About the Major
The East Asian Studies Program challenges the student to understand China, Korea and Japan through the rigors of language study and the analytical tools of various academic disciplines. This process demands both broad exposure to different subjects and a focused perspective on a particular feature of the East Asian landscape. Japan, Korea;and China are related yet distinctive civilizations. Each has its own traditions and patterns of development. These traditions have played an important role in the development of culture around the globe and remain formative influences today.
Students interested in East Asian studies will be guided by the expectations for liberal learning at Wesleyan and by the program's interdisciplinary approach. Language, literature, history, and the sophomore colloquium provide the common core of our program. The colloquium will expose students to a wide variety of intellectual approaches to East Asian studies and will thereby provide a foundation for the student to focus in more depth on particular areas.
Prospective majors are urged to start their language and history courses early in their Wesleyan careers. This will leave more time for study abroad and for more meaningful work in the concentration of the student's choice. To help students chart their way, the program faculty has designed the programs of study listed below. Admission to the major requires approval of the program chair and designation of an East Asian studies academic advisor. Before deciding on a specific course of study, students must consult with their academic advisor in East Asian studies.
The East Asian studies major requires seven courses, plus language, plus study abroad, and a capstone.
All East Asian studies majors are expected to complete three core courses and four additional courses in their specific concentrations. Students will be responsible for keeping up-to-date their Major Requirements Worksheets (in their electronic portfolios) in consultation with their advisors. At the end of the junior year, all majors will be expected to fill out a senior project planning form-to be signed by the project advisor, the student, and the department chair. These forms are due at the Freeman Center office by the end of April.
Core courses: Each East Asian studies major is expected to take EAST201, our sophomore colloquium, as well as one survey course on traditional Chinese culture or history and one survey course on traditional Japanese history and culture. The goal is to ensure that each East Asian studies major is firmly anchored in the classical texts and key events that shaped the development of East Asian cultures before the 19th century.
The courses that count toward the traditional Japan requirement are:
- ALIT209 Japan's "Others"
- ALIT210 From Tea to Connecticut Rolls: Defining Japanese Culture Through Food
- ARHA283 The Traditional Arts of Japan
- HIST260 Intro to Japanese History
The courses that count toward the traditional China requirement are:
- ALIT211 The Chinese Canon and Its Afterlife
- ALIT212 Gender Issues in Chinese Literature and Culture
- ALIT225 Introduction to Chinese Poetry
- ALIT234 Representations of Men, Women, and Gender in China
- ARHA281 The Traditional Arts of China
- HIST223 History of Traditional China
- HIST308 The Jewish Experience in China: From Kaifeng in the Song Dynasty to Shanghai During the Holocaust
- PHIL205 Classical Chinese Philosophy
- PHIL259 Neo-Confucian Chinese Phil
- PHIL341 Confucianism and Virtue Ethics
Art History and Art. One art history seminar dealing with theory and method, to be chosen from:
Three additional courses dealing primarily East Asian art
- ARHA358 Style and Stylistic Change: Creativity and the Recurrent Problem of Reaching an Audience in the Arts
- ARHA360 Museum Studies
Language, Literature, and Film. One literature or film theory or methodology course (which may or may not be an EAST class), plus three additional courses in East Asian literature or film; this may include one class on Asian American literature or film. One semester of advanced language (beyond the four required semesters) may be counted as one of these three classes. It is also highly recommended that students additionally take at least one course in non-East Asian literature or film.
Music. A concentration in music emphasizes both the academic and performance approaches. Four courses are required:
Two required academic courses on East Asian music, such as:
- MUSC261/EAST268 Music and Modernity in China, Japan, and Korea
- Two East Asian music performance courses, such as:
- MUSC413/EAST413 Korean Drumming Ensemble-Beginning
- MUSC414/EAST414 Korean Drumming Ensemble-Advanced I
- MUSC415/EAST415 Korean Drumming Ensemble-Advanced II
- MUSC416/EAST416 Beginning Taiko-Japanese Drumming
- MUSC417/EAST417 Intermediate Taiko-Japanese Drumming
- MUSC418/EAST418 Advanced Taiko-Japanese Drumming
- MUSC428/EAST428 Chinese Music Ensemble
- MUSC405 Music lessons for koto or shamisen-with approval from faculty advisor
- With faculty advisor approval, one of these required four courses can be replaced by one course on East Asian art, film, history, literature, philosophy, or religion (beyond the core requirements).
History. Students are expected to take at least one course in historiography (such as HIST362 Issues in Contemporary Historiography), two additional courses on the histories of China or Japan, as well as a course on the history of an area outside of East Asia for comparison.
