Portland State Institute for Asian Studies

Founded in 1997, the Portland State Institute for Asian Studies (IAS) promotes public awareness, research, training,and curricular development on all parts of Asia.

Housed in the Office of International Affairs, the Institute for Asian Studies unites and works in cooperation with the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) and the Confucius Institute at PSU to serves as a a nexus and resource hub for Asia related programming.

The PSU Vangard recently published an article reflecting the work and career of Professor Linda Walton who will be retiring at the end of June after 30 years of teaching. 

Check out the article and be sure to congratulate Professor Walton for receiving the 2012 Branford Price Millar Award!

Oregon Korean Performing Arts Group will be hosting a traditional dance and drum performance! The performance will be held at Jesuit High School Auditorium, 9000 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Portland at 6pm on June 16th. Admission is $10 per person. Tickets available at H-Mart in Tigard. To get a sneak peek of what the performance will be like check out this short video!

The PSU Institute for Asian Studies is please to announce the re-appointment of Dr. Sharon Carstensas Director for the upcoming 3-year cycle, 2013-2016.  Sharon Carstens, is a Professor of Anthropology and serves as the Curriculum Coordinator for East Asian Studies within the International Studies Program at Portland State University.  She has served as the  Director of the PSU Institute for Asian Studies since 2010, during which time she has vastly expanded the Institute’s public program offerings, its constituent base, and connections with community and cultural organizations and supporters.  Dr. Carstens’ research interests include cultural anthropology, symbolic anthropology, identity, gender ethnohistory, education; China, Malaysia, Southeast Asia and Asian Americans.

During the 2013-2014 academic year PSU Professor Suwako Watanabe will serve as the Interim Director while Dr. Carstens is away on sabbatical.  Dr. Watanabe is a Professor of Japanese, in the World Languages and Literatures Dept.   Read more about Dr. Watabanabe »

Portland Art Museum is hosting a midday lecture viewing and talk about the Museum’s recently restored Chosen Dynasty painted screen depicting a cityscape of 19th century Pyongyang and the Taedong River.  This 8-panel folding screen was gifted to the Portland Art Museum in 2003 by the Oregon Korea Foundation.

This event will be held at the Portland Art Museum on June 12th 12:30-1:15pm. Admission is free for members and $15 for non-members.


Thursday June 6, 2013 at 7:30pm in Lincoln Recital Hall (room 75)

  • Featuring rakugo (storytelling)
  • kyogen (comic theater)
  • nihon buyo (classical dance)
  • shimai (noh dance)
  • taiko (group drumming)

Includes solo and group performances led by Matthew Shores, Instructor of Japanese and Wynn Kiyama, Assistant Professor of musicology and ethnomusicology

Free and Open to the Public

Sponsored by the PSU Center for Japanese Studies
the Department of World Languages and Literature
and the PSU School of Music
Co-Sponsored by Shokookai of Portland

HIST 399: Korean Civilization 
4 credits

Lecture: Monday & Wednesday 9:30 – 10:45 AM
Discussion Sections: TBA 
Location: Urban Building 303

Instructor: John B. Duncan

This is a ‘real time’ distance learning course, offered via live, 2-way, interactive video conference, taught by a UCLA professor in the UCLA Korean Studies Program.

This survey course examines Korean history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. We will focus on such issues as the position of Korea in East Asia and the world, the historical development of Korean identity, and the dynamism of contemporary Korean society and culture.

*This course will count towards the non-western elective requirement for the major in History.


80050 ARH 208 Introduction to Asian Art
WEB 07/22-08/15 Overton K.

A historical survey of the visual arts in Asia from prehistory to 1900. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture and ceramics from India, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast and Central Asia are studied in relation to the religions and cultures producing them. Open to non-majors. 

In summer 2013, this web course will pay special attention to the 4th through 17th centuries.  Students will be introduced to the major religions of Asia (Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam) and their associated architectural masterpieces (Dunhuang in China, Penjikent in Tajikistan, Borobudur in Indonesia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bibi Khanum in Uzbekistan, Taj Mahal in India).  Particular emphasis will be placed on cultural exchange between Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and China (trade routes, diplomacy), the relationship between architecture, piety and patronage, and the arts of writing (calligraphy) and ceramics in comparative perspective.  Course requirements include a visit to the Portland Art Museum, listening to online lectures, watching architectural film, and reading primary and secondary textual sources (all in English).

Jeffrey C. Kinkley is a Professor of History at St. John’s University who teaches courses in World and East Asian History and in Modern Chinese History, Literature and Film. He is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow who has published several books about Chinese writers and China, and is working on a new book about recent epic Chinese historical novels and their visions of modern history.

Mo Yan is a Chinese novelist, short story writer, and essayist, who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Despite his social criticism he is seen in his homeland as one of the foremost contemporary authors. He is best known to Western readers for his 1987 novel Red Sorghum Clan. The Nobel Foundation describes Mo Yan as an author “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary,” and has compared his writing to that of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez.

This event is free and open to the public. It will be held in Portland State’s Smith Memorial Student Union in room 298 from 6-7:30pm.

As we continue our journey for Insights Along the Zig Zag Bridge, please join First
Saturday on June 1 for an introduction to the city of Beijing and its Forbidden City. During both the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Imperial Palace was known as The Purple Forbidden City. It is recognized as the world’s largest ancient palace of 178 acres with a history of almost 600 years. It was not only the living-quarters of the imperial house, but also the political center of the Chinese empire. The Zijin Cheng complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture with 26 ft. high vermilion walls and yellow glazed tiles and has influenced cultural as well as architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. It was designed as the heart of Beijing, a city which boasts a history of more than 3,000 years. Frances Li will provide a visual, historical introduction to this distinctive complex and Beijing. Please join us with your friends on this exploratory journey.

In collaboration with PSU’s Institute of Asian Studies, this program will be on the
campus of Portland State University (PSU) at the Urban and Public Affairs Center in room 250 from 9:30am-11am.

In his lecture, Professor Sherman Cochran will discuss family survival strategies and decision making based on a new book that he and his co-author, Professor Andrew Hsieh, have recently published, The Lius of Shanghai (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013). From the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 to the Communist Revolution of 1949, the onrushing narrative of modern China can drown out the stories of the people who lived it. Yet a remarkable cache of letters from one of China’s most prominent and influential business families, the Lius of Shanghai, sheds new light on this tumultuous era. In their private correspondence, the parents and their twelve children in the Liu family discuss sensitive political issues – should they collaborate with the Japanese occupiers of China? should they flee after the communist takeover of the country? – as well as intimate matters like marital infidelity.

*This lecture is free and open to the public. It will be held Wednesday, May 29th at Portland State in the Smith Memorial Union, Room 238, 6:00-7:30pm.