East Asian Languages & Cultures

The Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures offers an A.B. in East Asian Languages & Cultures.

The East Asian Languages & Cultures (EALC) major enables students to study languages and cultures across the region rather than focusing on a single language, as with the department’s majors in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This broader major will serve students whose intellectual interests in East Asia are more regional than national, and it will challenge students to think comparatively within East Asia as well as about the relationship of East Asian cultures to non-East Asian cultures.

Requirements for the A.B. in East Asian Languages and Cultures

Minimum of 12 courses, including:

  • CHIN, JAPN, or KREN-1124, East Asia: Texts and Contexts
  • Third-Year proficiency in one East Asian language. This requirement is normally fulfilled by taking 6 courses in a single East Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean). If the student reaches third-year proficiency with fewer than 6 courses due to advanced proficiency, the student must still take a minimum of 6 courses in East Asian languages, which may include either advanced courses in a single East Asian language or courses in a second East Asian language.
  • 4 EALC department courses on Chinese, Japanese, and/or Korean culture, literature, or linguistics taught in English OR 2 courses in a second East Asian language and 2 department courses in English. At least one of these courses must be in an East Asian culture different from the one in which 3rd-year language proficiency was established. Majors who have already taken two courses in a second East Asian language due to advanced placement (see above) will be required to take 4 courses on East Asian cultures in English (of which at least one must be in a second field of East Asian culture).
  • A senior thesis paper on East Asian culture. This may be fulfilled by taking either CHIN/JAPN/KREN-4100 Senior Seminar or another advanced department course taught in English that requires at least a 25-page research paper.

Honors Thesis Option: Students may be invited, on the basis of their work in the senior seminar, to complete an honors thesis in spring of the senior year. This longer thesis project requires the use of vernacular sources. Students who successfully complete and defend the honors thesis receive honors in the major upon graduation.

Study Abroad

East Asian Languages & Cultures majors are encouraged but not required to study abroad in a Chinese-, Japanese-, or Korean-speaking country. Georgetown’s Office of Global Education offers many (summer, semester, and year-long) programs with an emphasis on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language and culture.

Integrated Writing

Writing takes place everywhere in the East Asian Languages & Cultures major, in many forms and levels of formality, including expository and creative writing as well as the art of translation, and including personal, public, and professional modes. Alongside expository writing in English about aspects of culture in East Asia, students also practice writing of increasing complexity in target language all through the course of their major. As approaches to careful observation of and careful thinking about their object, writing in English and writing in target language reinforce each other. Attention is also given to translation as a form of detailed interpretive commentary and as a means of examining temporally specific differences in linguistic structure, modes of argument, and perceptual and conceptual habits. Attention to English language writing skills in the field begins in the gateway course East Asia: Texts and Contexts. At the other end of the major, the capstone Senior Seminar requires writing an extensive research paper in either English or an East Asian language, or producing an original translation from an East Asian language with a critical introduction. For more information on writing in the major, see the EALC department website.

To further their understanding of East Asian languages and cultures, students should take advantage of the wide range of reading and audiovisual materials available at the University library. Beyond the University, students should explore the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art, which have one of the finest collections of East Asian Art in the world. The Library of Congress has an enormous collection of Chinese books and periodicals.

Asian Studies Certificate

Interested students majoring in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or East Asian Languages & Cultures may also pursue an interdisciplinary certificate in Asian Studies. A minimum of six semester courses is required, including the study of more than one Asian society or national group. Students should consult the Director of Asian Studies, SFS, for additional information.