Philosophy and Religion. Students are expected to take one core East Asian philosophy or religion course:
- PHIL205 Classical Chinese Philosophy
- RELI242 Buddhism: An Introduction
Two courses in philosophy and religion that have a substantial component on East Asia, and one course in either the history of Western philosophy or the religious tradition of a non-East Asian culture.
Political Economy. Students are expected to take one methods course, from among:
- ECON101 Introduction to Economics
- ECON110 Introduction to Economic Theory
- GOVT155 International Politics
- GOVT157 Democracy and Dictatorship: Politics in the Contemporary World
Three more courses in economics or government that have a substantial component on East Asia.
All East Asian studies majors are expected to study abroad to develop their language competency and acquire a more concrete grasp of a specific East Asian cultural context. This requirement may be fulfilled through a semester or, preferably, one year in an approved program. The study-abroad requirement may also be fulfilled through two summers abroad. These two summers may be spent in language study (in an approved program) and/or by carrying out a structured and preapproved research project in an East Asian country, supervised by a member of the East Asian studies faculty.
All majors must complete a written or (with approval) creative project during their senior year. This should involve the use of East Asian language materials to the extent that the students' preparation permits. There are several ways in which this requirement can be fulfilled:
- Write a substantial essay, focusing on East Asia, as assigned in a regular class. The instructor must approve of this project and may suggest revisions as needed. Similarly, faculty approval is required also for a creative project done in the context of a class or as a tutorial. If the class instructor is not an East Asian studies faculty member, the essay or the creative arts project must be approved by the student's East Asian studies advisor. Please note that this class can simultaneously fulfill other requirements.
- Write a one-semester senior essay in a tutorial, preferably given by an East Asian studies faculty member. The tutorial may be for a full credit or for 0.5 credit.
- Write a senior thesis, typically in a two-semester tutorial with an East Asian studies faculty member.
- Furthermore, each student will be expected to present his or her research at a poster presentation toward the end of the spring semester of the senior year. This presentation is in addition to and apart from the actual research project.
To qualify for departmental honors, the student must complete a thesis, perform a concert, or mount an exhibition or related project under the supervision of a faculty member of the East Asian Studies Program. Responsibility for overseeing the senior project rests with the tutor.The evaluation committee for each honors candidate is comprised of the tutor, a faculty member from the program, and a Wesleyan faculty member outside the program. The committee is to be selected by the tutor and program chair. For high honors, all three readers have to recommend the thesis for a grade of A- or higher.
East Asian studies majors are expected to reach a minimum of intermediate level competency in the language of their field. Majors who are native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean are expected to study another East Asian language. All students need to maintain a grade of B or above by the time they reach intermediate level competency. All students must take a minimum of four semesters of East Asian language courses; this may mean being required to take language classes beyond the intermediate level. Evaluation of an individual student's language competence will be undertaken by the relevant language coordinator, who will also determine how language courses not taken at Wesleyan count toward this requirement.
- Questions about Chinese should be addressed to the Chinese language coordinator, Prof. Xiaomiao Zhu. Questions about Japanese should be addressed to the Japanese language coordinator, Prof. Etsuko Takahashi. Questions about Korean should be addressed to Prof. Hyejoo Back.
- Please note that intermediate-level competence is not automatically satisfied by completion of second-year Korean because of the nonintensive nature of our courses. Please contact the chair if you have questions.
- The Mansfield Freeman Prize was established in 1975 by Mansfield Freeman, class of 1916. It is awarded annually to a senior who has demonstrated overall excellence in East Asian studies and has contributed to improving the quality of our program.
- P.L. Kellam Prize, in memory of Priscilla L. Kellam, Class of 1983, by her husband and parents. Awarded annually to a senior woman who has majored in East Asian studies and has traveled or plans to travel to China and who has distinguished herself in her studies at Wesleyan.
- The Condil Award, in memory of Caroline Condil, class of 1992, is awarded to a worthy East Asian studies major, preferably a sophomore or junior, who needs financial support for study in China.
Student fellowships. The East Asian Studies Program offers up to two student fellowships each year. To be eligible, applicants must be writing a senior thesis for honors in East Asian studies. The fellowship provides shared office space at the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies (FEAS) that is accessible at any time throughout the academic year, including weekends, evenings, and during academic breaks. Fellows also have after-hours access to the center’s reference library, enjoy use of the center’s printer for printing the final copy of their thesis, and have abundant opportunities for interaction with center faculty and staff.