About Our Department

Welcome to the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. EALC explores the complexity and richness of human experience as expressed in the languages, histories, cultures, and literatures of China, Japan, and Korea. Not only are the civilizations of East Asia among the world's most ancient, these three cultural and linguistic areas have also come to play a vital role in today's global economy.

EALC offers a wide-ranging and diverse curriculum by means of which students may acquire knowledge and understanding of the literary, historical and cultural expressions of East Asia from ancient times up to the present. Our language programs also foster the ability to negotiate meaning in a culturally and contextually appropriate manner through the development of high levels of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The emphasis in the East Asian Language and Culture programs (with concentrations on Chinese, Japanese or Korean), is on achieving high competency in the relevant language and learning how to read texts from the target culture—literary, philosophical, cultural, historical, or even visual—with an informed appreciation of the contexts in which they were produced.  The goal of all of these studies -- language, textual and interdisciplinary -- is to acquire the cultural sensitivities needed to become sophisticated scholars and educated global citizens, as well as to provide a deeper appreciation of our common cultural experience and the intrinsic value of humanistic study.

East Asian Languages and Cultures offers the unified EALC major and minor, effective for students matriculating FL2021 and later. Note that students are held to the requirements published in the Bulletin that is in place when they matriculate.  Current students—those who have declared a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean major/minor and those who have not—are permitted to complete the program requirements reflected in the Bulletin at the time they matriculated [Note: pre-FL21 students should contact the EALC department to have the Chinese, Japanese, or Korean major/minor added to their record as these degrees are no longer available in WebSTAC].  Current students may also elect to follow the new EALC requirements with the permission of the Department.

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures respectfully acknowledges that we are on the traditional, ancestral lands of the Osage Nation. The process of knowing and acknowledging the land we stand on is a way of honoring and expressing gratitude for the ancestral Osage people who were on this land before us. For more information about the Osage Nation, click here

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East Asian Languages and Cultures major introduced

The current majors and minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean will be consolidated into a new major and minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures.

In fall 2021, students in Arts & Sciences will be able to major or minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures. The department’s three existing tracks in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean will be consolidated into a single major and minor.

In recent years, students in the department have expressed interest in a more comparative approach to studying East Asian languages that would explore the relationship between nations within the region.

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Being able to study in the Japanese Language Program at Wash U is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of my time at Wash U. And it is studying Japanese that inspired me to pick up a few novels in Japanese-to-English translation in the summer before my sophomore year - which, in turn, took me so completely that I couldn't wait until the fall to declare my major in Japanese Language and Culture. Ultimately, I loved being a part of EALC at Wash U. I loved being a part of the Japanese Language Program.

―Katarina Lacy KlafkaMajor in Japanese Language & Culture, Minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, '16