East Asian Languages and Literatures

Humanities Quadrangle, Rm. 110, 203.432.2860
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Aaron Gerow

Director of Graduate Studies
Michael Hunter

Professors Aaron Gerow, Edward Kamens, Tina Lu, Jing Tsu

Associate Professor Michael Hunter

Assistant Professor Lucas Bender, Rosa van Hensbergen

Senior Lecturer Pauline Lin

Senior Lectors II Seungja Choi, Angela Lee-Smith, Ninghui Liang, Peisong Xu

Senior Lectors Hsiu-hsien Chan, Min Chen, Rongzhen Li, Fan Liu, Kumiko Nakamura, Hiroyo Nishimura, Jianhua Shen, Mari Stever, Wei Su, Chuanmei Sun, Haiwen Wang, Yu-lin Wang Saussy, Mika Yamaguchi, Yongtao Zhang, William Zhou

Lector Hyun Sung Lim

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 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. If approved by the director of graduate studies (DGS), graduate courses taken for a grade of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory in other departments or programs in which these courses are counted toward that department/program’s doctoral course or certificate requirements will be counted toward the fourteen-course requirement. To maximize flexibility for students pursuing non-traditional pathways, the department will accept petitions to replace specific program requirements with alternate training. For example, a student might propose to substitute a professionalization experience for a required course. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the DGS in conjunction with the primary adviser. Contingent on DGS approval, students might also count up to two courses on languages beyond their primary research language 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 DGS. By the end of the third year, students specializing in premodern Japanese literature must pass a reading test in literary Chinese. By 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.

Teaching experience is an integral part of the graduate program in East Asian Languages & Literatures. As such, the department requires all students to serve as teaching fellows for four terms, typically in the third and fourth years. With the permission of the DGS, students can substitute a professional development opportunity for a teaching fellowship or, in extraordinary circumstances, reduce their academic teaching requirement by one or more terms. Note that this academic requirement is distinct from the Graduate School's financial requirement that students serve as teaching fellows for four terms.

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 and the dissertation prospectus, will make a student eligible for an M.Phil. degree.

M.A. Students who withdraw from the Ph.D. program may be eligible to receive the M.A. degree provided they have met the requirements and have not already received the M.Phil. For the M.A., students must successfully complete twelve term courses and satisfy the language requirement. Candidates in combined programs will be awarded the M.A. only when the master’s degree requirements for both programs have been met.

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 https://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 11:35am-12:50pm

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 503a, The Tale of GenjiJames Scanlon-Canegata

A reading of the central work of prose fiction in the Japanese classical tradition in its entirety (in English translation) along with some examples of predecessors, parodies, and adaptations (the latter include Noh plays and twentieth-century short stories). Topics of discussion include narrative form, poetics, gendered authorship and readership, and the processes and premises that have given The Tale of Genji its place in world literature. Attention is also given to the text's special relationship to visual culture. No knowledge of Japanese required. A previous college-level course in the study of literary texts is recommended but not required.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

EALL 505b, The Culture of Landscape in ChinaPauline Lin

An introduction to Chinese philosophical, poetic, and visual explorations of landscape and the changing relationship between human beings and nature. Through texts, archaeological materials, visual and material culture, and garden designs from the second century BCE to modern times, we learn about the Chinese conception of the world; relationship to and experiences in nature; and shaping of the land through agriculture, imperial parks, and garden designs. We conclude with contemporary environmental issues confronting China and how contemporary parks can help regenerate our ecosystem. None
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 507b / CLSS 611b, Ancient Musical Thought from Homer to ConfuciusMick Hunter and Pauline LeVen

Examines traditions of musical thought across ancient cultures with a particular focus on Greece (LeVen) and China (Hunter). How did ancient thinkers understand the place of music within society, the ideal state, and the cosmos? What role did musical training and connoisseurship play in education? What is the relationship between music and wisdom? And how do the answers to these questions inform comparative study? As the 2023–24 Archaia core seminar, this course is offered in conjunction with Archaia's year-long Ancient Studies Workshop, through which students have the opportunity to learn from various experts in ancient musical thought.
F 9:25am-11:15am

