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Department of Asian Studies

 

Introduction

 

Currently, there are 8 study programs implemented at the first, second and third degree level. At the first degree level (undergraduate study program), the following study programs are implemented: single and double major Japanese studies, single major sinology and double major Cultures of East Asia with two courses: sinology and Korean studies. At the second degree level (master's degree), the following study programs are implemented: single and double major Japanese studies and single major sinology. At the third degree level (PhD studies), we offer Asian and African studies within the interdisciplinary study program Humanities and Social Sciences at the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Ljubljana.

 

Our department also publishes two professsional scientific journals, Asian Studies (previously Asian and African Studies) and Acta Linguistica Asiatica. The first journal has been published since 1997 and represents the first most important periodical publication in the field of East Asian studies in Slovenia. In 2011, it was joined by Acta Linguistica Asiatica dedicated to linguistic issues, translation and didactics of East Asian languages. Both journals are highly quoted in the international academic world.

 

Within the department, four research centers were founded: the Chinese Center, the Japanese Center, the Taiwan Center and the Korean Center which further support scientific research and pedagogical activities of the department. At the same time, the department and the Faculty of Arts together with the Faculty of Social Sciences co-founded the Research Center for East Asia (EARL) representing central repository for published and digital resources from East Asia.

 

History od the Department

 

The Department of Asian Studies (previously Department of Asian and African Studies) was founded in 1995 at the Faculty of Arts, the University of Ljubljana. Its founders were professor Andrej Bekeš, expert on Japanese studies, and sinologists professor Jan S. Rošker and professor Mitja Saje. Professor Andrej Bekeš is an internationally recognized expert on Japanese linguistics and a connoisseur of broader social and cultural specificity of the Japanese society. Professor Jana S. Rošker is a leading and internationally recognized expert on Chinese philosophy and methodology of intercultural research while professor Mitja Saje is a leading expert on Chinese history and political and economic system of the People's Republic of China. As the founders of new disciplines, sinology and Japanese studies, in Slovenia, they were also initiators of scientific and cultural cooperation with China, Japan and Taiwan, in recent years also with Korea.  

 

The enforcement of these completely new, for Slovenia extremely important scientific disciplines, made a great contribution to the enlargement of the study programs at the Faculty of Arts and a pioneering establishment of academic programs which by means of interdisciplinary methodological approaches to introducing culture, history, philosophy, sociology, language, mentality and political system of the Chinese and Japanese world enabled Slovenian public an insight into the East Asian cultural space. With many years of continuous  activity, they noticably contributed to successful activity and general recognition of the University of Ljubljana not only in Slovenia but also on a global scale. With their help, the University of Ljubljana namely made numerous cooperation agreements with the most prestigious Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean universities.

 

Ever since its establishment, there are two chairs at the department: chair for sinology and chair for Japanese studies offering study programs in the field of Chinese and Japanese studies. The name of the department alone indicated plans for additonal areas (African, Korean studies and indology). Though the ideas associated with African studies – due to objective conditions and absence of adequate staff – were abandoned and therefore African studies were crossed off the name of the department, in recent years, plans for establishing a chair for Korean studies began to materialize. Since 2003/2004, the department has been already offering a beginner and continuing lectorship for Korean language and writing, but in 2015/2016, also a study program Korean studies was introduced within the double major program Cultures of East Asia. Furthermore, since 2009 the department opened the door to the languages and culture of India: at the beginning, this was Sanskrit with culture of classical India soon joined by a lectorship for Hindi. In the last two years, we also support a lectorship for the Persian language and introduction to Iranian studies.

 

As a whole, the Department of Asian Studies was conceived interdisciplinary and as such is based on methodology of intercultural research. The central goal of study and research programs is in a systematic multidisciplinary approach to the cultures and languages of Asia, particularly of East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) and the Indian subcontinent, and consequently going beyond rigid frames of individual disciplines what enables critical understanding of the main cultural determinants of the mentioned regions in their social context.

Such goals are especially important for the development of Slovenian social sciences and humanities due to the increasing relevance of these regions (particularly East Asian) within global political, economic, cultural and scientific processes. The department also strives all the time for broader and more integrated approaches to East Asian studies, since a modern, to the current moment appropriate handling of these regions can help to surpass narrow-minded, nationally conditioned views on Asian languages, cultures, social realities and their histories.

 

Besides pedagogical work, there are within national and international programs and projects various research activities taking place at the department such as organization of international conferences and symposiums, summer schools, diverse workshops and guest lectures. Among  them, we would like to hihglight specifically the organization of conferences of the three largest international associations for Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese studies (EACS conference – European Association for Chinese Studies took place in September 2006; EATS conference – European Association for Taiwanese Studies took place in May 20011; EAJS conference –European Association for Japanese Studies took place in August 2014; EAAA conference – European Association for Asian Art and Archeology will take place in September 2020). At the same time, within the newly established academic association called Specific Topics of Chinese Studies (STCS) established by professor Jana Rošker and professor Nataša  Vampelj Suhadolnik, we organized also five international conferences which achieved great interest and success. Within the department, both professors also initiated two academic associatons for international research connecting international experts on Chinese philosophy (EACP – European Association for Chinese Philosophy) and Asian art and archeology (EAAA – European Association for Asian Art and Archeology).

 

Our department also publishes two professional scientific journals, Asian Studies (previously Asian and African Studies) and Acta Linguistica Asiatica. The first journal has been published since 1997 and represents the first most important periodical publication in the field of East Asian studies in Slovenia. In 2011, it was joined by Acta Linguistica Asiatica dedicated to linguistic issues, translation and didactics of Eat Asian languages. Both journals are highly quoted in the international academic world.

Within the department, four research centers were established: the Chinese Center, the Japanese Center, the Taiwan Center and the Korean Center which further support scientific research and pedagogical activities of the department. Their fundamental activities include participation in national and international projects, obtaining additional funding for research projects, encouragement of academic activities such as exchange of students, teachers and researchers, participation in research, organization of workshops, seminars, conferences, cultural events (art exhibitions, music concerts, movie nights, workshops) and other activities.

 

At the same time, the department and the Faculty of Arts together with the Faculty of Social Sciences co-founded the Research Center for East Asia (EARL) representing central repository for published and digital resources from East Asia, ensuring the availability of resources throuh various Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean databases contributed and financed by partner institutions. EARL organizes public events (lectures, presentations, round-table discussions) focusing on topics important for partners as well as for the Slovenian and international public. Currently, EARL comprises four departments: Korean Department, Japanese Department, Taiwan Research Center for Sinology and Chinese Department Reading Beijing.