The below course information is for the Thailand Fall 2019 semester. Courses for the Spring 2020 semester will be available in the fall. However courses don’t change much from semester to semester. Contact TEAN if you need course syllabi.
Thailand Semester Courses
The below courses are for students completing the full semester in Thailand program.
WLL 199 Thai Language 1 (3 credits)
An introduction to spoken and aural Thai. The emphasis is on spoken language competency as it relates to daily life: pronunciation and listening comprehension. The course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Thai language. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to communicate effectively, utilizing everyday spoken Thai at a basic conversational level.
Students typically select a minimum of 3 and maximum of 4 elective courses from the below list.
ANTH 399 Cultural Foundations of Thai Society (3 credits)
This course introduces students to Thailand through a general survey of topics on Thai culture and society. The course combines classroom lecture and discussion with a variety of field experiences in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. It will focus on the changes and continuity of cultural practices and the major institutions of the country. Themes to be analyzed include history, politics, customs and identity. This course will also spend significant time examining ecological, social and economic transitions now underway in mainland Southeast Asia with emphasis on Northern Thailand. Class presentations and field studies will examine how semi-wild landscapes and traditional cultures are being affected by infrastructure development and increasing reliance on the market as a source of livelihood.
Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Using the holistic approach of cultural anthropology, this course offers an introduction to the rich and varied fabric of social and cultural life in the Southeast Asian region. It begins with an examination of the idea of Southeast Asia as a distinctive socio-culturalregion, looking at how trade, geography and migration have shaped the region’s culturaland religious diversity and complexity. It then turns to an examination of Southeast Asia through an exploration of the contemporary, everyday liv es of its populace, including experience s of kinship and family, ritual and religious practice, entertainment, health, and creating viable livelihoods in a rapidly changing economy.
WLL 299 Thai Language 2 (3 credits)
This course introduces students to the Thai language writing system and basic reading. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to read consonants, vowels, simple words, and short sentences.
D 195 Introduction to Thai Dance (3 credits)
In this introductory course, students will approach and expand their dance technique via interdisciplinary methods and experience Thai arts, culture and history through the principal techniques and styles of Thai dance. The class will focus on dances from different regions, including Central, Northern, Eastern and Southern Thailand.
Note: You do not need to have a background in dance to take this class.
PS 399 Government and Politics of Thailand (3 credits)
The Thai nation emerged as a social construct, grouping together various peoples under a common political identity. Since World War II, the country gradually stabilized, both politically and economically. Thailand today has fast emerged as a thriving economy, an evolving constitutional monarchy, and an increasingly important player in the regional politics of Southeast Asia as well as an actor on the larger world stage. As such, Thailand represents a significant case study of a “second generation” developmental state, following Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. This course examines the evolution of Thai governmental structures as well as Thailand’s political and socio-economic development over the last 75 years. Prominent themes will include key democratic institutions (political parties and elections) as well as the role of civil society in the democratization process. A short section will also examine Thailand’s crisis today and its contentious issue.
INTL 399 Buddhism in Thai Society (3 credits)
This course introduces students to Thailand through an indepth look at Theravada Buddhism. Particular attention is given to the practice of Buddhism in Thailand with some references to the tradition’s Indian roots and their influence on Thai Buddhism. This course seeks to help students develop a rich understanding of Theravada Buddhism: its doctrines, institutions, practices, values, and the role that it plays in the personal and social life of people in Thailand. Topics such as socially engaged Buddhism, women in Buddhism, Buddhist material culture, meditation and others will be discussed within the Thai context. Students will be encouraged to take advantage of their access to various temples, monks, and Buddhist communities while studying abroad in Thailand on this course as a way of enriching their educational experience. Students should emerge from this course with a wealth of general knowledge concerning the Buddhist tradition in general, as well as an appreciation for the role Buddhism has played in shaping many aspects of contemporary Thailand. Students should also emerge from this course with an ability to think and write critically about the concepts that they encounter in the course.
ARH 410 Thailand: Modern Art & Culture (3 credits)
Our eyes are open more hours than they are closed. What do we see? How are these images, people, signs, buildings, colors, etc., affecting us, communicating with us, and what is the emotional impact on us from seeing these images? And how do these images convey meanings to us? This is a course where students will deepen their perceptions through exploring visual images about art and culture while living in Thailand. Class exercises and homework are tools used to stimulate questions and feelings on a personal level for students in relation to where they are studying abroad in Thailand. Students will increase their sensitivity and awareness of Southeast Asian and especially Thai art and culture. Such education will be conveyed through both didactic and experiential style of teaching. This class will also enable students to gain more appreciation and broaden their perspectives, not only of others’ culture and art, but also of their own through the comparative course segment.
PS 399 International Relations of Mainland Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Mainland Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. The region is hemmed in by China in the north and India as well as Bangladesh in the west. Though most peoples in this region share Theravada Buddhism as a common religion, their cultures and languages are vastly different. Except for Thailand, these countries have also experienced colonization while all the states have had wars with other states or insurrections. This course frames the issues of conflict and conciliation in mainland Southeast Asia, with particular but not exclusive focus on Cambodia and Thailand, by utilizing the lenses of Realism, Pluralism, Neo-Marxism, and Social Constructivism to explain and predict events in the region.
