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East Asian Studies

Students may complete a major or a minor in East Asian Studies.


Tz'u Chiang, Lecturer
Jina Kim, Lecturer
Youngmin Kim, Assistant Professor (on leave semester I)
Pauline Lin, Assistant Professor
Suzanne Spain, Associate Provost, Co-chair
Changchun Zhang, Instructor

At Haverford College :

Hank Glassman, Assistant Professor
Shizhe Huang, C. V. Starr Professor of Asian Studies and Associate Professor of Chinese and Linguistics, Co-chair
Yoko Koike, Senior Lecturer
Paul Jakov Smith, John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences and Professor of History and East Asian Studies
Yukino Tanaka, Lecturer
Hai Lin Zhou, Visiting Assistant Professor

The Bi-College Department of East Asian Studies links rigorous language training to the study of East Asian, and particularly Chinese and Japanese, culture and society. In addition to our intensive programs in Chinese and Japanese languages, departmental faculty offer courses in East Asian philosophy, linguistics, literature, religion and social and intellectual history. The East Asian Studies program also incorporates courses on East Asia by affiliated Bi-College faculty on East Asian anthropology, cities, economics, philosophy and sociology, as well as additional courses on East Asian culture and society by faculty at Swarthmore.

The intellectual orientation of the Department of East Asian Studies is primarily historical and text-based; that is, we focus on East Asia's rich cultural traditions as a way to understand its present, through the study of primary sources (in translation and in the vernacular) and scholarly books and articles. All students wishing to specialize in this humanistic approach to the study of China , Japan and (with special approval) Korea are encouraged to consider the East Asian Studies major. But we also work closely with affiliated faculty in the Bi-Co and Tri-Co community who approach East Asia from the perspective of such social science disciplines as anthropology, economics, political science, sociology and the growth and structure of cities, as well as with faculty in history, music, religion and philosophy. East Asian studies majors are encouraged to take advantage of these programs to supplement their East Asian studies coursework. Students who wish to combine the study of East Asia and its languages with a major in another discipline are invited to consider the East Asian studies minor, described more fully below.

Major Requirements

Requirements for the major are:

  1. Completion of at least the third-year level of (Mandarin) Chinese or Japanese (i.e., 101-102). Students who entered college with native fluency in one East Asian language (including Korean) must complete this requirement with another East Asian language.
  2. EAST 200 (Sophomore Seminar: Methods and Approaches to East Asian Studies), which highlights the emergence of East Asia as a coherent cultural region and introduces students to basic bibliographic skills and research approaches. Required of East Asian studies majors and minors; open to history majors and others with permission of the instructors. This course should be taken in the second semester of the sophomore year.
  3. Five additional courses in East Asian cultures, as follows: one 100-level Introduction (from among EAST 120, 129, 131 or 132); two 200-level courses; and two 300-level seminars.
  4. A one-semester senior conference (EAST 398) in the Fall, culminating in the completion of a senior thesis by the end of that semester.

Minor Requirements

The Department of East Asian Studies offers a flexible six-course minor for students with varying interests in East Asian cultures and languages. All candidates for minor credit must take EAST 200 (Sophomore Seminar). In addition, they may take five additional courses in East Asian cultures and society, or any combination of culture courses and language courses in Chinese or Japanese above the first-year (001-002) level. The most typical configurations will be EAST 200 plus: five additional culture courses and no language; three additional culture courses and two language courses at the second (003-004) or third-year (101-102) level; or one additional culture course and four language courses at the second-year level and above.

Language Placement Tests

Placement tests for first-time students at all levels are conducted in the first week of the fall semester. To qualify for third-year language courses students need to have a 3.0 average in second-year language study or take a placement test in the beginning of the third-year course. In the event that students do not score 3.0 or above at the end of the second-year language study, they must consult with the director of the respective language program and work out a summer study plan that may include, but is not limited to, taking summer courses or studying on their own under supervision.


Honors in East Asian studies will be awarded by the departmental faculty on the basis of superior performance in two areas: coursework in major-related courses (including language classes), and the senior thesis. A 3.5 average in major-related coursework is considered the minimum necessary for consideration for honors.

