The program in East Asian Studies is dedicated to the study of civilizations, cultures, and contemporary importance of East Asia.
The rich cultural heritages and the political and economic significance of the region are covered by courses in anthropology, art history, history, government, literature, and religious studies. To achieve in-depth and critical understanding of East Asia, the East Asian Studies major combines the study of Chinese or Japanese language to the advanced intermediate level with breadth of coursework on East Asia taught in English. Majors typically further strengthen their Chinese or Japanese language skills by studying in China or Japan through an off-campus program. In addition to improving language skills and filling out the student's program in regionally specific courses, studying abroad in China or Japan enhances the students' academic program through firsthand cultural experience in East Asia.
Beginning with a foundation of introductory coursework in traditional and modern East Asian history, students gain an understanding of the basic historical development of East Asian political and cultural traditions. Students then draw from this historical knowledge in their subsequent seminars to analyze in depth how these traditions have evolved with modernization, and to examine contemporary areas of social change. Through a disciplinary focus as well as coursework that situates East Asia in a global context, majors also learn how to relate the relevance of the study of China, Japan, or South Korea to a broader international or academic context.
The major in East Asian Studies thus seeks to prepare students intellectually, linguistically, and personally for further graduate work or professional careers as East Asian specialists.