East Asian Languages and Literatures

143 Elm Street, Rm. 102, 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

Associate Professor Michael Hunter

Assistant Professors Lucas Bender, Seth Jacobowitz

Senior Lecturer Pauline Lin

Lecturer Stephen Poland

Senior Lectors II Seungja Choi, Angela Lee-Smith

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

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. Graduate courses taken for a grade of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory in other departments in which those courses are counted toward that department’s doctoral course requirements will be counted toward the fourteen-course requirement. 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. See also http://courses.yale.edu.

CHNS 570a, Introduction to Literary Chinese IPauline Lin

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

CHNS 571b, Introduction to Literary Chinese IIYun Bai

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.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 506b, Japan’s Classics in Text and ImageEdward Kamens and Mimi Yiengpruksawan

Fiction, poetry, and plays from the eighth century through the nineteenth, studied alongside related works of art and illustrated books housed in collections at Yale. An introduction to the Japanese classics as well as an example of interdisciplinary study in the humanities. No knowledge of Japanese required.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 511a / EAST 541, 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 530a, Poetry and Ethics Amidst Imperial CollapseLucas Bender

Du Fu has for the last millennium been considered China’s greatest poet. Close study of nearly one-sixth of his complete works, contextualized by selections from the tradition that defined the art in his age. Exploration of the roles literature plays in interpreting human lives and the ways different traditional forms shape different ethical orientation. Poetry as a vehicle for moral reflection. All readings are in English.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 552a, Japanese Cinema before 1960Aaron Gerow

The history of Japanese cinema to 1960, including the social, cultural, and industrial backgrounds to its development. Periods covered include the silent era, the coming of sound and the wartime period, the occupation era, the golden age of the 1950s, and the new modernism of the late 1950s.
MW 1pm-2:15pm, T 7pm-10pm

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.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

EALL 586a / CPLT 952a, Modern Novel in Japan and BrazilSeth Jacobowitz

Brazilian and Japanese novels from the late nineteenth century to the present. Representative texts from major authors are read in pairs to explore their commonalities and divergences. Topics include nineteenth-century realism and naturalism, the rise of mass culture and the avant-garde, and existentialism and postmodernism.
MW 4pm-5:15pm

EALL 593a / CPLT 558a / EAST 554, Hiroshima to Fukushima: Ecology and Culture in JapanStephen Poland

This course explores how Japanese literature, cinema, and popular culture have engaged with questions of environment, ecology, pollution, and climate change from the wake of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in the present. Environmental disasters and the slow violence of their aftermath have had an enormous impact on Japanese cultural production, and we examine how these cultural forms seek to negotiate and work through questions of representing the unrepresentable, victimhood and survival, trauma and national memory, uneven development and discrimination, the human and the nonhuman, and climate change’s impact on imagining the future. Special attention is given to the possibilities and limitations of different forms—the novel, poetry, film, manga, anime—that Japanese writers and artists have to think about humans’ relationship with our environment.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

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 600a / EAST 640, Sinological MethodsPauline Lin

A research course in Chinese studies, designed for students with background in modern and literary Chinese. Exploration and evaluation of the wealth of primary sources and research tools available in Chinese. For native speakers of Chinese, introduction to the secondary literature in English and instruction in writing professionally in English on topics about China. Topics include the compilation and development of Chinese bibliographies; bibliophiles’ notes; editions, censorship, and textual variation and reliability; specialized dictionaries; maps and geographical gazetteers; genealogies and biographical sources; archaeological and visual materials; and major Chinese encyclopedias and compendia.
F 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 602a, Readings in Classical Chinese ProseKang-i Sun Chang

Close reading of classical Chinese texts (wenyan) primarily from late Imperial China. A selection of formal and informal prose, including memoirs, sanwen essays, classical tales, biographies, and autobiographies. Focus on cultural and historical contexts, with attention to reception in China and in some cases in Korea and Japan. Questions concerning readership and governmental censorship, function of literature, history and fictionality, memory and writing, and the aesthetics of qing (emotion). Readings in Chinese; discussion in English. Prerequisite: CHNS 171 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 604b, Li Yu (1610–1680): Playwright, Storyteller, PornographerTina Lu

