Introduction to East Asian Traditions - ASIA3002

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module provides an historical introduction to the philosophical, religious and cultural traditions of East Asia. It will provide a foundation for understanding the historical development, key concepts and important practices of the major worldviews of East Asia with specific reference to traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto and other animist traditions.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Annotated Bibliography (1,000 words) – 30%
Essay (2,500 words) – 70%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Breen, J. and Teeuven, M. (2003) A Short History of Shinto, Oxford: Blackwell.
Cali, J. (2013) Shinto Shrines, University of Hawaii Press.
Harvey, P. (1990) An Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge: CUP.
Keown, D. (2013) Buddhism – A Very Short Introduction, (2nd edition) Oxford: OUP.
Littleton, C. S. (2002) Understanding Shinto, London: Duncan Baird.
Oldstone-Moore, Jennifer (2003) Understanding Confucianism: Origins, Beliefs, Practices, Holy Texts, Sacred Places, London: Duncan Baird.
Rainy, Lee Dian (2011) Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate an appreciation of the richness and diversity present within specific Asian traditions and civilisations;
Describe and articulate a key concept, idea, theme or practice relevant to an East Asian tradition;
Demonstrate an appreciation of the problems of translating Asian traditions and concepts into a western interpretive framework and language;
Demonstrate understanding of the broad historical development of specific Asian civilisations and traditions;
Apply a variety of methodological, hermeneutical, and historiographical perspectives relevant to the study of Asia.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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