Study Abroad

The Department of East Asian Studies strongly recommends study abroad to maximize language proficiency and cultural familiarity. Because study abroad provides an unparalleled opportunity to study a culture from the inside, students spending a semester or year in China, Japan or Korea will be required to prepare an essay of 10 pages on significant issues confronting their host country, based on information from local newspapers or magazines, television or personal interviews. No departmental credit will be granted for study abroad without satisfactory completion of this assignment, whose details should be worked out with the student's adviser.

Formal approval is required by the study abroad adviser prior to the student's travel. Without this approval, credit for courses taken abroad may not be accepted by the East Asian studies program.

If studying abroad is not practical, students may consider attending certain intensive summer schools approved by the East Asian studies program. These plans must be worked out in concert with the program's study abroad adviser and the student's dean.

EAST H120 Chinese Perspectives on the Individual and Society

A survey of philosophical, literary, legal and autobiographical sources on Chinese notions of the individual in traditional and modern China. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying how ideal and actual relationships between the individual and society vary across class and gender and over time. Special attention will be paid to the early 20th century, when Western ideas about the individual begin to penetrate Chinese literature and political discourse. (Smith)

EAST B131 Chinese Civilization

A broad chronological survey of Chinese culture and society from the Bronze Age to the present, with special reference to such topics as belief, family, language, the arts and sociopolitical organization. Readings include primary sources in English translation and secondary studies. (Kim, Division I or III; cross-listed as HIST B131) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H132 Japanese Civilization

A broad chronological survey of Japanese culture and society from the earliest times to the present, with special reference to such topics as belief, family, language, the arts, and sociopolitical organization. Readings include primary sources in English translation and secondary studies. (Glassman)

EAST B200 Sophomore Seminar: Methods and Approaches in East Asian Studies

Introduces current and prospective majors to the scope and methods of East Asian Studies. Employs readings on East Asian history and culture as a platform in critical analysis, bibliography, cartography, and the formulation of research topics and approaches. Culminates in a substantial research essay. A prerequisite for East Asian Studies majors, the course should be taken in the second semester of the sophomore year; occasionally in the second semester of the junior year. Also for minors and concentrators as an elective. (Kim, Division III)

EAST H201 Introduction to Buddhism

Focusing on the East Asian Buddhist tradition, the course examines Buddhist philosophy, doctrine and practice as textual traditions and as lived religion. (Glassman)

EAST B206 Modern Chinese Literature and Film

Introduces the development of modern Chinese literature and related film since the 19th century in terms of the significant motifs of enlightenment and decadence. The course enriches the understanding of heterogeneous "modernities" rather than the homogeneous "modernity" in modern China. (staff) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST B210 Topics in Chinese Cultural History: Visual Imagination

Imagination tells us much about our wishes and desires, loves and fears, the customary and the serendipitous, the extreme-unreality or the everyday. This course examines how the Chinese have envisioned various aspects of their lives - other worlds, the afterlife, everyday living, emotions and the past. We will closely examine texts and artworks, and explore the aesthetic values, social realities and cultural aspirations at the core of these works. Topics include Chinese ritual bronzes and communion with ancestors, depictions of paradise and hell in Buddhist cosmology, representations of everyday life, fictive landscapes, garden designs and imperial architecture. (Lin, Division III)

EAST B212 Introduction to Chinese Literature

This course introduces Chinese literature from its beginnings through the late18th century, via the greatest masterpiece of traditional Chinese fiction, The Dream of the Red Chamber . Nearly every significant literary genre in the pre-modern Chinese tradition is represented within the novel's descriptions of daily life in a great Chinese household. By studying relevant aspects of the literary tradition alongside each section of the novel, we will learn to appreciate China's pre-modern literary tradition from our contemporary perspective and to see it through the eyes of the 18th-century characters for whom the literary tradition was a part of their daily lives. (staff, Division III) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H217 Chinese Calligraphy as an Art Form

Studio art course. Students learn fundamental techniques of the art of Chinese calligraphy. Considers its impact on Western artists. Students create art projects inspired by Chinese calligraphy. No knowledge of the Chinese language is necessary. (Li)

EAST B225 Topics in Modern Chinese Literature

(staff, Division III) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST B226 Introduction to Confucianism