Students read across the complete works of this major seventeenth-century figure. Li Yu was a short story writer, a playwright, a literary critic, an essayist, and a pornographer. Each week we read a substantial amount of Li Yu’s writings to better understand his corpus as a whole and also as a window onto seventeenth-century culture. Prerequisite: CHNS 171 or permission of the instructor.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

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.
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

EALL 700a / EAST 700 / RLST 594a, The Three Teachings in Medieval ChinaLucas Bender and Eric Greene

This course explores intersections between the Three Teachings—Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism—in late medieval China, focusing on the seventh through the ninth century. Too often studied in isolation from one another, these religious and intellectual teachings were deeply intertwined throughout this period, and scholars aiming to understand the religious, intellectual, and literary history of the Tang need to be able to read broadly across their boundaries. All primary readings are in classical/literary Chinese. Open to undergraduates with sufficient language skills. Prerequisite: reading ability in classical/literary Chinese.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 710a / EAST 710 / HSAR 822a, Fragmentism and Assemblage in Traditional Japanese CultureEdward Kamens and Mimi Yiengpruksawan

A cross-disciplinary consideration of the phenomenon of disaggregation of texts and visual artworks and their reconfiguration in new forms. Focus on examples from the Japanese past in comparative and theoretical perspective. Students engage directly in the preparation of an installation on this theme in the Yale Art Gallery for spring 2019. Prerequisite: proficiency in literary and modern Japanese.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 773b / ANTH 531b / ARCG 531b / CLSS 815b / HIST 502b / HSAR 564b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Sensory Experiences in Ancient RitualCarolyn Laferriere and Andrew Turner

A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

EALL 801b, Media Theory, Capitalism, and Japanese ModernitySeth Jacobowitz

This course introduces students to key aspects of Western media theory and media history through readings by leading thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Friedrich Kittler, Lewis Mumford, Martin Heidegger, and Marshall McLuhan. It then brings these works into dialogue with recent critical studies of Japanese modernity, capitalism, and contemporary information society by Naoki Sakai, Karatani Kojin, Akira Lippit, Azuma Hiroki, and others. All readings are in English.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 805b, Readings in Japanese Film TheoryAaron Gerow

Theorizations of film and culture in Japan from the 1910s to the present. Through readings in the works of a variety of authors, the course explores both the articulations of cinema in Japanese intellectual discourse and how this embodies the shifting position of film in Japanese popular cultural history.
F 1:30pm-3:30pm

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.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 873a / EAST 573a / HIST 873a, China and the World circa 1900Peter Perdue and Jing Tsu

Reading and discussion of significant themes in China and world history in the first decade of the twentieth century. We concentrate on topics that contain international, transnational, and comparative implications, and include discussion of literary and historical material. Most readings are in English, but selected primary sources in Asian languages may be used. Open to all History, East Asian Studies, and East Asian Languages and Literatures students, and others by request. Includes research paper and weekly writing exercises. Prerequisite: knowledge of one foreign language, European or Asian.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 900a or b, Directed ReadingsStaff

Offered by permission of instructor and DGS to meet special needs not met by regular courses.

EALL 990a or b, Directed ResearchStaff

Offered as needed with permission of instructor and DGS for student preparation of dissertation prospectus.

JAPN 510a or b, Japanese for SinologistsMasahiko Seto

Intensive Japanese reading course designed for Sinologists. Includes canonical texts from the nineteenth to the twentieth century by Japanese scholars of Chinese history, literature, cultural studies, and law. Reading comprehension and grammar as well as vocabulary are strengthened. The principal text is Japanese for Sinologists by Joshua A. Fogel and Fumiko Joo. Prerequisite: JAPN 150 or equivalent.

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 JapaneseAdam Haliburton

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 4pm-5:15pm