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 Department also incorporates courses 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.