An introduction to Confucianism, arguably the most influential intellectual and cultural tradition in East Asia. In the first half, this course will train students to read the condensed style of the Confucian canons - the Analects , the Book of Mencius , the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean - by examining different commentators' explanations of select passages. In the second half, we will analyze Confucianism in light of contemporary discussions of issues such as human rights, virtue ethics, women's history, economic development and political authority. This course has no prerequisites and assumes no background in East Asian culture. (Kim, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B226 and POLS B226) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H228 The Logos and the Tao

This course challenges the postmodern construction of "China" as the (feminine) poetic "Other" to the (masculine) metaphysical "West" by analyzing postmodern concepts of word, image and writing in relation to Chinese poetry, painting and calligraphy. (Wright)

EAST B229 Comparative Urbanism

(McDonogh, Division I; cross-listed as ANTH B229 and CITY B229) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST B234 Introduction to Korean Culture

This course examines the dynamics of Korean cultural and intellectual history from the perspective of cultural identity. How did Korea negotiate its position in the traditional Asian cultural sphere? What is the significance of the so-called "Confucianization" of Choson Korea? What events and conditions shaped Korea in the 20th century? What was the impact of Japanese colonialism on Korea's modern transformation? This course explores these questions through a variety of literary works as well as historical writing, philosophical debates and the arts. No knowledge of Korean language or history is required. (Jina Kim, Division III; cross-listed as HIST B252) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H240 Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India

A survey of the economic development and recent transitional experience in China and India, giant neighboring countries, accounting for roughly one third of total world population. The course will examine the economic structure and policies in the two countries, with a focus on comparing China and India's recent economic successes an failures, their development policies and strategies, institutional changes, and factors affecting the transformation process in the two countries. (Jilani)

EAST H242 Buddhist Philosophy

An introduction to classical Indian Buddhist thought in a global and comparative context. The course begins with a meditative reading of the classical text - The Dhamapada - and proceeds to an in depth critical exploration of the teachings of Nagarjuna, the great dialectician who founded the Madhyamika School. (Gangadean)

EAST H261 Late Imperial China, 1600-1900

Surveys Chinese culture and society at the height of the imperial era through the 18th century and the ensuing political and cultural crises catalyzed by institutional decline and Western imperialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (Smith)

EAST B267 The Development of the Modern Japanese Nation

(Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as ANTH B267 and SOCL B267) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST B270 Japanese Architecture and Planning

(Hein, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B270 and HART B270)

EAST B272 Topics on Early and Medieval China: Chinese Cities and City Culture

Cities are the political, cultural and economic centers of a time and space; each is distinguished by geographic locale, architectural details, inhabitants and its literary, artistic and historical milieu. We investigate the literary and cultural artifacts: beginning with magnificent Changían and Luoyang; on to medieval Ye and Luoyang, the cosmopolitan eighth-century Changían, and concluding with bustling 11th-century Bianjing. Extensive use of visual materials, such as city plans and descriptions, architecture and gardens, works by notable writers and painters. (Lin, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B273)

EAST H282 Structure of Chinese

This course is designed to acquaint students with both the syntactic and semantic structures of Mandarin Chinese and the theoretical implications they pose to the study of natural language. Students will have an opportunity to further their understanding of linguistic theories and to develop skills in systematically analyzing a non-Indo-European language. Prerequisite: General Programs 262 or consent of the instructor. (Huang, Division I; cross-listed as LING H282) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST B284 Topics in Korean Culture

An introduction to Korean modern and contemporary literature and media culture. Readings will include both literary works in translation and critical writings on selected topics in Korean literary and cultural history and film theory and history. (Kim, Division III)

EAST H310 Religion and Gender in Modern Pre-Japanese Literature


EAST B335 East Asian Development

(Rock, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B336 and ECON B335) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H342 Topics in Asian Philosophy: Japanese Zen in Global Context

This advanced seminar focuses on the development of Zen (Japanese) Buddhism culminating in the work of Nishida and his influential Kyoto School of Zen Philosophy. The background in the Indian origins of Madhyamika dialectic introduced by Nagarjuna is traced through the Zen Master Dogen and into the flourishing of the modern Kyoto School founded by Nishida. The seminar focuses on texts by Dogen and on selected writings in the Kyoto School: Nishida, Nishitani and Abe. Nishida's thought is developed in dialogue with thinkers such as Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Sartre and Heidegger, Nagarjuna and others. (Gangadean)

EAST H347 Topics in East Asian History: China at the Center

An exploration of China's place in the current world history from the first through the late 19th centuries, with equal focus on theoretical debates and primary-source observations. Recommended for junors and seniors with prior courses in history. (Smith)

EAST B381 Topics in Japanese Art

(Easton, Division III; cross-listed as HART B381) Not offered in 2006-07.

