Today, East Asia is one of the most dynamic regions of the world, characterized by rapid industrial development, urbanization, and social change. East Asia has rich histories of ancient civilizations, complex literatures and art forms, and sophisticated religious and philosophical traditions. The region has developed unique forms of modernity and different and extensive economic networks long before contact with the West.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies offers the essential tools to delve deep into these complex cultures of China, Japan, and Korea. We teach the languages and scripts of East Asia. We offer our students ways to think about the experience of modernity, colonialism, nationalism, and state formation, and how they relate to traditional cultures. We train our students in techniques to discover old and new literatures and arts as well as introducing them to films, media, and popular culture. We discuss the religious traditions (including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism) and intellectual discourses (including political thought and the sciences) that have shaped visions of the world and the everyday life in East Asia for centuries; some have been rejected during modernization, but some are still alive and part of East Asian cultures.
Anthropological, artistic, historical, literary, philosophic, religious, and sociological analyses of the forces of both indigenous and global cultures (in areas such as literatures, art history, music and performing arts, tourism, popular culture, and religion) are central to our teaching mission. Our program has a remarkable fullness and depth, and our strength is in the blend of humanities and social sciences, modern and pre-modern, and various approaches of cultural analysis. We believe that opening our student's minds to East Asia in critical and substantive ways will equip them well for the more global and, most certainly, more "Asian" world we live in.