East Asian Studies

Professor Wai-Yee Li, Head Tutor

The concentration in East Asian Studies seeks to develop a critical understanding of the human experience in East Asia. A concentrator develops skills in a language, participates in the tutorial program, and selects from a rich offering of lecture courses and seminars. Each student is trained in the study of East Asia as a whole and pursues specialized study of one East Asian society: China, Japan, Korea, or Vietnam. The program provides preparation for a variety of fields of work and advanced study after graduation. Study abroad is encouraged.

The concentration offers both a social sciences track, stressing approaches to modern East Asia drawn from the social science disciplines, and a humanities track, in which the history, literature, religion, and philosophy of modern and premodern times are studied. It draws upon faculty working on East Asian topics from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Departments of Anthropology, Economics, Government, History, and Sociology, and the schools of Business, Law, and the Kennedy School of Government. The sophomore tutorial, an introductory course on East Asia from ancient times to the present, introduces a variety of perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences, and offers concentrators an opportunity to meet with Harvard’s East Asia faculty. At the end of the sophomore year, each concentrator must focus their study on China, Japan, Korea, or Vietnam, entering either the humanities track or the social sciences track. Juniors take EAS 98 or an approved course to serve as their junior tutorial. Honors candidates usually spend the senior year researching and writing the honors thesis.

The East Asian Studies concentration welcomes joint concentrators. Primary concentrators in another field who are interested in language study must take six half-courses of language, the sophomore tutorial, and two area courses. Those interested in area studies must take the sophomore tutorial and five additional half-courses on East Asia. Consult the East Asian Studies tutorial office for detailed requirements.

REQUIREMENTS

For students entering the College in Fall 2008 or later.
Other students should refer to the Handbook for Students from the year in which they declared their concentration.

Humanities Track
Basic Requirements: 13 half-courses

  1. Required courses:

    1. Six half-courses in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, or Vietnamese; or an approved combination of courses involving two East Asian languages. The language requirement is met by attaining a level of competence equivalent to six half-courses of language study; thus it is possible for the requirement to be satisfied in part by work done or experience gained elsewhere than in formal course work at Harvard. However, students who are allowed to take fewer than six half-courses of language due to previous training or knowledge are required to substitute other courses.

    2. Two half-courses of tutorial or courses designated as equivalents.

    3. Five non-language half-courses in East Asian or related subjects, selected from the list available in the tutorial office. One of these courses must be one of the following survey courses: Historical Study A-13 (China), Historical Study A-14 (Japan), Historical Study A-75 or Korean 111 (Korea), or Historical Study B-68 (Vietnam). It is recommended that at least two area courses be upper-level seminars.

  2. Tutorials:

    1. East Asian Studies 97ab: Sophomore Tutorial (may be taken in sophomore or junior year).

    2. East Asian Studies 98: Junior Tutorial. With permission of the head tutor, an approved replacement course may be substituted for EAS 98.

  3. Thesis: None.

  4. General Examination: None.

  5. Other information: Courses counted for concentration credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except by special petition.

Humanities Track
Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 half-courses

  1. Required courses:

    1. Six half-courses in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, or Vietnamese, or an approved combination of courses involving two East Asian languages (see Basic Requirements, item 1a).

    2. Four half-courses of tutorial or courses designated as equivalents.

    3. Four half-courses selected from among East Asian or related subjects (see item 1c of Humanities Track Basic Requirements), including language courses beyond Basic Requirements.

  2. Tutorials:
        a-c. Same as Basic Requirements.
        d. Senior year: East Asian Studies 99 (two terms), preparation of thesis, required. Letter-graded.

  3. Thesis: Required of all honors candidates.

  4. General Examination: None.

  5. Other information: Courses counted for concentration credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except by special petition.

Social Sciences Track
Basic Requirements: 13 half-courses

  1. Required courses:

    1. Four half-courses of an East Asian language (or equivalent).

    2. Two half-courses of tutorial or courses designated as equivalents.

    3. Seven half-courses selected from among East Asian or related subject course offerings (see item 1c of Humanities Track Basic Requirements). Additional language courses may replace up to one full year of these courses.

  2. Tutorials:

    1. East Asian Studies 97ab Sophomore Tutorial (may be taken in sophomore or junior year).

    2. East Asian Studies 98 Junior Tutorial. With permission of the Head Tutor, an approved replacement course may be substituted for EAS 98.

  3. Thesis: None.

  4. General Examination: None.

  5. Other information: Courses counted for concentration credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except by special petition.