EAST H382 Syntax and Semantics of Mandarin Chinese

An examination of the core issues in the study of Mandarin Chinese in terms of its syntactic and semantic structures. The aim is to look at a rich array of data as analyzed by practicing theoreticians and appreciate the inner workings of the language and their theoretical implications. (Huang)

EAST H398 Senior Conference

A semester-long research workshop culminating in the writing and presentation of a senior thesis. Required of all majors; open to minors and others by permission. (Glassman, Lin)

EAST B403 Supervised Work


EAST H415 Research Seminar in the Material Culture of China

This advanced research seminar is about Chinese material culture in its historical and contemporary manifestations. Particular attention will be paid to Chinese ceramics. Students will design and complete individual research projects centered on objects, architectural installations and other manifestations of Chinese material culture available in the Philadelphia area. (Gillette)

East Asian Languages

The East Asian Studies Program welcomes students who wish to combine their interests in East Asian languages with the study of an East Asian culture. These students are urged to consult the coordinator of East Asian studies on either campus, who will advise them on creating individual plans of study in appropriate departments.

Chinese Language

Shizhe Huang, Director
Tz'u Chiang
Pauline Lin
Changchun Zhang

The Chinese Language Program offers a full undergraduate curriculum of courses in Mandarin Chinese. Students who will combine language study with focused work on East Asian society and culture may wish to consider the major or minor in East Asian studies. Information about study abroad programs can be found under the East Asian studies heading in this catalog.

CNSE B001, B002 First Year Chinese

Offered in an intensive section (1.5 credits) for students new to the language, which meets for six hours for lecture and oral practice. Also offered in a non-intensive section (1 credit) for students who can speak but not read or write the language, which meets three hours a week.

CNSE H003, H004 Second-year Chinese

Language skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing are further developed through carefully designed practices. Oral proficiency is enhanced by dramatization of situational topics, and written skills by regular composition writing. Both reading and writing are in Chinese characters only. Three hours a week of classes and two hours of drills. Prerequisite: First-year Chinese or equivalent. (Huang)

CNSE B101, B102 Third Year Chinese

A focus on overall language skills through reading and discussion of modern short stories, as well as on students' facility in written and oral expression through readings in modern drama and screenplays. Readings include representative works from the May Fourth Period (1919-27) to the present. Audio- and videotapes of drama and films are used as study aids. Prerequisite: Second-year Chinese or permission of instructor. (Chiang, Division III)

CNSE B201, B202 Fourth Year Chinese

Development of language ability by readings in modern Chinese literature, history and/or philosophy. Speaking and reading skills are equally emphasized through a consideration of the intellectual, historical and social significance of representative works. Prerequisite: Third-year Chinese or permission of instructor. (Lin, Division III)

Japanese Language

Yoko Koike, Director
Hank Glassman
Yukino Tanaka

JNSE H001, H002 First-year Japanese

An introduction to the four basic skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening), with special emphasis on the development of conversational fluency in sociocultural contexts. Six hours per week of lecture and oral practice. This is a year-long course; both semesters are required for credit. (Koike)

JNSE H003, H004 Second-year Japanese

A continuation of first-year Japanese, with a focus on the further development of oral proficiency, along with reading and writing skills. Five hours per week of lecture and oral practice. Prerequisite: First-year Japanese or equivalent. (Tanaka)

JNSE H101, H102 Third-year Japanese

A continuation of language study with further development of oral proficiency. Emphasis on reading and discussing simple texts. Advanced study of grammar and kanji ; introduction to composition writing. Three hours of class, one hour of oral practice. Prerequisite: Second-year Japanese or equivalent. (Tanaka)

JNSE H201, H202 Fourth-year Japanese

Advanced study of written and spoken Japanese utilizing texts and audio-visual materials. Prerequisite: Third-year Japanese or equivalent and consent of the instructor. (Glassman, Koike)

Bryn Mawr College · 101 North Merion Ave · Bryn Mawr · PA · 19010-2899 · Tel 610-526-5000