EALL 530b / CPLT 525b / EAST 542b, 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 565b / EAST 553b, Japanese Literature after 1970Rosa van Hensbergen

This course is an introduction to Japanese literature written in the last fifty years, with a focus on women writers. We read poetry and prose featuring mothers, daughters, and lovers, novels that follow convenience and thrift store workers, and poetry about factory girls. Our reading takes us from the daily grind of contemporary Tokyo to dystopian futures, from 1970s suburbia to surreal dreamscapes. We attend carefully to the ways in which different writers craft their works and, in particular, to their representation of feelings and affects. Whether the dull ache of loneliness, the oppression of boredom, or the heavy weight of fatigue, it is often something about the mood of a work—rather than its narrative—that leaves a distinct impression. We develop the tools to analyze and discuss this sense of distinctness, as well as discover ways to stage connections and comparisons between the works we read. Comparative and creative perspectives are especially welcome, and assignments can accommodate a range of media and presentation formats to suit. No knowledge of Japan or Japanese is required, nor is any prior grounding in literature. For those wishing to work with Japanese-language materials, please contact the instructor directly to organize additional Japanese-language workshops.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 567a, Japan's Global Modernisms: 1880–1980Rosa van Hensbergen

This course is an introduction to Japanese literature from the 1880s to 1980s. Our reading is guided by a different “ism” each week, from 19th-century eroticism and exoticism, through mid-century cosmopolitanism and colonialism, to second-wave feminism and existentialism in the wake of World War II. These distinct moments in the development of Japanese modernism (modanizumu) are shaped by encounters with foreign cultures and by the importing of foreign ideas and vogues. All the same, we question—along with modernist writer Yū Ryūtanji—the “critique that says modanizumu is nothing more than the latest display of imported cosmetics” (1930). We seek to develop a correspondingly nuanced picture of the specific and changing ways in which Japan understood and figured its relationship to the rest of the world through the course of a century. Creative and comparative perspectives are especially welcome, and assignments can accommodate a range of media and presentation formats to suit. There are no prerequisites for this course, beyond an enthusiasm for reading literature. All readings are in translation, however there is an opportunity to read short stories in the original language. To facilitate this, our second class each week is structured around break-out groups that allow students to focus on one of the following: (a) comparative works of Western literature, (b) works of Japanese literary theory, and (c) original-language short stories.
MW 1pm-2:15pm

EALL 569a, Topics in Modern Korean LiteratureKyunghee Eo

In this course, students read key works of Korean literature in English translation from the early twentieth century to the present day. The specific course topic varies by term. Primary sources include long-form novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction writing by representative authors, as well as literary scholarship on themes and historical context relevant to the materials. The readings in this course are arranged in roughly chronological order, requiring us to examine Korea’s colonial modernization process in the first half of the twentieth century, the authoritarian regimes of South Korea from 1948 to 1987, and South Korea’s integration into the neoliberal world order after democratization. Supplementary audio-visual materials such as artwork, video clips and music may be presented to students in class. All class materials are in English translation, and no previous knowledge of Korean language is required.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 581b / FILM 873b, Japanese Cinema and Its OthersAaron Gerow

Critical inquiry into the myth of a homogeneous Japan through analysis of how Japanese film and media historically represent “others” of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, and sexualities, including women, black residents, ethnic Koreans, Okinawans, Ainu, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ minorities, the disabled, youth, and monstrous others such as ghosts.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EALL 588a / CPLT 612a / EAST 616a / RSEE 605a / RUSS 605a, Socialist '80s: Aesthetics of Reform in China and the Soviet UnionJinyi Chu

