East Asian Languages & Cultures Major
We engage students in a broad and deep exploration of culture and society in East Asia, particularly China and Japan. Majors undertake rigorous language training and comprehensive study of the region’s culture and society. Though our minors need not study a language, we encourage them to enroll in our Chinese and Japanese language courses which span beginner to highly advanced levels.
Curriculum & Courses
Our demanding language program embraces the full range of communication skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing—in Chinese or Japanese. Majors must attain third-year-level competence in Chinese or Japanese, though we encourage and enable them to move well beyond this level.
Our cultural studies curriculum begins with entry-level EALC courses on China and Japan. Majors then go on to EALC classes that reflect their specific interests at more advanced levels. We also draw upon the Bi-College’s broader academic resources by requiring majors to pursue relevant coursework in other departments. Many fulfill this requirement with classes that illuminate East Asia from the perspectives of Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and Growth and Structure of Cities.
I. Language Requirement (2 credits)
We require EALC majors to take two semesters of either Chinese or Japanese, at a level appropriate to their in-coming language abilities. Native speakers of either Chinese or Japanese may forego the two semesters of an East Asian language (they will still have to fulfill their College language requirement), but must substitute two additional East Asian culture courses. The University of Pennsylvania offers Korean language instruction, but it does not count towards the Bi-Co EALC major language requirement.
II. Three core courses (3 credits)
EALC majors must take THREE core courses from the following:
- One 100-level course on China from among EALC B110 (Introduction to Chinese Literature), EALC H120 (Confucianizing China), or EALC B131(Chinese Civilization); and
- One 100-level course on Japan: either EALC H112 (Myth, Folklore, and Legend in Japan) or EALC H132 (Japanese Civilization); and
- EALC B200/EALC H200 (Methods and Approaches to East Asian Cultures).
- EALC B200/EALC H200 is required of all EALC majors and is recommended for Global Asia minors. We urge majors to take 200 in the spring of their JUNIOR year. Majors who plan to be abroad in spring term junior year must take EALC 200 spring term sophomore year.
- EALC B200/EALC H200 is the designated departmental Writing Intensive course (30 pages of writing), which Bryn Mawr now requires of all departments.
Students must earn a grade of 2.0 or higher in each of these courses to continue in the major and be eligible to write a senior thesis.
III. Three departmental elective courses (3 credits)
Majors must take THREE additional non-language courses offered by members of the Bi-Co EALC Department.
- One of these courses must be at the 300 level.
- One of the 200-level electives may be fulfilled with an advanced topics course in Chinese or Japanese.
Majors cannot satisfy the departmental electives with courses outside the department, or by taking courses abroad.
IV. Two non-departmental courses related to global Asia (2 credits)
Majors must choose two non-Departmental electives at the 200 or 300 level that are related to their study of East Asia or the wider Asian world. These two courses may be in a department or program in the Quaker Consortium (Tri-Co plus Penn), or an approved study abroad program.
V. The Senior Thesis (1 credit)
In the capstone experience undertaken in the fall term of the senior year, students employ their skills and undertake a scholarly investigation. The aim is to create and execute an extended research project centered on a primary written or visual “text” in Chinese or Japanese. The senior thesis brings together threads of conversations among scholars on the student’s chosen topic. The student combines language and research skills to think about and interpret the meanings of sources in context. At the end of the term, seniors present their findings to the faculty and other students in final oral presentations.
Associated Programs and Concentrations
Research & Outreach
EALC majors produce a thesis, a work of original research, on a topic that falls within an EALC faculty member’s area of expertise. By the close of junior year, each student prepares a thesis proposal. That summer, many conduct primary research while studying abroad. Students focus on writing during the fall of senior year and submit a final draft early in the spring. The Department’s senior seminar course, which combines group sessions and one-on-one meetings with faculty advisors, offers our majors critical guidance and support as they produce this capstone work.
This course examines the relationship between environment and the arts in China and Japan—particularly how artists engage with and respond to nature through varied modes of artistic production and exhibition.
Harris interned with the Asian Arts Initiative through its partnership with the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities.
EALC majors graduate having honed general communication and analytical skills as well those specific to comprehending and thriving in China and Japan. Prepared to enter graduate programs in East Asian Studies or related areas, they are also equipped to enter a range of careers in China and Japan and those in the U.S. that require a deep understanding of East Asian culture and its languages.
This EALC major and Chinese minor is currently pursuing a Master's Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Education.
Athanassiadis is living in Ningbo, China, counseling high school students seeking an education abroad.
Cho works in the media & entertainment business in a dual position.
Farina is an entrepreneur who helps young people get the advantage they need to success in their job search and career.
Heaton is a staff engineer with Walker & Company Brands, and contributes to and manages a software development team within a company that solves health and beauty problems for people of color.
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