East Asian Studies

East Asian Studies is a multidisciplinary concentration designed for students wishing to attain reasonable fluency in Chinese,  Japanese, or Korean with specialized exposure to selected East Asian subjects. It serves students with two types of interests: those who aim to pursue active professional careers related to the East Asian region; and those who want to pursue graduate study in the humanities or social sciences with particular emphasis on China, Japan or Korea. Students in East Asian Studies will gain language proficiency and familiarity with East Asia through advanced courses in a variety of disciplines. Concentrators are strongly encouraged, but not required, to study in East Asia for one or two semesters. The concentration requires students to demonstrate a basic proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

The Language Requirement

The concentration requires students to demonstrate a basic proficiency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. For the purposes of the concentration, proficiency is determined to be consistent with successful completion of the Department’s third-year course sequence in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean (0500-0600), or its equivalent. Native speakers of these languages may, for example, demonstrate competency such that language courses may be unnecessary. Department language instructors may also determine that course work completed at one of the language-intensive study abroad programs attended by our undergraduates is comparable to courses offered at Brown. 

Note that we do not equate completion of third-year Chinese, Japanese, or Korean with fluency in these languages. Rather, we believe that students who have demonstrated the skills associated with third-year Chinese, Japanese, or Korean have acquired a foundational understanding of the languages’ grammar, vocabularies, and conversational patterns, such that they are able to make themselves understood in everyday situations, and to understand both spoken and written communication.
For the purposes of the concentration, language courses through the third-year are treated as an accompanying requirement.

Language Prerequisites (demonstrating proficiency through the third-year or 0600 level in one of the three languages below)
Chinese
Basic Chinese
   and Basic Chinese
Advanced Beginning Chinese
   and Advanced Beginning Chinese
Intermediate Chinese
   and Intermediate Chinese
Advanced Modern Chinese I
   and Advanced Modern Chinese I
Japanese
Basic Japanese
   and Basic Japanese
Advanced Beginning Japanese
   and Advanced Beginning Japanese
Intermediate Japanese
   and Intermediate Japanese
Advanced Japanese I
   and Advanced Japanese I
Korean
Korean
   and Korean
Intermediate Korean
   and Intermediate Korean
Advanced Korean
   and Advanced Korean
Language Electives (language courses that may be counted for concentration credit)
Chinese
Advanced Modern Chinese II
   and Advanced Modern Chinese II (either course may be taken for one semester)
Introduction to Classical Chinese
Introduction to Modern Chinese Prose
The Changing Face of China: Advanced Reading in Chinese Media
Business Chinese
Modern Chinese Literature
Japanese
Advanced Japanese II
   and Advanced Japanese II (either course may be taken for one semester)
Classical Japanese
Japanese Cities: Tokyo and Kyoto
Japanese Linguistics
Business Japanese
Readings in Contemporary Japanese Fiction
Japanese Linguistics: Communication and Understanding Utterances
Korean
Korean Culture and Society
Business Korean

Electives

The concentration requires that students complete a total of eight electives tied to their course of study, which may be defined in linguistic, chronological, thematic, or cultural terms.   Students should choose their courses with the following requirements in mind.

  • At least three of the eight electives must be East Asian Studies (EAST) courses; Chinese (CHIN), Japanese (JAPN), or Korean (KREA) courses at the 1000-level and above may also count toward this requirement.
  • At least one of the eight electives must focus on an East Asian country or culture other than those associated with the language the student is using to satisfy the concentration's language requirement.  A concentrator studying Korean, for example, would choose at least one course that focuses on China, Taiwan, or Japan.
  • At least one of the eight elective courses must be an advanced research seminar, taken in the senior year.

As is common for interdisciplinary concentrations, a wide range of courses, including many taught by faculty in other departments, may be counted toward the concentration. These include courses offered by East Asian Studies faculty, faculty with courtesy appointments in the Department, and courses with a significant focus on East Asia offered in such disciplines as Archeology, Anthropology, Economics, International Relations, and others.

