From the Director

Catherine Yeh, Director of the Center for the Study of Asia
Catherine Yeh, Director of the Center for the Study of Asia

Welcome to the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia! The importance of Asia as an economic force has been widely acknowledged in the last few decades. Asia as a cultural force, however, still needs to be understood; its rich culture and cultural vitality are key elements of this region’s past and are also powerful driving forces in Asian society today. To help promote greater understanding of Asian peoples and of Asia as a cultural sphere, we have worked since our foundation in July 2008 to serve our community of scholars and students with a rich program of on-campus events, and have offered to BU faculty our support for collaborative research ventures within and outside the university. The Center is part of a thriving greater Boston community with strong ties to other local universities, the wider Boston community, nonprofit organizations and private entities working on Asia, as well as government agencies and NGO’s based in Asia.

To highlight Asia as a cultural force and to focus on crucial issues that animate Asia today, each year BUCSA chooses a theme around which to develop a chain of events throughout the academic year. The annual theme for 2017-2018 is Asia’s Cultural Heritage. Through a wide variety of events and exhibitions, we will highlight four aspects of Asian cultural life: The Art of Letters, the Art of Light, the Art of Ritual, and the Art of Movement and Sound. Our events in all four of these areas are designed to engage with the BU community to deepen our appreciation and awareness of Asian cultural traditions as they unfold in all of their richness and diversity. The events will highlight different Asian cultural traditions, their interactions, and their impact at BU and in Western societies. While there is much to celebrate, we aim also to raise awareness of the increasing threats to both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Asia, as well as international collaborative efforts to protect this heritage for future generations.

We hope our annual theme this year will bring together faculty as well as students and student organizations to work together to promote and create new projects that highlight Asia’s Cultural Heritage. We will continue to engage on multiple fronts to serve our community and develop outreach programs. For this we are thankful for the continuing support of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and for exciting and impactful collaborations with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, Middle East and North African studies (, the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) (, the Center for the Study of Europe, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the BU Center for the Humanities, and the BU Arts Initiative (, together with other centers and institutes, and all of Boston University’s schools and colleges.

I invite you to learn more about BUCSA and about the study of Asia at Boston University by exploring our webpage and subscribing to our Weekly Asian Studies Newsletter. We hope you will take advantage of our classes and events to join our vibrant community! Keep in touch!


Catherine Vance Yeh