East Asian Languages and Literatures

308 Hall of Graduate Studies, 203.432.2860
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Tina Lu

Director of Graduate Studies
Edward Kamens

Professors Kang-i Sun Chang, Aaron Gerow, Edward Kamens, Tina Lu, Jing Tsu

Assistant Professors Lucas Bender, Michael Hunter, Seth Jacobowitz

Senior Lecturer Pauline Lin

Lecturer Stephen Poland

Senior Lectors Hsiu-hsien Chan, Min Chen, Seungja Choi, Koichi Hiroe, Angela Lee-Smith, Rongzhen Li, Ninghui Liang, Fan Liu, Yoshiko Maruyama, Michiaki Murata, Hiroyo Nishimura, Masahiko Seto, Jianhua Shen, Mari Stever, Wei Su, Haiwen Wang, Yu-lin Wang Saussy, Peisong Xu, Yongtao Zhang, William Zhou

Senior Lector Chuanmei Sun

Lector Aoi Saito

Fields of Study

Fields for doctoral study are Chinese literature and Japanese literature. (See also the Combined Ph.D. Program in Film and Media Studies.) Although the primary emphasis is on these East Asian subjects, the department welcomes applicants who are seeking to integrate their interests in Chinese or Japanese literature with interdisciplinary studies in such fields as history, history of art, linguistics, religious studies, comparative literature, film and media studies, theater studies, literary theory and criticism, and the social sciences.

Special Admissions Requirements

The department requires entering students in Chinese or Japanese (and the Combined Program in Film and Media Studies) to have completed at least three years of study, or the equivalent, of either Chinese or Japanese. Students applying in Chinese are expected to have completed at least one year of literary Chinese. Students applying in premodern Japanese are expected to have completed at least one year of literary Japanese. This is a doctoral program; no students are admitted for terminal master’s degrees.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

During the first three years of study, students are required to take at least fourteen term courses. Usually students complete twelve term courses in the first and second years, and then take two tutorials or two seminars in the third year. Students concentrating in Chinese or Japanese literature are encouraged to take at least one term course in Western literature or literary theory. By the end of the second year, all students must prove their proficiency in a language other than their primary language of study that is relevant to their course of study and is approved by the director of graduate studies (DGS). By the end of the third year, students specializing in premodern Japanese literature must pass a reading test in literary Chinese. At the end of the second full academic year, the student must take a written examination in the language of the student’s specialization, including both its modern and premodern forms.

At the end of each academic year, until a student is admitted to candidacy, a faculty committee will review the student’s progress. For the second-year review, the student must submit a revised seminar research paper, on a topic selected in consultation with the adviser, no later than April 1 of the fourth term. No later than the end of the sixth term the student will take the qualifying oral examination. The exam will cover three fields distinguished by period and/or genre in one or more East Asian national literatures or in other fields closely related to the student’s developing specialization. These fields and accompanying reading lists will be selected in consultation with the examiners and the DGS in order to allow the student to demonstrate knowledge and command of a range of topics. After having successfully passed the qualifying oral examination, students will be required to submit a dissertation prospectus to the department for approval by September 1 of the seventh term in order to complete the process of admission to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Opportunities to obtain experience in teaching language and literature form an important part of this program. Students in East Asian Languages and Literatures normally teach in their third and fourth years in the Graduate School.

Combined Ph.D. Program

The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures also offers, in conjunction with the Film and Media Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies. For further details, see Film and Media Studies. Applicants to the combined program must indicate on their application that they are applying both to Film and Media Studies and to East Asian Languages and Literatures. All documentation within the application should include this information.

Master’s Degrees

M.Phil. The successful completion of all predissertation requirements, including the qualifying examination, will make a student eligible for an M.Phil. degree.

M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) The successful completion of twelve term courses and languages required in the first two years of study will make a student eligible for an M.A. degree.

Additional program materials are available on the department website, http://eall.yale.edu.


Courses in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels are listed in Yale College Programs of Study.

