art and Architecture

FA 34a
History of Asian Art

FA 40a
The Gift of the Nile: Egyptian Art and Archaeology

FA 70b
The Art of China

FA 71b
The Art of Japan

FA 72b
Introduction to Korean Art

FA 73b
Arts of South Asia

FA 77b
Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Latin American Art

FA 170a
Arts of the Ming Dynasty

FA 171b
Buddhist Art

FA 172b
Ink Painting in Taiwan and Hong Kong: Chinese Renaissance in Exile

FA 178a
Frida Kahlo: Art, Life and Legacy

FA 197a
Studies in Asian Art

FREN 164a
Haiti, Then and Now

HBRW 162b
Translation Practice and Theory

HECS 42b
Literature and Human Rights in Latin America

HISP 111b
Introduction to Latin American Literature and Culture

HISP 160a
Culture and Social Change in Latin America

HISP 164b
Studies in Latin American Literature

HISP 165b
The Storyteller: Short Fiction in Latin America

HISP 167b
Twice-Told Tales: Colonial Encounters and Postcolonial Fiction in the Americas

HISP 182a
Narratives of the Drug Wars in Latin America

HISP 192b
Latin American Global Film

HIST 56b
World History to 1960

HIST 66a
History of South Asia (2500 BCE - 1971)

HIST 71a
Latin American and Caribbean History I: Colonialism, Slavery, Freedom

HIST 71b
Latin American and Caribbean History II: Modernity, Medicine, Sexuality

HIST 80a
Introduction to East Asian Civilization

HIST 80b
East Asia: Nineteenth Century to the Present (China and Japan)

HIST 111a
History of the Modern Middle East

HIST 111b
The Iranian Revolution: From Monarchy to the Islamic Republic

HIST 115b
The Great Ocean: An International History of the Pacific

HIST 175a
Topics in Latin American History

HIST 175b
Resistance and Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean

HIST 176b
Japan and Korea in Modern World History

HIST 180a
The Global Opium Trade: 1755-Present

HIST 182a
Mao: The Man, the Myth, and the Milieu

HIST 182b
Modern China

HIST 183a
Empire at the Margins: Borderlands in Late Imperial China

HIST 184b
Swashbuckling Adventurers or Sea Bandits? The Chinese Pirate in Global Perspective

HIST 185a
The China Outside China: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Diaspora in the Making of Modern China

IGS/SAS 160aj
The Rise of India

IMES 104a
Islam: Civilization and Institutions

IMES 105a
War and Revolution in the Middle East

JAPN 120a
Topics in Contemporary Japanese Culture and Society

JAPN 120b
Readings in Modern Japanese Literature

JAPN 125b
Putting Away Childish Things: Coming of Age in Modern Japanese Literature and Film

JAPN 130a
The Literature of Multicultural Japan

JAPN 135a
Screening National Images: Japanese Film and Anime in Global Context

JAPN 140a
The World of Early Modern Japanese Literature

JAPN 145a
The World of Classical Japanese Literature

LGLS 124b
International Law and Development

MUS 3b
World Music: Performing Tradition through Sound

MUS 4a
Introduction to Chinese Music and Its Development in the Modern Era

Jewish History: From Ancient to Modern Worlds

NEJS 104a
Comparative Semitic Languages

NEJS 105a
Music in the Bible and the Ancient Near East

NEJS 113b
Law in the Bible and the Ancient Near East

NEJS 116a
Ancient Near Eastern Religion and Mythology

NEJS 144a
Jews in the World of Islam

NEJS 186a
Introduction to the Qur'an

NEJS 187a
Political Islam

NEJS 188a
The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1800

NEJS 188b
Islam and Religious Diversity

NEJS 194a
Modern Arabic Literature

NEJS 194b
Sufi Teachings

NEJS 197b
Political Cultures of the Middle East

POL 128a
The Politics of Revolution: State Violence and Popular Insurgency in the Third World

POL 133a
Contemporary Politics in the Middle East

POL 135b
The Politics of Islamic Resurgence

POL 144a
Latin American Politics I

POL 144b
Latin American Politics II

POL 146b
Seminar: Topics in Revolutions in the Third World

POL 147a
The Government and Politics of China

POL 148a
Seminar: Contemporary Chinese Politics

POL 150a
Politics of Southeast Asia

POL 179a
China's Global Rise: The Challenge to Democratic Order

REL 107a
Introduction to World Religions

REL 151a
The Buddha: His Life and Teachings

REL 161a
Chinese Religion and Thought: Understanding Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism)

REL/SAS 152a
Introduction to Hinduism

SAS 100a
India and Pakistan: Understanding South Asia

SAS 101a
South Asian Women Writers

SAS 150b
Indian Film: The Three-Hour Dream

SOC 127a
Religion, Ethnicity, and Nationalism

SQS 160a
Transnational Sexualities 

WMGS 140a
Diversity of Muslim Women's Experience