Instructor: Professor Di Luo (

MTRF 12:00-1:15pm (Feb 8-March 25)

Classroom: New London Hall 101

Zoom link for all class meetings (Meeting ID: 992 1110 8756)

Office hours: MR 3:30-4:30pm, and by appointment

Office: Cummings 209

Zoom link for office hours (Meeting ID: 992 7939 5676)

💡This syllabus is published on the course WordPress site: Asian Art and Architecture Image Database: An Open Educational Resource. Any updates to the syllabus will be posted on this site.

Course Description

What is Asian art, and how do we understand Asia's past and present through the lens of art? This introductory course examines the various forms of art produced in Asia and enhances your comprehension of the diverse Asian cultures. We will explore examples from India, China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia. Not only do we focus on the artistic forms and styles of individual cultures, but we further investigate the cross-cultural exchanges via land and maritime trade routes such as the Silk Road. We pay special attention to the transmission of Buddhist art in Asia and attempt to unravel how Buddhist and other religious or mythological traditions (Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto, and various folklore) have shaped Asian art into its historical and present forms.

In this module, we are taking a very unconventional approach to the study of Asian art. For the first time, the students of this course are creating their own textbook on Asian art. We will be building this textbook together using online images and write our own analyses of these images, compile annotated bibliographies, curate online exhibitions, and publish our work on the Digital Connecticut College Domain as an open-access educational resource for the greater community. You are, in this light, not only in charge of your own study of the course content but responsible for delivering academically sourced and written work to the public.

⚠️ IMPORTANT: By signing up for this course, you agree that the written work you created and published on the course WordPress site will be released to the general public under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. This means that anyone on the Internet can view your work, and they can share and use your work free of charge as long as they attribute the original work to your name and share any edited versions of the work under the same CC license.

Our learning goals are:

  1. Searching for open-access images for academic use;
  2. Writing summaries of book chapters and/or journal articles and building annotated bibliographies;
  3. Curating themed online exhibitions and compiling exhibition catalogues;
  4. Publishing on WordPress.

Ultimately, by acquiring these skills, you should be able to enhance your overall learning abilities in the age of COVID-19. This not only applies to the study of Asian art but more generally, it should prompt you to reflect on the way any knowledge is produced and disseminated and challenge the authority of a canon or canonical work in an established field. This learning process also encourages you to contemplate the issue of identity in, and of, art: What is the "Asian-ness" in art and how does that make you reconsider and redefine your own personal and cultural identities?


To help you accomplish these goals step by step, our course is designed with four graded components each focusing on particular aspects of the learning goals:

Participation (20%)

Students are required to attend all sessions and actively participate in class discussions, group works, and other in-class activities. Consider participation to be the most crucial ingredient for success in this (and any) course because we will be covering important materials and developing essential skills during class time. Learning yields more efficient and beneficial results if done collectively and in communication with other participants.

Your attendance will be recorded and posted on Moodle and updated every week. If you are unable to attend a class synchronously (either in-person or remote), you must notify me in writing ahead of time and make up the missed class by watching the recording and submit a one-page (about 250 words) reflection on that class within a week. If you don't make up the missed class in time, you will be considered absent from that class.