East Asian Languages and Civilizations


In 2016, the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) celebrated its fiftieth year as a formally established department. Today, the specializations of EALC faculty cover a wide range of cultures, topics, and historical periods, facilitating the Department’s encouragement of interdisciplinary and inter-regional projects. The Department’s language program offers Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, as well as classical Chinese, kindai bungo, and scholarly Japanese. MAPH students can take the entirety of their classes in EALC or explore offerings in other subjects, such as Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Selected Faculty


Wu Hung

Early and Contemporary Chinese Art, Social Memory, Relationships between Visual Forms and Ritual

Paola Iovene

Chinese Literature and Film, Conceptions of Chinese Realism, Modernism, and Avant-garde

Judith Zeitlin

Literary History, Performance, Visual and Material Culture, Representations of Ghosts

Sample Courses

EALC 43000 - Censorship in East Asia:  The Case of Colonial Korea (Kyeong-Hee Choi)
This course examines the operation and consequences of censorship in the Japanese Empire, with focus on its effects in colonial Korea. We will examine the institutions related to censorship, the human agents involved in censorship, and texts and translations produced in and outside of Korea that were subject to censorship.

EALC 50100 - Chinese Religious Manuscripts and Epigraphy (Paul Copp)
An introduction to reading and working with Chinese religious manuscripts and stone inscriptions. We will examine basic secondary works in paleography, codicology, and epigraphy, and develop our own skills in these disciplines. Includes trips to the Field Museum to examine their extensive collection of rubbings and inscribed Buddhist and Daoist statuary.

EALC 34255 - Everyday Maoism: Work, Daily Life, & Material Culture in Socialist China (Jacob Eyferth)
For most of the Chinese population, the revolution was as much about material changes as about politics. This course focuses on the material artifacts and daily work routines of socialist China in order to understand what socialism meant for different groups of people.

EALC 45025 - The Real and the Fake in Early Modern China (Ariel Fox)
This class explores the late imperial fascination with the boundaries between reality and illusion, genuine and counterfeit, self and role. In addition to readings from drama, fiction, and poetry, materials will include manuals on forgeries and scams, dream encyclopedias, designs for imaginary gardens, and guidebooks to fantastical realms.

EALC 58011 - Archaeology of Craft Production: Theories and Case Studies (Yungti Li)
The course will review anthropological literature and case studies of craft production and craft specialization in ancient civilizations, taking a multi-disciplinary approach by adopting perspectives developed in history and art history. Discussion topics include: organization of production, craft production and the elite, chaîne opératoire, and status and identity of artisans.

A complete listing of courses and descriptions is available at the EALC course page.

Recent East Asian Languages and Civilizations Thesis Projects

“Effacing and Defacing the Face: An Overlooked Point/Counterpoint Structure in Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another
Joshua Kierstead, MAPH ’10
Advisor: Michael Raine

“From shexi to Mulian: On Lu Xun and Village Theatre”
Zhenzhen Lu, MAPH ’12
Advisor: Judith Zeitlin

“Newspapers and Sumo: Tracing the Invisible Forces that Shaped Japan’s National Sport”
Maria March, MAPH ’14
Advisor: Michael Bourdaghs

“Clothes Make the Miao Woman: Color, Ethnicity, and the Tourist Gaze in Ayouduo’s ‘Colorful Guizhou’”
Nancy Li, MAPH ’16
Advisor: Paola Iovene