ANTH 410/SOC 410 Rights and Activism in SE Asia: LGBTQ, Sex Workers and Trafficking (3 credits)
Thailand has long been viewed by both visitors and scholars as a paradox of gender and fascinating sexual diversity while concomitantly a popular sex tourism destination. The myth of Thailand as a “gay paradise” abounds yet does it reflect the reality of LGBTQ Thai people? Why is Thailand seemingly so queer-friendly yet still lacking major legal protections for sexual minorities? Why does queer visibility in Thailand not translate into organized activism in similar ways that gay rights have been advocated for and legally codified in the West?
The bulk of this course will explore the history of queer identities in Thailand and the rise of LGBTQ activism from the 1980s until the present. The second part of this course will tackle the rhetoric and reality behind sex trafficking, the rights of sex workers and the common conflation of migration patterns with human trafficking. Students will be required to critically analyze the global anti-trafficking movement’s influence on Thailand and juxtapose this hegemonic discourse with the complex realities of adult sex workers in Southeast Asia. Students are encouraged to use the “classroom” of Chiang Mai, Thailand to observe and reflect on the topics in this course.
PHE 410 Public Health in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
This course examines health challenges and public health solutions in Southeast Asia. After a survey of lead problems and public health approaches in the countries of Southeast Asia, course participants will select a single district in one of the most vulnerable countries in the region (Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia) and propose a public health plan for the district including community, primary health facility and hospital levels. Using available data and a systems approach, this plan will take into account disease burden, manpower, finance, and social determinants (poverty, ethnicity, gender etc.) The steps in this process will be (a) survey of districts within the target countries to select one district for deep analysis; (b) formation of small working groups to support district plan development in key areas (disease burden, finance etc) with guidance from the professor; (c) prototype plan development; and (d) production of a draft plan. By the end of the course, participants will be able to describe health care challenges in the region down to the specifics at the local level; propose realistic public health solutions in the form of a first draft proposal in a format appropriate for submission to government and donors; and envision the possibility of a personal career in public health in this region.
PS 399 Human Rights in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
This course will examine why human rights abuses are possible on such an enormous scale and with such terrible intensity in Southeast Asia and, in particular, Myanmar (Burma), either through direct mistreatment or criminal neglect of the population. Given the rise of Asian powers like China and India in what has been dubbed the “New Asian Hemisphere,” Southeast Asia, located between the two giants, is the perfect place to study the intersection of all that has gone amok in Asian politics.
SOC 410 Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender in Thailand (3 credits)
With over 90% of Thais identifying as Buddhist, Thailand is known for being an overwhelmingly Buddhist country and the religion plays an important role throughout all aspects of people’s lives. Thailand also has an international reputation for being very accepting of gay and transgender individuals. What is the relationship between these aspects of Thai society? How does Buddhism influence people’s understandings of gender and sexuality? And how does one’s gender and sexuality influence how she or he practices Buddhism? These are the questions we will explore in this course. We will read important texts to see how scholars have addressed the relationship among Buddhism, sexuality and gender, and also travel to meet with monks, educators, activists and others to better understand how they see Buddhism, sexuality and gender influencing one another in Thai society today.
INTL 410 Empire, Imperialism and Colonialism in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
This course is an exploration of Asian and Western empires in Southeast Asia, and the influences and effects that imperialism and colonialism have had on the history, development, institutions, and identity of the people in the region. The course will focus on a definition of the philosophical ideas related to these subjects and an examination of the ideologies that have shaped the political, religious, social, economic, and legal structures in Southeast Asia. In addition, we will look at the role of revolutions and nationalism in creating the countries in Southeast Asia; the end of empire in the region; the conflict between Asian and Western values; the comparative philosophies of power and freedom; and the problems and contradictions of Western democracy in Asian societies.
MGMT 410 Business and Social Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
South East Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. This course will provide you with an understanding and skill-base appropriate for an informed business and social enterprise profession in Southeast Asia. This course also addresses the historical trajectories of each major country, their relations with each other and the wider world in socio-economic aspects. In preparation for a more critical discussion of contending development rationales, patterns of industrialization are explored in comparative perspective, using some examples from Southeast Asian business and social enterprise organizations experience as an interpretive model. Economic change and its impact upon government, business, ethnic minorities, social classes and individuals will be the key learning foci of this course. In addition, brief business case studies will also be reviewed covering various business management challenges specific to the Southeast Asian business and social entrepreneurship context.
Thailand lies at the heart of the Greater Mekong Sub- Region (GMS). Students will gain an awareness of business and social development issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia through theoretical engagement with the readings and class discussions. Students will be afforded opportunities to discuss with business, nongovernmental, and social entrepreneurial leaders of both local Thai and multinational businesses regarding their work related to issues in this course. Through interactive academic study with real-world business and social leaders, students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the complexity of business, investment, labor, management, and social entrepreneurial issues in Thai society and the role of both local Thai businesses and multinational enterprises in responding to the challenges of globalization.
SOC 410 Religions of Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Southeast Asia is a fascinating region, not least of all because of its diversity of religious expressions. Although the countries of mainland Southeast Asia have majority Theravada Buddhist populations, throughout the region we find communities of Christians, Catholics, Sikhs, Mahayana Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, and Hindus. Not only focusing on world religions, we will also have opportunities to discuss and explore indigenous religions, including spirits and spirit mediums, and the major developments and themes regarding the emergence and predominance of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. We will survey the changing places and diverse impacts of these religions on the political and social lives of various groups in the region. In this course we will have an opportunity to explore this variety of religions and their particular manifestations within Southeast Asia.
Environmentalism in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Course description coming soon