The Department of East Asian Studies supports an interdisciplinary program on the area of East Asia, particularly China and Japan. The significance of this region cannot be understated. East Asia plays a critical role in global political, economic, and cultural affairs, affecting the US government, military, corporations, NGOs and ordinary citizens in ways both obvious (the price of raw materials; the US military's presence in South Korea) and not obvious (the influence of Japanese films on Hollywood).
We offer three major tracks—East Asian studies, Chinese or Japanese—all of which build on a strong foundation of language study.
East Asian studies majors take Japanese language or Chinese language through the end of their second year, along with a range of courses on East Asian topics. Japanese or Chinese majors study language through the advanced level, in addition to a smaller set of topical courses.
Our program equips students with a broad range of skills and expertise applicable to careers in East Asia and beyond.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
EASN 120, History of East Asia from Ancient Times to the Present.
Most 200-level EASN topics courses are open to first-year students and all fulfill major and Global Diversity requirements. Students concerned about level of difficulty should check with instructors of specific courses.
All majors, whether East Asian Studies, Chinese, or Japanese, must complete the capstone courses EASN 480 and EASN 490
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: East Asian Studies.
Courses that fulfill distribution requirements
Humanities (Division I B):
EASN 201 & 203, Chinese Literature
EASN 202 & 203, Japanese Literature
EASN 205, Topics in East Asian Humanities
EASN 305, Colloquium in East Asian Humanities
Arts (Division I A):
EASN 108, Arts of East Asia
EASN 204, Topics in East Asian Cinema
EASN 205, Visual Cultures of Modern China
EASN 209, The Japanese Woodblock Print
Social Sciences (Division II):
EASN 206, Topics in East Asian Society
EASN 306, Colloquium on East Asian Society
EASN 236, Japanese Society
EASN 259, Law, Politics, and Society in Asia
EASN 310, Interpreting the Chinese Cultural Revolution
EASN 205, Chinese Approaches to the Environment, Traditional to Contemporary
EASN 206, Asian Urban Ecology
EASN 206, Looking Across the Pacific: Japanese and American Environmental History
EASN 206, Six East Asian Cities
EASN 206, US/China Relations
EASN 305, Nature and the Environment in Japanese Literature and Film
EASN 306, The Politics of Environmental Protection in Asia
Suggested curricular flow through the major
East Asian Studies Major
The EAS major is designed to ensure a strong foundation in East Asian civilization for on-campus course work and study abroad. To that end, four semesters of either Chinese or Japanese (through CHIN 202 or JPNS 202) are required. Students who enter the college with prior instruction in or knowledge of Chinese or Japanese may test out of this requirement or enroll in higher level language courses suitable to their needs. The purpose of language preparation and achievement is to prepare students for the option of spending one or two semesters abroad, normally during their junior year. Most students take this option at our partner institutions: Peking University or Yunnan University in China and Nanzan University or Akita International University in Japan.
Students normally begin their major with History of East Asia from Ancient Times to the Present (EASN120) and a selection of 200-level courses during their first and sophomore years while they are taking Japanese or Chinese. Students are required to complete two elective courses in both the humanities (including at least one literature course) and social sciences, along with one additional elective in either (or an advanced language course). EAS students must also take at least one 300-level course in preparation for the research and independent study at the core of the department’s capstone courses, Critical Dialogues in East Asian Studies (EASN 480) and Senior Research (EASN 490). EASN 480 and EASN 490 are offered in the fall and spring of a student’s senior year, respectively. Students must also take at least one course on an East Asia country that is not the focus of their language instruction. Here is a guide to the kinds of suggested courses a typical EAS major takes during the four years:
First and Sophomore Years
Chinese or Japanese language courses through 202
EASN 120 or EASN 101
At least two 200-level courses in the humanities and/or social sciences
Study abroad for one or two semesters in Japan or China
Additional 200-level electives and requirements
300-level course during the fall semester (if not already taken)
Complete 200-level courses in line with plans for completing the major requirements
Complete EASN 480 in the fall in preparation for the EASN 490 research seminar in the spring
Honors within the major is determined by the quality of the senior thesis, which must display outstanding writing and analytical skills, and mastery of the research subject and its context. In addition to the written thesis, honors in East Asian Studies takes into account GPA within the major, overall GPA, the oral presentation of the thesis project, and the fielding of questions, but is neither precluded nor guaranteed by them. On the basis of a composite of these factors, the East Asian Studies faculty may decide to award honors to deserving students. Students interested in honors are encouraged to talk to their advisors no later than fall pause of their senior year for guidance to help them craft a thesis project able to meet the standards. Students who receive honors will be notified before the Thursday preceding graduation.
Related activities: East Asian Studies offers films and lectures that are coordinated with the core courses, but which are open to the entire community, often in cooperation with the participating departments.
Other events include field trips, food preparation, and celebrating various Asian holidays and festivals. EAS also supports club activities and Clarke Forum events.
The East Asian Studies Department supports the Aesthetic Club (includes the Japanese tea ceremony and Bonsai, and Ikebana arrangement) and is affiliated with the Chinese Student and Scholar Association and Asian Pacific Association. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EASNdickinsoncollege
The Majors Committee plays an active role in the work of the East Asian Studies department. Committee members help organize and promote a wide variety of departmental programs and events. They also meet with and help to evaluate job candidates, and gather information and advise the department when faculty are being considered for contract renewal, tenure, and promotion.