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Undergraduate Programs

Major in East Asian Studies

The East Asian Studies major is an interdisciplinary approach to the languages, deep history, and rich culture of this important part of the world. Students in this major study Chinese, Japanese, or Korean for at least two full years, and they must take classes in at least three—and they can take classes in four—departments in order to achieve a broad and deep understanding of East Asia.

Students begin their study of East Asia by taking three introductory courses, arranged historically, on the literature, history, religions, visual culture, and other foundational aspects of the region.

For their advanced-level work, students choose four courses from a wide variety of offerings dealing with China, Japan, and Korea. These courses complement their understanding of East Asian history and culture through specialized material covering topics such as Chinese society after Mao; the two Koreas; the culture of Zen; anime; and women and religion in East Asia.

East Asian Studies can be completed either as a humanities or as a social sciences major. See below for instructions on divisional requirements. Students who major in East Asian Studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad.

Students who complete the major in East Asian Studies will have a broad knowledge of the major historic developments, cultures, literary and artistic expressions, philosophies, religions, and economies and politics of the region. They will be able to synthesize their knowledge of the region across disciplinary perspectives, and they will have an intermediate-level proficiency in either Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Students must take East Asian Studies courses from at least 3 different departments to satisfy the requirements for the major. Cross-listed courses will be considered according to their original parent department.

(Note that for purposes of this major: CHI, JPN, and KOR do not count as separate departments.) Cross-listed courses will be considered according to the parent department of the course.

Divisional Requirements:

The East Asian Studies major may be used to fulfill either the Humanities (H) or Social Sciences (S) divisional requirement.

East Asian Studies consists of ten credited courses. The four credits of required EST 391W “EST Advanced Studies” will be counted as neutral; the two language courses that count toward the major are considered neutral for the purposes of this major. In instances where students are waived from the language requirement and - with EST faculty advisor approval - substitute other course(s) in its place, the substitute course(s) will follow the divisional designation of the parent department of the substitute course(s).  The substitute courses may be included in determining the divisional area of the major.

Not including EST 391W and two intermediate-level or above language courses required by the major, the remaining seven courses determine the divisional area of the major. Students who complete four or more courses in a particular division will satisfy the division.  Students who complete at least four courses (out of of the seven courses) in the Humanities (H) will fulfill the Humanities requirement. Students who complete at least four (out of the seven courses) in the Social Sciences (S) will fulfill the Social Science requirement. Courses will be assessed according to the parent department of the course. For example:

Humanities (H)Social Sciences (S)
Modern Languages & Cultures
(courses denoted by CHI & JPN)
Anthropology (ANT)
Religion (REL)History (HIS)

Overlap Policy:

East Asian Studies major policy: No more than 3 courses may overlap between this major and another major, and 2 courses between this major and another minor.

Study Abroad: 

Students who major in East Asian Studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad.  The best time for EST students to study abroad is prior to the senior year.  East Asian Studies faculty advisors will determine major requirements fulfilled by study abroad courses on a case-by-base basis. Students may need to work with specific departments regarding course equivalencies, especially for any course being used to satisfy language requirements. Please secure course approvals prior to departure.

Prerequisites:

Students must take 1 year of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean language courses prior to declaring the East Asian Studies major. Traditionally, students take one of the following sequences or equivalent:

CHI 101: Elementary Chinese I
CHI 102: Elementary Chinese II

JPN 101: Elementary Japanese I
JPN 102: Elementary Japanese II

KOR 101: Elementary Korean I
KOR 102: Elementary Korean II

10 courses total, with the following requirements (see I, II, III, IV, V below)

I. Three foundational survey courses (one each from the A, B, and C groups):

Group A: Pre-Modern East Asia

  • CHI 214 Dream of the Red Chamber
  • CHI 216 Writing Discontentment
  • CHI 219 Monsters, Ghosts, Fairies, and Gods
  • HIS 142 Traditional China
  • JPN 210 Traditional Japanese Literature & Culture
  • JPN 217 Traditional Japanese Literature
  • REL 105 Asian Search for Self
  • REL 106 From Confucius to Zen
  • REL 174 Chinese Religions