Sample Electives offered by East Asian Studies
EAST 0180Japan: Nature, Ritual, and the Arts 21
EAST 0950ATurning Japanese: Constructing Nation, Race and Culture in Modern Japan (First Year Seminar) 21
EAST 0950CReading China: Texts and Contexts 11
EAST 1010From Basho to Banana: Four Centuries of Japanese Literature 21
EAST 1012Expanding the Canon: A Survey of 20th Century Japanese Literature 21
EAST 1070China Modern: An Introduction to the Literature of Twentieth-Century China 11
EAST 1100Korean Culture and Film 31
EAST 1170Women's Literature in Japan and Korea 41
EAST 1200Pop, Political and Patrician: Culture in Japan and the Koreas 41
EAST 1270China Through the Lens: History, Cinema, and Critical Discourse 11
EAST 1400The Floating World: Early Modern Japanese Culture 21
EAST 1420The Confucian Mind 41
For additional elective choices, visit http://brown.edu/academics/east-asian-studies/courses/more-course-offerings.
1

 China-centric

2

 Japan-centric

3

 Korea-centric

4

 East Asia-centric

Advanced Research Seminars

At least one of the eight elective courses must be an advanced research seminar, taken in the senior year. The research seminar will normally provide students with the opportunity to develop a project or paper focusing on one or more of their areas of inquiry within the concentration. Students are strongly encouraged to find ways to incorporate the use of Chinese, Japanese or Korean language materials in their research and learning in these courses. Courses falling into this category include the East Asian Studies 1950 series as well as designated seminars offered by faculty in such departments as History, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature among others.  The Department will provide a list of pre-approved advanced seminars every semester. Students wishing to add courses to that list must submit their requests in writing to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the start of the semester.

Sample advanced seminars offered by East Asian Studies
EAST 1950BChinese Women, Gender and Feminism from Historical and Transnational Perspectives1
EAST 1950FThe Karma of Words1
EAST 1950GMarket Economy, Popular Culture, and Mass Media in Contemporary China1
EAST 1950HTranslating Japanese: Short Fiction, Poetry, Film and Manga1
EAST 1950IRevolution and Culture, East Asia and Beyond1
EAST 1950OThe Art of Dissent1
EAST 1950QEarly Chinese Poetry1
EAST 1950XQueer Japan: Culture, History and Sexuality1

Honors

East Asian Studies offers qualified students, in their senior year, the opportunity to undertake a sustained research and writing project that, ideally, will result not merely in a long term paper, but in a piece of original scholarship. To enroll in the Honors Program, the student must be a senior East Asian Studies concentrator, with at least a high B average in concentration courses. Candidates for Honors are required to have developed a competence in an East Asian language sufficient to allow them to use East Asian language materials in carrying out their research. Students must also successfully obtain the support of at least two faculty members who will agree to serve as primary and secondary advisors for the thesis. Prospective writers submit a thesis prospectus, brief bibliography, and completed application forms (with signatures), ordinarily late in the student’s six semester, to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who provides the final permission to proceed. Synopses of successful thesis proposals will be distributed to Department faculty.

Thesis writers enroll in advisor-specific sections of the thesis-writing course EAST 1930 (Fall) and EAST 1940 (Spring), meet regularly with their advisors over the course of both semesters, and submit final versions of their theses to the Department in mid-April. Advisors and students are required to provide updates of their progress to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at regular intervals.

The completed thesis is evaluated for Honors by the thesis director and by a second reader. In case of a difference of judgment between the two readers, a third opinion may be sought. The awarding of Honors in East Asian Studies will occur only if the Honors Thesis receives a final grade of A. If an A is not received, the student will still receive academic credit for EAST 1930-1940. Students are notified in mid-May whether the Department has recommended the awarding of Honors. Copies of readers’ comments are provided to the student. 

All graduating concentrators will present the results of their senior theses in the department’s Senior Project Forum. The Forum will usually take place at the end of the spring semester, but may also occur at the end of the fall semester to accommodate mid-year graduates.

Double Concentrations

Students who are interested in developing a double concentration, including East Asian Studies as one of the two concentrations, should bear in mind that normally no more than two courses may be double-counted toward satisfying the course requirements of either of the two concentration programs involved. 

Study Abroad

Concentrators are strongly encouraged, but not required, to study in East Asia for one or two semesters during their undergraduate years. Course credits earned abroad are generally transferable to Brown. However, a maximum of three courses taken abroad, of genuine intellectual substance and significantly related to East Asian Studies, may be considered for concentration credit.

Summary of requirements:

  • Language study through the level of 0600 or the equivalent of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean
  • Eight elective courses
    • At least three of the eight must be East Asian Studies (EAST) courses; Chinese (CHIN), Japanese (JAPN), or Korean (KREA) courses at the 1000-level and above may also count toward this requirement
    • At least one of the eight electives must focus on  an East Asian country or culture other than those associated with the language the student is using to satisfy the concentration's language requirement.  A concentrator studying Korean, for example, would choose at least one course that focuses on China, Taiwan, or Japan. 
    • At least one of the eight must be an advanced research seminar, taken in the senior year.
  • EAST 1930 - EAST 1940 (Thesis-writing course) for Honors candidates only