About Our Program
East Asia, a region comprised of China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Koreas, stands as a dynamic region in the present that was formed by a fascinating past. Home of the great traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and native religions, and source of magnificent forms of expression, in literature, film, dance, the visual arts, and architecture, East Asia plays a defining political and aesthetic role on the world stage. With the second, third, and eleventh largest national economies in the world, East Asia plays a central role in the global economy. The Program in East Asian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis provides the means to study the countries of East Asia, separately and transnationally, in the present and in the past. Our specialists on East Asia, based in their departmental homes of Anthropology, Art History and Archaeology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Film and Media Studies, History, International & Area Studies, Religious Studies, and in the Law School, come together in EAS to provide their insights on a place of common interest. The East Asian Studies librarians and staff provide critical input into our research and teaching agendas.
From its beginnings in 1971 as the Committee on Asian Studies to its current manifestation, EAS is multi-faceted. We consist of an undergraduate major and minor in which students learn languages, Chinese, Korean, and/or Japanese, in their modern and classical forms, and take courses in a variety of disciplines. We comprise an MA program, one whose graduates in recent years have gone on to Ph.D. programs at the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, and the University of British Columbia. We promote understanding about Asia through a range of events, notably our three memorial lectures honoring past faculty members -- Nelson Wu, Bill Jones, and Stanley Spector. We aspire to bring together Asia specialists and interested parties from across campus and throughout greater St. Louis region into a community of scholars with shared interests in East Asian languages, cultures, histories, and societies. We invite you to join us in our on-going discussion of this vital part of the world.