Historical bakground of the Master

The “South and East Asia” Master’s degree (Asie Méridionale et Orientale – AMO) was created in 2005-2006 by Jean-Claude Galey (Professor of Anthropology affiliated with the CEIAS) following the application at the EHESS of the national reform of university degrees. Its aim was to provide a demanding student body with the opportunity to train as specialists in a cultural area while acquiring disciplinary expertise in the field of social sciences. Previously, no organization of higher education in France had offered a comparable program. During its first 10 years, this Master’s degree, which remains unique in France to this day, maintained a strong focus on research through three units (all funded by the CNRS and the EHESS): the Center for South Asian Studies (CEIAS), the Center for Studies on China, Korea and Japan (CCJ) and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE).

True to its vocation since its creation, the AMO Master’s degree organized and offered EHESS students a pedagogical program aimed at deepening their understanding of the current dynamics as well as the history of each of the great civilizations of Asia. The training program aimed to provide them with: in M1, the prerequisites necessary for a comparative knowledge of the five major Asian areas (India, China, Central Asia, continental and insular Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan); in M1 and M2, the command of methods specific to a given discipline, without neglecting the openness provided by a multidisciplinary approach. Since its inception, the training program has focused on systematizing a common-core course, “Asies,” which was required for M1 students and new entrants at the M2 level.

Starting in fall 2016, several lecturers and researchers from the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan, and Central Asian Studies (CETOBAC) joined the teaching team of this common core curriculum and made their research findings available to students. In addition, the involvement of scholars from the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO) increased at the same time, with the relocation of the common-core course “Asies” from the EHESS to the Maison de l’Asie, the EFEO’s headquarters in Paris.

These various transformations of the AMO Master’s degree over the past years have led us to formalize the expansion of its institutional scope through the opening of a new Master’s degree in “Asian Studies” in collaboration with the EFEO and the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), as well as the Université PSL: this new Master’s degree in Asian Studies. The range of seminars and courses now available within it is extensive; nearly 150 seminars directly related to the field of Asian Studies are listed here and made accessible to our students.


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