East Asian Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Frances Rosenbluth, 308 RKZ, 432-5256, frances.rosenbluth@yale.edu; ceas.yale.edu

In the East Asian Studies major, students focus on a country or an area within East Asia and concentrate their work in the humanities or the social sciences. The major offers a liberal education that serves as excellent preparation for graduate study or for business and professional careers in which an understanding of East Asia is essential.

The major in East Asian Studies is interdisciplinary, and students typically select classes from a wide variety of disciplines. The proposed course of study must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies.


The prerequisite to the major is completion of study at the L2 level of an East Asian language taught at Yale or the equivalent. 

Requirements of the Major

Beyond the prerequisite, the major consists of thirteen course credits, which may include up to six taken in a preapproved program of study abroad. Six course credits must be taken in East Asian language courses, including a course at the L4 level and one year of advanced study (L5) with readings in the East Asian language.

Beyond the language requirement, the major includes seven course credits, six in the country or area of concentration and one outside it. Of the course credits in the area of concentration, one must be in the premodern period, at least two must be seminars, and one is the senior requirement (see below). These courses are normally taken at Yale during the academic year, but with prior approval of the director of undergraduate studies the requirement may be fulfilled through successful course work undertaken elsewhere.

Credit/D/Fail A maximum of one course taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the requirements of the major, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies.

Senior Requirement 

During the senior year, all students must satisfy a senior requirement consisting of a major research project that uses Chinese, Japanese, or Korean-language materials, reflects an up-to-date understanding of the region, and demonstrates a strong command of written English. This requirement can be met in one of three ways. Students may take a seminar that relates to the country or area of concentration, culminating in a senior thesis. Alternatively, students who are unable to write a senior essay in a seminar may complete a one-term senior essay in EAST 480 or a one-credit, two-term senior research project in EAST 491, 492 culminating in an essay. The adviser for the senior project should be a faculty member associated with the Council on East Asian Studies with a reading knowledge of the target language materials consulted for the essay.


Selection of courses Upon entering the major, students are expected to draw up an intellectually coherent sequence of courses in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. They must consult with the director of undergraduate studies each term concerning their course schedules. They should identify as soon as possible a faculty adviser in their area of specialization. As a multidisciplinary program, East Asian Studies draws on the resources of other departments and programs in the University. Students are encouraged to examine the offerings of other departments in both the humanities and the social sciences, as well as residential college seminars, for additional relevant courses. The stated area of concentration of each student determines the relevance and acceptability of other courses. For a complete listing of courses approved for the major, see the Council on East Asian Studies Website.

Courses in the graduate and professional schools Qualified students may elect pertinent courses in the Graduate School and in some of the professional schools with permission of the instructor, the EAST director of undergraduate studies, and the director of graduate studies of the relevant department or the dean or registrar of the professional school.

Combined B.A./M.A. degree program Exceptionally able and well-prepared students may complete a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.A. and M.A. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. See "Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor's and Master's Degrees" in section K of the Academic Regulations. Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies prior to the fifth term of enrollment for specific requirements in East Asian Studies.


Prerequisite L2 level of an East Asian lang taught at Yale or the equivalent

Number of courses 13 course credits beyond prereq (incl senior req); up to 6 may be in preapproved study abroad

Distribution of courses 6 course credits in East Asian lang courses, incl 1 L4 course and 1 year at L5 level with readings in the lang; 6 addtl course credits in country or area of concentration, incl 1 in premodern era and 2 sems; 1 course credit on East Asia outside country or area of concentration

Senior requirement Senior sem culminating in senior thesis, or one-term senior essay in EAST 480, or one-credit, two-term senior research proj in EAST 491, 492


