Contemporary Asian Studies

As a student in the Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies (CAS), you’ll learn from world-leading scholars of East, Southeast, and South Asia about the links between Asia’s diverse histories and cultures and the region’s evolving role in global affairs.

Our emphasis on experiential learning allows you to engage with Asia through research, travel, and collaboration. You’ll develop the foundational knowledge, skills, and connections to launch your career and build a lasting community.

Students during ITAC field research
Student ITAC presentations
students at CASSU event
CASSU executive team
Participants in the Global Careers through Asia Conference

Transform your understanding of the world and your place within it

  • The CAS program trains you to comprehend Asia’s roles in new global dynamics
  • You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the region and localities within it, while exploring the complex webs that connect local sites to contemporary global issues
  • Choose from a variety of courses that examine colonialism, modernity, youth cultures, cities, nationalism and revolution, research methodologies and more, through a pan-Asian, multidisciplinary lens
  • Design and carry out your own research in Asia with opportunities like the Richard Charles Lee Insights through Asia Challenge 
  • Our grads have gone on to careers in every field imaginable – the pan-Asian expertise and critical perspective you gain through CAS have universal value
Students celebrate at a conference.
Students clapping during ITAC presentations.

Meet your professors

Core Faculty

Francis Cody
  • CAS201H1: Global Asian Studies: Insights and Concepts
Lynette Ong
  • CAS490H: Politics of China and Democracy in Asia
  • JPA331H: Rise of China as a Global Power
  • JPA453H: Authoritarianism in Comparative Perspective

Appointed Faculty

Sessional Lecturers

Bharat Punjabi headshot

Bharat Punjabi, Lecturer, Asian Institute

  • CAS370H1: Asian Cities
  • SAS318H1: Colonialism and Tradition
Dylan Clark headshot

Dylan Clark, Lecturer, Asian Institute

  • CAS200H1: Introduction to Contemporary Asian Studies
  • CAS202H1: Global Asian Studies: Sites and Practices
  • CAS350H1: Asian Youth Cultures
  • CAS360H1: Asian Genders
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Aparna Sundar, Lecturer, Asian Institute

  • CAS320H1: Comparative Modernities in Asia

Special Topics Courses 2023-24

CAS390H1S: Asian Digital Network Practicum

Winter 2024, Wednesday 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Instructor: Dr. Dylan Clark, Lecturer, Asian Institute

Students are connected with a digital practicum placement in partnership with local, national, or international not-for-profits or governmental organizations connected to Asia. Students work in teams of 2-5 students, and help partner organizations address key issues they identify. Student teams work actively on strengthening on-line networks with partner organizations, while developing mutual mentoring, critique, and exchange with the organizations. Students are expected to invest 5-7 hours per week in course projects, in addition to class time. Students are expected to help teammates, advise other teams, and contribute their skills and talents to their community partners. The course will emphasize how groups can work together to contribute to extending, learning from, and contributing to transnational networks that bridge the University of Toronto and a range of partners throughout Asia.

Image of Hui Wen Zheng
Meet Hui Wen Zheng, who travelled to Shenzhen and Hong Kong to conduct original research

Student groups

2023 CASSU exec team.

Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union

The Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union (CASSU) is the undergraduate course union for the Contemporary Asian Studies program at the University of Toronto. Follow CASSU on Instagram to learn about their upcoming events and opportunities, and contact them at

2023 Synergy team.

Synergy: The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies

Synergy is an undergraduate academic journal with a regional focus on East, Southeast, and South Asia founded at the Asian Institute. The journal regularly publishes academic submissions and organizes events. Learn more and visit the Synergy Journal website. 


Areas of focus - Victor Dementiev/Unsplash


Program Administrator & Communications Officer, Asian Institute