The Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment at Vassar College

About LIASE                                                                                                                                 

Funded by Luce Initiative of Asia and Environment (LIASE) with supplemental grants from Vassar, Vassar college LIASE program organizes a series of activities to promote the understanding of Asia in environmental studies.  This includes annual summer research workshop in China for collaboration between Chinese and American environmental scientists and students, summer language scholarship to encourage science students to learn Chinese, curriculum workshop to infuse Asian environmental content into existing science, social science, and humanity courses and new course development, students conferences featuring their work, visits of Chinese scholars to Vassar, and others. The grant period is from Sept. 2017-Sept. 2021.

Our Mission:

  • Expand engagement and deepen research and teaching collaboration between Chinese and American environmental faculty and students.
  • Provide infrastructure and opportunities for Asian and American scholars from our partner institutions and other LIASE grantee colleges to learn from each other.
  • Promote curricular innovation by injecting East Asia-related subjects into our Environmental Studies courses and providing incentives for Asian Studies and language courses to increase their environmental content.

Vassar LIASE Summer Workshop Documentary 2017-2018

Vassar LIASE China Study Trip Documentary 2016

Asian Studies at Vassar

The Asian Studies Program at Vassar is one of the College’s first multidisciplinary programs.  Established in 1965 with six participating members, it has grown into a vibrant program with a distinguished faculty of twenty-two specialists from twelve departments. The program provides a rich curriculum for students to study both the traditional societies and cultures of Asia and their transformations in recent times. It also plays a vital role in infusing the study of Asia across Vassar’s curriculum.

Please visit for more information.

Environmental Studies at Vassar

The Environmental Studies (ENST) major is designed around the guiding principle that, at a liberal arts college, the study of the environment should involve all areas of the curriculum. At the same time, we believe that such a major develops best from a deep knowledge of individual disciplines.  ENST majors have their disciplinary homes all over the campus, for any Vassar department, from Biology to Art, may provide a concentration. Knowledge of the natural sciences and their methods is an important part of any study of the environment, therefore all ENST majors reach at least the intermediate level in Biology, Chemistry, or Earth Science. This perspective is then complemented by a disciplinary focus in either the arts and humanities or the social sciences. When ENST students come together in the program’s own multidisciplinary courses, they share their diverse disciplinary perspectives and, at the same time, learn how their different forms of knowledge gather around the field of environmental studies.

Please visit for more information.