Group B: Modern East Asia

  • CHI 217 20th Century Literatures of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
  • HIS 143 Modern China
  • HIS 145 Modern Japan
  • HIS 342W Rich China, Poor China 
  • JPN 211 Modern Japanese Literature in Translation
  • JPN 214 Atmoic Creatures
  • JPN 219/JPN 219W Tourist Japan
  • JPN 254 The Rises and Falls of Modern Japanese Literature

Group C: Contemporary East Asia

  • ANT 257 Chinese Society After Mao
  • CHI 222 Gender, Sexuality, and Desire in 20th Chinese Literature
  • CHI 223 Memory, Meaning, and Forging New Futures in Post-Mao Literature*
  • JPN 293 Life and Anime
  • REL 175 Religion and Chinese Society

II. One additional year of language training:

This may include one of the following sequences or something equivalent:

CHI 151: Intermediate Chinese I
CHI 152: Intermediate Chinese II

JPN 151: Intermediate Japanese I
JPN 152: Intermediate Japanese II

KOR 151: Intermediate Korean I
KOR 152: Intermediate Korean II

Note: Students who place out of lower-level language courses must demonstrate language proficiency equivalent to or better than completion of CHI 152, JPN 152, or KOR 152 in order to have this requirement waived. Students are encouraged to study abroad and to continue studying a language to advanced levels, but only 2 language courses may count toward the total 10-course requirement for the major. Students who place out of the language requirement entirely must still complete a total of ten courses for the major.

III. Required Capstone Experience: EST 391W 'EST Advanced Studies' (total of four credit hours)

EST 391W 'EST Advanced Studies' is designed as a capstone experience – students should contact their East Asian Studies faculty advisor to discuss an appropriate instructor for the capstone experience. This capstone course will be counted as neutral for the purposes of the East Asian Studies major, and requires an independent study course form to register for the course.

IV. Four electives:

The same course cannot be used both as a foundation core course and an elective course.

Sample List of Available Electives (*denotes courses that appear both as foundational courses and elective courses):

  • *ANT 257 Chinese Society After Mao
  • *CHI 214 Dream of the Red Chamber
  • *CHI 216 Writing Discontentment
  • *CHI 217 Survey on 20th Century Literatures of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
  • *CHI 219 Monsters, Ghosts, Fairies, and Gods
  • *CHI 222 Gender, Sexuality, and Desire in 20th Century Chinese Literature
  • *CHI 223 Memory, Meaning, and Forging New Futures in Post-Mao Literature
  • HIS 245 Tibet: History and Myth
  • HIS 247/247W The Korean War
  • HIS 248/248W The Samurai
  • HIS 340W Modernity through East Asian Eyes
  • *HIS 342W Rich China, Poor China
  • *JPN 210W Traditional Japanese Literature & Culture
  • *JPN 214 Atomic Creatures: Godzilla
  • JPN 219/219W Tourist Japan
  • JPN 274 Modern Japanese Women Writers
  • JPN 285 Akira Kurosawa
  • JPN 294 Hayao Miyazaki and Planet Ghibli

V. Upper-level Writing Requirement:

All East Asian Studies majors are required to have two upper-level writing courses. 

For the purposes of the East Asian Studies major, an upper-level writing course must be numbered 200-level and above.

Four credit hours of EST 391W 'EST Advanced Studies' is required for all East Asian Studies majors, and counts as one of the two upper-level writing courses.

As a general guideline, each upper-level writing experience should generate at least 25 pages of expository prose, with substantial feedback on content and form, and revision of the work. The 25 pages may be in the form of a single paper or a series of smaller papers. 

Upper-level writing courses should be selected in consultation with an East Asian Studies faculty advisor. A notation should be made on the student’s major declaration form indicating the second course that is being used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. If a course has a W section: Students must register for the W section in order to receive credit for upper-level writing.