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the complex cultural and political paradigms of late socialism from a transnational perspective by focusing on the literature, cinema, and popular culture of the Soviet Union and China in 1980s. How were intellectual and everyday life in the Soviet Union and China distinct from and similar to that of the West of the same era? How do we parse “the cultural logic of late socialism?” What can today’s America learn from it? Examining two major socialist cultures together in a global context, this course queries the ethnographic, ideological, and socio-economic constituents of late socialism. Students analyze cultural materials in the context of Soviet and Chinese history. Along the way, we explore themes of identity, nationalism, globalization, capitalism, and the Cold War. Students with knowledge of Russian and Chinese are encouraged to read in original. All readings are available in English.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 600a / EAST 640a, Sinological MethodsPauline Lin

A research course in Chinese studies, designed for students with background in modern and literary Chinese. Students explore and evaluate the wealth of primary sources and research tools available in China and in the West. 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 Chinese bibliographies; bibliophiles’ notes; specialized dictionaries; maps and geographical gazetteers; textual editions, variations, and reliability of texts; genealogies and biographical sources; archaeological and visual materials; and major Chinese encyclopedias, compendia, and databases.
F 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 608a, Sages of the Ancient WorldMick 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.
MW 9am-10:15am

EALL 707a / RLST 550a, Translation and Commentary in Early Chinese BuddhismEric Greene

This seminar introduces the literary sources relevant for the earliest era of Chinese Buddhism, during the (Eastern) Han and Three Kingdoms period, which primarily consist of early translations of Indian Buddhist literature and a few pioneering Chinese commentaries to them. Largely unstudied by modern scholars owing to their archaic language and vocabulary, these sources document the first recorded intellectual encounters between the Indian and East Asian worlds. Together with a careful reading of a selection of the relevant primary sources, we also take up secondary readings on the history of early Chinese Buddhism and broader works on the problematics of translation and commentary, in the context of China and elsewhere.
F 1:30pm-4:30pm

EALL 745a, Readings in Medieval Chinese ThoughtLucas Bender

This class considers documents pertaining to the intellectual history of medieval China, roughly from the end of the Han dynasty in 220 CE to the end of the Tang dynasty in 907. Texts change from term to term. Readings are in the original, so prospective students should have a firm background in Literary Chinese. Prerequisites: CHNS 170 and 171 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

EALL 804b / CPLT 802b / ENGL 804b, Transpacific Performance in the Cold WarRosa van Hensbergen

During the Cold War, interdisciplinary artists were crisscrossing the pacific between Japan and the US, presenting their works in exhibitions, participating in performance festivals, and engaging in experimental collaborations. These crossings and crossovers took place with varying degrees of state involvement as the US government worked to promote its version of American culture abroad. In this course, we discover a series of transpacific performances and events against the backdrop of Cold War cultural politics, from collaborations between Japanese modern dancers and American jazz musicians in the early 60s to immersive works of Japanese video art presented in New York in the 90s. The rare archival and print materials that form an essential component of this course are made available in English. Japanese and other relevant language specialisms are welcome though not required, as are comparative and creative approaches. An aim of this course is to work closely together to produce a publishable or performable piece of work—critical or creative—related to your future research and career ambitions. For those wishing to work with Japanese-language materials, please contact the instructor directly to organize additional Japanese-language workshops.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 805a / FILM 871a, 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.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

EALL 816a, Special Topics in Modern Chinese LiteratureJing Tsu

This is an advanced graduate course geared toward preparing students to gain a specific range of expertise in different periods of modern Chinese literature. It is held as a seminar-colloquium with weekly discussions and informal presentations. For third- or fourth-year graduate students. For others, instructor approval required.
W 9:25am-11:15am

EALL 900a or b, Directed ReadingsMick Hunter

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

EALL 990a or b, Directed ResearchMick Hunter

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

JAPN 570a, Introduction to Literary JapaneseJames Scanlon-Canegata

Introduction to the grammar and style of the premodern literary language (bungotai) through a variety of texts. Prerequisite: JAPN 151 or equivalent.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

JAPN 571b, Readings in Literary JapaneseStaff

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 11:35am-12:50pm