Social Sciences Track
Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 half-courses

  1. Required courses:

    1. Six half-courses of an East Asian language (or equivalent).

    2. Four half-courses of tutorial or courses designated as equivalents.

    3. Four half-courses chosen from East Asian course offerings (see item 1c of Humanities Track Basic Requirements).

  2. Tutorials:
        a-c. Same as Basic Requirements.
        d. Senior year: East Asian Studies 99 (two terms), preparation of thesis, required. Letter-graded.

  3. Thesis: Ordinarily a senior thesis is required for all levels of honors in Field. In rare cases, a student with an outstanding record of course work may be recommended for Honors in Field, though not for High or Highest Honors, without having written a thesis.

  4. General Examination: None.

  5. Other information: Courses counted for concentration credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except by special petition.

Joint Concentration in East Asian History

Students whose interest in East Asian civilization is primarily historical in character should consider concentrating in East Asian History. East Asian History is a joint concentration co-sponsored by the History Department and the East Asian Studies concentration. It aims to take advantage of the strengths of both concentrations. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the craft of historical study—the ways historians make sense of the past, and the skills of historical analysis, writing, and research—as well as to promote a critical understanding of the historical experience of East Asian societies. In addition to in-depth language study and substantial course work in the history of East Asia, students enrolling in this concentration will do one-half of their tutorial work in the History Department and the other half in the East Asian Studies concentration. The sophomore tutorial in History introduces students to the analysis of historical writing in various genres, while the EAS sophomore tutorial introduces the history, literature and intellectual traditions of China, Japan, and Korea. By taking a history department research seminar or an EALC research seminar, students are introduced to methods of historical research and writing and have the opportunity to conduct in-depth research projects. In the senior year, joint concentrators will work with an appropriate faculty adviser and graduate student tutor to write a thesis, an original work in some aspect of East Asian history.

ADVISING

All concentrators meet individually with the head tutor and an assistant head tutor during the first week of each term. At other times, students are welcome to drop in during office hours as often as is desired or necessary. At the end of the sophomore year students consult with an assistant head tutor to decide whether they will enter the humanities or social sciences track. Students are also welcome to meet with the head tutor during office hours.

For up-to-date information on advising in East Asian Studies, please see the Advising Programs Office website.

RESOURCES

Students of East Asia at Harvard, in whatever program, benefit from a number of unusual resources. Among these are the magnificent collections of the Harvard-Yenching Library—the Chinese collection is perhaps the most comprehensive in the world, while those on Japan and Korea also are imposing. The Harvard-Yenching Institute, in addition to its support of the library, operates programs that bring younger East Asian scholars and graduate students to Harvard. The Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies also have a number of scholars on East Asia in residence annually, and sponsor workshops and other enriching activities. Harvard, moreover, sponsors certain study programs abroad, and the existence of these and other opportunities have led to an increasing number of students spending one of their undergraduate years in East Asia.

HOW TO FIND OUT MORE

Freshmen or sophomores interested in concentrating on East Asia, in either the humanities or social sciences track, should meet with the Assistant Head Tutor for sophomores during office hours. A copy of our brochure, East Asian Studies at Harvard University, A Guide for Undergraduates may be obtained by mail or by visiting the tutorial office at 9 Kirkland Place (617-495-8365). The contents of the guide are also available on the EAS website.

CORE AND GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

Non-exempt areas:

Exempt areas:

Historical Study B

Foreign Cultures

Literature and Arts B

Historical Study A

Moral Reasoning

Literature and Arts A

Quantitative Reasoning

Literature and Arts C

Science A

 

Science B

 

Social Analysis

 

For more information on fulfilling the Core requirement, see the Core Curriculum Requirement.

All students—regardless of concentration—planning to graduate under the requirements of the Program in General Education must complete one letter-graded course in each of the eight categories in General Education. The Class of 2013 is the first to enter the College under these requirements. Students who entered Harvard College in September 2008 or earlier are expected to fulfill the requirements of the Core Curriculum, but will be permitted to switch to the Program in General Education if such a change is possible and advisable given their overall schedule and plan of study. For more information on the requirements of the Program in General Education and the possibility of switching to it, please see The Program in General Education in Chapter 2 and the General Education website.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

Number of Concentrators as of December

Concentrators

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

East Asian Studies

26

21

25

32

40

EAS + another field

6

4

5

3

1

Another field + EAS

16

18

17

13

13