CHNS 570a, Introduction to Literary Chinese IMichael Hunter

Reading and interpretation of texts in various styles of literary Chinese (wenyan), with attention to basic problems of syntax and literary style. Prerequisite: CHNS 151b or 153b or equivalent.
TTh 9am-10:15am

CHNS 571b, Introduction to Literary Chinese IIPauline Lin

Continuation of CHNS 570. Reading and interpretation of texts in various styles of literary Chinese (wenyan), with attention to basic problems of syntax and literary style. Prerequisite: CHNS 570 or equivalent.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 510b, Man and Nature in Chinese LiteratureKang-i Sun Chang

An exploration of man and nature in traditional Chinese literature, with special attention to aesthetic and cultural meanings. Topics include the concept of nature and literature; Neo-Daoist self-cultivation; poetry and Zen (Chan) Buddhism; travel in literature; loss, lament, and self-reflection in song lyrics; nature and the supernatural in classical tales; love and allusions to nature; religious pilgrimage and allegory. All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 511a, Women and Literature in Traditional ChinaKang-i Sun Chang

This course focuses on major women writers in traditional China, as well as representations of women by male authors. Topics include the power of women's writing; women and material culture; women in exile; courtesans; Taoist and Buddhist nuns; widow poets; the cross-dressing women; the female body and its metaphors; foot binding and its implications; women's notion of love and death; the aesthetic of illness; women and revolution; women's poetry clubs; the function of memory in women's literature; problems of gender and genre. All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 512a, Ancient Chinese ThoughtMichael Hunter

An introduction to the foundational works of ancient Chinese thought from the ruling ideologies of the earliest historical dynasties, through the Warring States masters, to the Qin and Han empires. Topics include Confucianism and Daoism, the role of the intellectual in ancient Chinese society, and the nature and performance of wisdom. This is primarily an undergraduate course; graduate students are provided readings in the original language and meet in an additional session to review translations.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 513a, Philosophy, Religion, and Literature in Medieval ChinaLucas Bender

This course explores the rich intellectual landscape of the Chinese middle ages, introducing students to seminal works of Chinese civilization and to the history of their debate and interpretation in the first millennium. No previous knowledge of China is assumed. This is primarily an undergraduate course; graduate students are provided readings in the original language and meet in an additional session to review translations.
M 2:30pm-4:20pm

EALL 536a, Japanese Poetry and PoeticsEdward Kamens

Core concepts and traditions of classical Japanese poetry explored through the medium of translation. Readings from anthologies and treatises of the ninth through early twentieth century. Attention to recent critical studies in transcultural poetic theory. Inspection and discussion of related artifacts in the Beinecke Library and the Yale Art Gallery.
WF 9am-10:15am

EALL 555b, Japanese ModernismSeth Jacobowitz

Japanese literature and art from the 1920s through the 1940s. The avant-garde and mass culture; popular genre fiction; the advent of new media technologies and techniques; effects of Japanese imperialism, militarism, and fascism on cultural production; experimental writers and artists and their resistance to, or complicity with, the state.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 565b, Japanese Literature after 1970Stephen Poland

Study of Japanese literature published between 1970 and the present. Writers may include Murakami Ryu, Maruya Saiichi, Shimada Masahiko, Nakagami Kenji, Yoshimoto Banana, Yamada Eimi, Murakami Haruki, and Medoruma Shun. No knowledge of Japanese required.
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

EALL 599b, Decolonizing East AsiaStephen Poland

This course explores how literary and cinematic works engaged with, promoted, critiqued, and struggled with empire and colonization in East Asia from the late-nineteenth century to the present. We explore how the very ideas of “literature” and “cinema” in East Asia were entangled with the rise of the Japanese empire in the context of imperial rivalry with Europe, and how these categories were contested and transformed by writers and filmmakers in colonial and postcolonial contexts. The course also examines how discourses of empire and colonization continued to be relevant in post-WWII cultural works grappling with the neoimperialism of Soviet-American Cold War order. Finally, we consider questions of empire and colonization after the Cold War, especially in terms of the rise of China and continued relevance of past imperial formations in twenty-first-century cultural production.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 603b, Readings in Classical Chinese PoetryKang-i Sun Chang

Study of successive appropriations and reorientation of Chinese poetic forms in the major genres, such as song lyric (ci) and vernacular lyric (qu) traditions, traced from early foundations to those written in later times. Topics include the creation of cultural values and identities, problems of authorship and authority, exile and poetic writing, reception, and material culture. Readings in Chinese; discussion in English.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 608b, Sages of the Ancient WorldMichael Hunter

Comparative survey of the embodiment and performance of wisdom by ancient sages. Distinctive features and common themes in discourses about wisdom from China, India, the Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Topics include teaching, scheming, and dying.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 617b, The Plum in the Golden VaseTina Lu

Close reading of the late-sixteenth-century erotic novel The Plum in the Golden Vase in translation. The novel as a window on sixteenth-century Chinese society. Discussion of sexuality, commerce, and material culture. No knowledge of Chinese required.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 625a, Chinese Poetic Form, 1490–1990Kang-i Sun Chang