Professors Daniel Botsman (History), Kang-i Sun Chang (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Deborah Davis (Sociology), Fabian Drixler (History), Aaron Gerow (East Asian Languages & Literatures; Film & Media Studies), Valerie Hansen (History), Edward Kamens (East Asian Languages & Literatures), William Kelly (Anthropology), Tina Lu (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Peter Perdue (History), Frances Rosenbluth (Political Science), Helen Siu (Anthropology), Jing Tsu (East Asian Languages & Literatures; Comparative Literature), Anne Underhill (Anthropology), Mimi Yiengpruksawan (History of Art)

Associate Professors William Honeychurch (Anthropology), Andrew Quintman (Religious Studies), Chloe Starr (Divinity School)

Assistant Professors Lucas Bender (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Eric Greene (Religious Studies), Denise Ho (History), Michael Hunter (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Seth Jacobowitz (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Daniel Mattingly (Political Science)

Senior Lecturers Annping Chin (History), Pauline Lin (East Asian Languages & Literatures)

Lecturers Abigail Coplin, Leland Rogers, Holly Stephens, Dominik Wallner

Senior Lector II Seungja Choi

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

Lectors Aoi Saito, Chuanmei Sun


* EAST 030a / HIST 030a, TokyoFabian Drixler

Four centuries of Japan's history explored through the many incarnations, destructions, and rebirths of its foremost city. Focus on the solutions found by Tokyo's residents to the material and social challenges of concentrating such a large population in one place. Tensions between continuity and impermanence, authenticity and modernity, and social order and the culture of play. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* EAST 032a / HIST 032a, ShanghaiDenise Ho

History of the city of Shanghai, with a focus on how Shanghai has been seen and what its experience reveals about modern China. Shanghai's unique place in imagining China; its transformation in the nineteenth century from a fishing village to an international "treaty port" and China's gateway to the West; twentieth-century Shanghai as a site of innovation, from politics and capitalism to media and fashion; the city's vilification in the early Mao years and later reemergence as a symbol of China's modernization. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR, HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EAST 301b / HIST 307b, The Making of Japan's Great Peace, 1550–1850Fabian Drixler

Examination of how, after centuries of war in Japan and overseas, the Tokugawa shogunate built a peace that lasted more than 200 years. Japan's urban revolution, the eradication of Christianity, the Japanese discovery of Europe, and the question of whether Tokugawa Japan is a rare example of a complex and populous society that achieved ecological sustainability.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

* EAST 309a / HIST 309Ja, Uses of the Past in Modern ChinaDenise Ho

Modern China's use of the past in state-sponsored narratives of nation, in attempts to construct heritage by elites and intellectuals, and in grassroots projects of remembrance. Theories on history and memory; primary sources in English translation; case studies from twentieth-century China. Interdisciplinary readings in art history, anthropology, cultural studies, and history.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

EAST 310a / GLBL 309a / PLSC 357a, The Rise of ChinaDaniel Mattingly

Analysis of contemporary Chinese politics, with focus on how the country has become a major power and how the regime has endured. Topics include China's recent history, state, ruling party, economy, censorship, elite politics, and foreign policy.  SO
MW 1:30pm-2:20pm

EAST 338a / ECON 338a / GLBL 318a, The Next ChinaStephen Roach

Economic development in China since the late 1970s. Emphasis on factors pushing China toward a transition from its modern export- and investment-led development model to a pro-consumption model. The possibility of a resulting identity crisis, underscored by China's need to embrace political reform and by the West's long-standing misperceptions of China. Prerequisite: introductory macroeconomics.  SO
MW 10:30am-11:20am

* EAST 358b / EALL 256b / GLBL 251b / HUMS 272b / LITR 265b, China in the WorldJing Tsu

Recent headlines about China in the world, deciphered in both modern and historical contexts. Interpretation of new events and diverse texts through transnational connections. Topics include China and Africa, Mandarinization, labor and migration, Chinese America, nationalism and humiliation, and art and counterfeit. Readings and discussion in English.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EAST 375b / HIST 375b, China from Mao to NowDenise Ho

