London Global Gateway offers first Asia-focused course

Author: Liu Institute

London Philosophy Image

Notre Dame students studying abroad in London in the spring have the opportunity to enroll in the first Asia-focused course offered at the London Global Gateway.

Lana Ko

East Asian Ways of Life: Philosophy and Practice (PHIL 24432/ASIA 24432) will be taught by adjunct instructor Lana Ko, who holds a doctorate from SOAS, University of London, in early Chinese thought and bodily practice. The course fulfills Notre Dame’s second philosophy requirement and also counts as an elective for the supplementary major or minor in Asian Studies.

“We will approach philosophy as ways of life dreamt and lived by East Asian thinkers,” Ko said. “Throughout the course, we will explore core questions and challenges that have been raised in the history of East Asian philosophy—What is the Way (dao)? Is it possible to become a sage or transcendent? How can we cultivate our body and mind to manifest the Way? Can the practice of arts re/present the Way?

“We will learn how each tradition and thinker—Confucians, Daoists and Buddhists—conducted their life by trying to answer these questions.”

London is a superb setting for the course, said Jonathan Noble, interim director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and senior assistant provost of Internationalization. 

“London, as a highly diverse and multicultural city, has been significantly influenced by Asian culture, thought, commerce, and other areas,” Noble said. “As such, London is a wonderful place to learn about Asia and its diaspora, and this philosophy course will offer students important perspectives and opportunities that will enrich their study abroad experience.”

East Asian Ways of Life starts with basic concepts that run through the history of East Asian philosophy and introduces the major traditions of Confucian, Daoism and Buddhism. Students will explore the application of philosophy in a wider cultural context by examining arts particular to East Asian context. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to bring comparative aspects with other philosophical traditions, either from the West or from India.

The course has been developed through support by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies as well as Notre Dame International’s London Global Gateway and the University of Notre Dame Department of Philosophy.

"A Lofty Scholar Contemplating Water" by Kang Hui-an (1417-1464) is printed by permission from the National Museum of Korea. 

Originally published by Liu Institute at on November 29, 2021.