Majoring in East Asian Studies


Our program blends traditional concepts and modern ideas, much like East Asia itself. You gain a broad perspective on the nations and peoples of the region, including their language, literature, history, government and rich cultural heritage. Drawing on the College's extensive resources, you explore East Asia's economic and geopolitical realities, ethnic and cultural identities, and contemporary social issues. We regularly add new classes that build on the major's interdisciplinary approach, global viewpoint and deep interest in what's happening in East Asia today. Chinese and Japanese language students practice their skills by teaching at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London.

Special opportunities

The study of languages and cultures is, by nature, interdisciplinary. We support students who combine their interest in East Asia with a certificate from one of the College's interdisciplinary centers or a second major, such as international relations, economics, history or gender and women's studies. If you have an interest in art, you might work with our collection of Chinese paintings or Japanese prints and woodcuts, including works by Hiroshige.

International opportunities and study abroad

We offer ample opportunities for study and internships abroad. You might research the place of women in corporate Japan, work in an elementary school in Yunnan Province or learn about traditional Chinese medicine in a Beijing hospital. On campus, you can explore the Pacific Rim through an Asian film series, Lunar New Year festivities, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and taiko drumming. You can also join the department's advisory board and be active with the College's organization for Asian and Asian-American students. We encourage you to apply for international grants, such as the Freeman-ASIA Awards, Fulbright fellowships and Gilman International scholarships.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in East Asian Studies?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Associate Director of Global Client Services & Sales, Standard & Poor's
  • Marketing Representative, Hotel Okura Tokyo
  • Executive Director, SinagTala Arts Management (Philippines)
  • Assistant Director and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Specialist in Chinese Art, Bonhams
  • Program Assistant, Standard & Poor's
  • Global Marketing Director, Baker & McKenzie
  • Manager of Asia/ Pacific Regulatory Affairs, Ariel/ 3E Co.
  • Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Chinese Teacher, New York City Department of Education
  • International Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Assistant Business Development Manager, EuroMed Inc.
  • Broker and Trader, Bank of America
  • General Counsel, Sony Mobile Communications
  • Research and Program Assistant, University of Colorado Program for Teaching in East Asia
  • Senior Program Adviser, The Asia Foundation
  • International Teaching Associate, Princeton in Asia (Singapore)
  • Editor, Immersant
  • English Teacher, Ichikawa Board of Education
  • Marketing Executive, TOTO Asia Oceania


Amy Dooling, Associate Professor of Chinese Amy Dooling, Associate Professor of Chinese

Amy Dooling, Associate Professor of Chinese
Modern and Contemporary Chinese fiction and drama • Chinese women's writing • History of the women's movement and feminism in China • Translation

Yibing Huang, Associate Professor of Chinese Yibing Huang, Associate Professor of Chinese

Yibing Huang, Associate Professor of Chinese  (On sabbatical Spring 2015)
Modern and contemporary Chinese literature, cinema, popular culture • Comparative studies of modernism and postmodernism in China and in the West • Cultural translations between Chinese poetry and modern American poetry

Tek-wah King, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Tek-wah King, Senior Lecturer in Chinese

Tek-wah King, Senior Lecturer in Chinese
Syntax and morphology • Chinese writing system and dialects • Language pedagogy

Hisae Kobayashi, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Hisae Kobayashi, Senior Lecturer in Japanese

Hisae Kobayashi, Senior Lecturer in Japanese
Language pedagogy • Japanese language

Takeshi Watanabe, Assistant Professor of Japanese Takeshi Watanabe, Assistant Professor of Japanese

Takeshi Watanabe, Assistant Professor of Japanese
Japanese literature and culture • Literary and visual interpretations of history

Student profile

Cannea Ferguson Cannea Ferguson

East Asian Studies

Q: What led you to the major?
A: In high school, I was intrigued by the tonality of spoken Chinese along with the complex strokes of written Chinese characters. As a prospective student, I attended an intensive Chinese class at Connecticut College and was inspired to continue learning more about Chinese language and culture at the undergraduate level.

Q: What has been your most challenging or rewarding class?
A: Chinese 101: Intensive Elementary Chinese. The intensive coursework pushed me to take responsibility for my language learning, and Professors Tek-wah King and Amy Dooling always encouraged me to do my best work. Over the course of a year, I developed a strong foundation in written and spoken Chinese that prepared me for study abroad.

Q: Did you study abroad?
A: I studied abroad for six months in the Associated Colleges in China's (ACC) Intensive Language & Culture Program in Beijing. The full-time language pledge gave me the opportunity to greatly improve my linguistic and cultural proficiency in a total immersion setting.

Selected courses

  • Introduction to Asian Art
  • Narratives of the East Asian Diaspora
  • Confronting Images of Modern Japan
  • Afterlives and Apocalypses: Post-war Japanese Cinema
  • Peripheries and Differences: Re-Imagining Contemporary China
  • Chinese Poetry and its American Legacies
  • Modern Chinese Women's Writing in Translation
  • Transnational Asia and the Post-Exotic
  • Transnational Asian Cinema
  • Beyond "The Orient": Critical Approaches to East Asian Literature and Film
  • History of Gender and Sexuality in Japan, 1850s-1980
  • From Tea to Connecticut Rolls: Defining Japanese Culture through Food
  • Intensive Intermediate Chinese I
  • Intensive Intermediate Chinese II
  • The Fantastic Other: Travel, History, Utopia;


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