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Majors & Minors

Major in East Asian Studies

The East Asian studies (EST) major is an interdisciplinary approach to the languages, deep history, and rich culture of this important part of the world.

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.

Study Abroad

Students who major in East Asian studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad and should ideally do so prior to their senior year. East Asian studies faculty advisors will determine major requirements fulfilled by study abroad courses on a case-by-case 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.

Division

The East Asian studies major can be used to fulfill either the humanities (H) or social sciences (S) divisional requirement.

In instances where students are waived from the language requirement (with EST faculty advisor approval) and 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 the seven courses) in the humanities (H) will fulfill the humanities divisional requirement. Students who complete at least four (out of the seven courses) in the social sciences (S) will fulfill the social sciences divisional requirement.

Courses will be assessed according to the parent department of the course. For example:

Humanities (H)

Social Sciences (S)

Modern Languages and Cultures
(CHI, JPN, KOR)

Anthropology (ANT)

Religion (REL)

History (HIS)

Requirements

Students in this major study Chinese, Japanese, or Korean for at least two full years, and they must take classes in at least three departments in order to achieve a broad and deep understanding of East Asia.

Note: For the purposes of this major, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean courses do not count as separate departments. Cross-listed courses will be considered according to the parent department of the course.

Prerequisites

Students must take one 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 the equivalent:

  • CHI 101: Elementary Chinese I and CHI 102: Elementary Chinese II
  • JPN 101: Elementary Japanese I and JPN 102: Elementary Japanese II
  • KOR 101: Elementary Korean I and KOR 102: Elementary Korean II

Note: Only two language courses can count toward the requirement for the major. Students who place out of the language requirement entirely must still complete a total of ten courses for the major.

Foundational Survey Courses (Three Courses)

Students must take 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 and 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: Atomic Creatures: Godzilla [?]
  • 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-Century 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

Advanced Language (Two Courses)

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

  • CHI 151: Intermediate Chinese I and CHI 152: Intermediate Chinese II
  • JPN 151: Intermediate Japanese I and JPN 152: Intermediate Japanese II
  • KOR 151: Intermediate Korean I and KOR 152: Intermediate Korean II

Note: Only two language courses can count toward the requirement for the major. Students who place out of the language requirement entirely must still complete a total of ten courses for the major.

Capstone (One Course)

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.

Electives (Four Courses)

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

Sample list of available electives:

  • 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 and 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

*Courses that appear both as foundational courses and elective courses.

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Students are required to take two upper-level writing courses. East Asian studies majors will fulfill one of these courses through their capstone but will need to take one additional upper-level writing course.  

Upper-level writing courses must be numbered 200-level or above and have will typically have a “W” designation.

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.