Learning Goals in the East Asian Studies Major

The major in EALC is dynamic, interdisciplinary and international insofar as it integrates extensive language study, cultural and literary analysis through requirements as well as electives. It has two concentrations: China Concentration and Japan Concentration. It requires students to develop critical reading, thinking, researching and writing abilities and prepares students for a wide range of future career opportunities relating to East Asia.

Language Proficiency in Chinese/Japanese

All majors must complete at least four semesters of the Chinese/Japanese language sequence at the appropriate levels. Majors who have received a grade of B+ or above in two 400-level Chinese/Japanese courses in the department and have been rated Intermediate High or above on the ACTFL OPI scale internally by the end of the academic year will be awarded the department’s language proficiency certificate.

Understanding of East Asian Societies and Cultures

All majors are required to gain both historical and contemporary understanding of “transnational” East Asia with a comparative perspective on languages and cultures in an increasing globalized world. Majoring students are expected to acquire this knowledge through interdisciplinary approaches in courses offered in the EALC department as well as cross-listed courses offered by affiliated faculty in other departments such as art history, history, government and music.

Critical Reading and Thinking Ability

All majors are expected to not merely “master” East Asian languages and cultures under study as a fixed, passive body of knowledge, but more importantly, to develop critical reading and dialectical thinking skills. Such skills should enable students to think beyond stereotypes, identify and examine many of the prevailing assumptions or misconceptions about East Asian societies and cultures, and develop a keen awareness of cultural diversity and complexity within and across geopolitical boundaries of East Asia.

Critical Researching and Writing Ability

All majors should be able to conduct research projects independently (such as knowing how to utilize library resources) and write critical research papers in clear, concise, and intelligent prose in standard academic format. The goal is for students to be able to contribute to a larger intellectual conversation by producing original and challenging arguments. For all honors thesis projects, students may also be required to demonstrate an ability to use original Chinese/Japanese language sources if their faculty advisors deem it necessary.

Career Preparation

All majors are expected, through course work, study-away programs and/or internships, to prepare themselves for various academic and career opportunities related to East Asia upon graduation. Such opportunities range from graduate school, to jobs in government, international relations, information technology, business, finance, tourism, entertainment, human rights, international law, translation, teaching and much more.