Greetings from the Department Chair
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC) has long been recognized as an international leader in the study of the histories, literatures, cultures, religions, and languages of East Asia. EALAC’s coverage has historically comprised the cultures and languages of China, Japan, and Korea. In 2005, the department expanded its expertise to Tibetan Studies, which has become a major field of study at Columbia University, and in 2017 EALAC enlarged its East Asian scope to include the culture, history, and languages of Vietnam.
Our language lecturers provide language instruction in modern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Vietnamese, and our faculty and lecturers provide instruction in the classical languages as well, in classical Chinese, classical Japanese, kanbun, mixed-script Korean, and classical Tibetan.
EALAC works closely with the faculty at Barnard College, the History Department, the Religion Department, and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, many of whom hold joint appointments.
EALAC provides both an interdisciplinary East Asian Studies undergraduate major and concentration, which serve a wide variety of students seeking careers. Our MAO program prepares a significant number of students for Ph.D. study and trains those seeking expertise in a wide range of fields. Our PhD program has produced hundreds of distinguished scholars and leaders who occupy university positions throughout the world.
The CV Starr East Asian Library, which is housed in the same building as the EALAC faculty, has dedicated librarians in each of the major regions of East Asia and boasts one of the largest collections of East Asian and Tibetan materials in the Western World.
Our department has always included historians, literary scholars, and scholars of religion. More recently, EALAC added specialists in film, visual culture, and media studies and has expanded into fields such as the history of science, environmental studies, global history, anthropology, and sociology. Our simultaneous commitment to both modern/contemporary and pre-modern has paid rich dividends, creating rich clusters in ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern studies across East Asia and the globe.