The history of the People's Republic of China from Mao to now, with a focus on understanding the recent Chinese past and framing contemporary events in China in historical context. How the party-state is organized; interactions between state and society; causes and consequences of economic disparities; ways in which various groups—from intellectuals to religious believers—have shaped the meaning of contemporary Chinese society.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* EAST 401b / SOCY 305b, State and Society Relations in Post-Socialist ChinaStaff

Focus on the interplay of state, market, and society in contemporary China. How institutions of the market reform era have redistributed material assets, political power, and social capital among different groups of social actors and how to use contemporary China as a case with which to engage social and political theory.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 402b / HIST 303Jb, Everyday Life in Modern Korea, 1800 to the PresentStaff

The history of modern Korea, from 1800 to the present. Tracing major events that reshaped Korean society, including reform and rebellion in the nineteenth century, empire and colonialism, war, industrialization, democratization, and the political tensions surrounding North and South Korea. Consideration of the everyday lives of Koreans who lived through “the headlines” and how we have come to understand Korean history in the present.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 403b / ANTH 411b, Biological, Archaeological, and Historical Perspectives of Early East AsiaStaff

Exploration of prehistoric and early-historical interactions of the peoples of northeast Asia from 3000 B.C.E. through the Han Dynasty period, including foundational influences involved in the construction of the modern concept of "East Asia." Focus on early demographic and genetic data as revealed by ancient DNA and population genetics analyses; introduction to analytical and methodological approaches to DNA analysis in relation to the material culture and textual records. No prior experience with genetics or biological anthropology required.  SO
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 404a / EALL 288a / ER&M 404a, The History and Literature of the AinuStaff

An exploration of the history, culture, and literature of the Ainu people in northern Japan, from prehistory to the twenty-first century.  HU
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 406a / PLSC 405a, Microfoundations of Japanese PoliticsSeiki Tanaka

Examination of Japanese politics from a comparative perspective; how Japanese politics and society work and how Japan resembles and differs from other democracies. Topics include elections, gender discrimination, immigration, disaster relief, economic policy, foreign policies, structural changes such as population aging, and the rise of China. Students develop skills for evaluating and constructing causal arguments about politics across time and space and learn how to study empirical implications of causal arguments.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EAST 408a / EP&E 269a / SOCY 395a, Wealth and Poverty in Modern ChinaDeborah Davis

The underlying causes and consequences of the changing distribution of income, material assets, and political power in contemporary China. Substantive focus on inequality and stratification. Instruction in the use of online Chinese resources relevant to research. Optional weekly Chinese language discussions. Prerequisite: a previous course on China since 1949.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 417a / ANTH 414a, Hubs, Mobilities, and World CitiesHelen Siu and Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer

Analysis of urban life in historical and contemporary societies. Topics include capitalist and postmodern transformations; class, gender, ethnicity, and migration; and global landscapes of power and citizenship.  SORP
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EAST 454b / ECON 474b / GLBL 312b, Economic and Policy Lessons from JapanStephen Roach

An evaluation of modern Japan's protracted economic problems and of their potential implications for other economies, including the United States, Europe, and China. Policy blunders, structural growth impediments, bubbles, the global economic crisis of 2008, and Abenomics; risks of secular stagnation and related dangers to the global economy from subpar post-crisis recoveries. Focus on policy remedies to avert similar problems in other countries. Prerequisite: an introductory course in macroeconomics.  SO

EAST 480a or b, One-Term Senior EssayFrances Rosenbluth

Preparation of a one-term senior essay under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Students must receive the prior agreement of the director of undergraduate studies and of the faculty member who will serve as the senior essay adviser. Students must arrange to meet with that adviser on a regular basis throughout the term.

* EAST 491a and EAST 492b, Senior Research ProjectFrances Rosenbluth

Two-term directed research project under the supervision of a ladder faculty member. Students should write essays using materials in East Asian languages when possible. Essays should be based on primary material, whether in an East Asian language or English. Summary of secondary material is not acceptable. Credit for EAST 491 only on completion of EAST 492.  ½ Course cr per term