What is the appeal and the aesthetic concept of the Classical Chinese poetic form, which began in classical antiquity and continued to serve as a primary medium for poetic expression in modern times? How did modern writers express their "new" voices by using this "old" form? The seminar traces the "modern" development of Chinese classical poetry from the Revivalist (fugu) movement of the Ming to contemporary China in Shanghai. Emphasis on critical close reading, with attention to cultural and political contexts. Baihua translations and notes are provided for most of the poems. Primary readings in Chinese; discussion in English.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 657a, Meiji Literature and Visual CultureSeth Jacobowitz

Introduction to the literature and visual culture of Meiji Japan (1868–1912), including novels, poetry, calligraphy, woodblock prints, painting, photography, and cinema. The relationship between theories and practices of fine art and literature; changes in word and image relations; transformations from woodblock to movable-type print culture; the invention of photography and early forms of cinematic practice.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 715a, Readings in Modern Japanese LiteratureSeth Jacobowitz

Readings from a selection of representative texts from modern to contemporary Japanese literature with a focus on comprehension, translation, critical reception, and close reading. Students have the opportunity to select a few texts of interest in consultation with the instructor.
T 2:30pm-4:20pm

EALL 720b, Studies in Premodern Japanese LiteratureEdward Kamens

A research seminar. Students pursue individual topics in pre-seventeenth-century literature and share readings and analyses for discussion on a rotating basis. Prerequisite: proficiency in reading literary Japanese.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 740b, Topics in Early Chinese LiteratureMichael Hunter

An examination of key texts and problems in the study of early Chinese literature. Primary sources vary from year to year but could include the Shijing, Chuci, Shiji, early sources of anecdotal literature, and the fu. Discussions and papers are in English. This course may be repeated for credit.
F 2:30pm-4:20pm

EALL 823b / CPLT 953b, Topics in Sinophone and Chinese StudiesJing Tsu

This seminar examines the current state of the field of Chinese and Sinophone studies from different geographical and theoretical perspectives. It is a research seminar and colloquium, and we use texts in the original as well as translated languages. Topics vary.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 850b, Theory in/and East AsiaStephen Poland

This seminar engages with the question of what “Theory” might mean in the context of East Asian cultural studies. Many critiques have been made of the way “traveling theory” serves as a Euro-American universal applied to the “raw material” of East Asian texts, or as a transdisciplinary common language in the humanities and social sciences. We take this notion as a starting point to explore the intersections and interactions of “Theory” and “East Asia.” Questions include: What is Theory? Who gets to theorize? How have thinkers in East Asia engaged with Theory? How has Theory engaged with East Asia? What have been the major issues and debates in Theory, and how can they apply to scholarship on East Asian cultural production? How can the work of thinkers in/of East Asia offer critiques of Theory, and what problems arise from such challenges? These questions will also be situated in the historical context of disciplinary formation and the creation of Area Studies in universities in the United States. Readings are primarily in English, but may also include Japanese, Chinese, or Korean depending on student interest and language abilities.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 892a / FILM 874a, Japanese New Wave CinemaStephen Poland

This course explores the "New Wave" in Japanese cinema in the context of the rise of "new wave" across cinemas in the American sphere in the period roughly between 1955 and 1975. It focuses on both local contexts and global flows in the turn to experimental filmmaking in Japan, paying particular attention to how films sought to make social and political interventions in both content and form. We analyze New Wave films and critical writing by asking what they can tell us about Japan's postwar, high-speed economic growth, student and counterculture movements, and place in the Cold War order. We also consider what the Japanese New Wave tells us about the possibilities of cinema: its global simultaneity, transcultural movement, and historical trajectory. Topics include the legacy of World War II in Japan and cinema as a mode for narrating history; the rise of global youth culture in the context of postwar economic growth; cinema and protest against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty; the aesthetic use of sex, violence, and politics to shock mainstream culture; documentary as a site for radical experimentation; the studio system, independent filmmaking, and transformations of the Japanese film industry; and what is meant by "modernist" and "avant-garde" in New Wave cinema.
MW 1pm-2:15pm, T 7pm-9pm

JAPN 570a, Introduction to Literary JapaneseEdward Kamens

Introduction to the grammar and style of the premodern literary language (bungotai) through a variety of texts. Prerequisite: JAPN 151 or equivalent.
TTh 9am-10:15am

JAPN 571b, Readings in Literary JapaneseJeffrey Niedermaier

Close analytical reading of a selection of texts from the Nara through Tokugawa period: prose, poetry, and various genres. Introduction of kanbun. Prerequisite: JAPN 570 or equivalent.
TTh 9am-10:15am

JAPN 736a, Poetry and PoeticsEdward Kamens

Readings in classical poetry, treatises, and commentaries; offered in conjunction with EALL 536 for students with proficiency in literary Japanese.
M 5:30pm-7:20pm