People of EALAC
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures has long been recognized as an international leader in the study of the societies and communities 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, and as of 2017, is expanding yet again into Vietnamese studies.
EALAC has always included historians, literary scholars, and scholars of religion and thought, and regarded the interaction among these fields and faculty to be a central attraction of the department. Additionally, 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. More recently, responding to the growing importance of non-print media, we have been able to add specialists in film and visual culture.
Our outstanding language lecturers provide all the formal language instruction in the modern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Vietnamese languages that are offered for students at Columbia, Barnard and the Columbia professional schools, and our professorial faculty and lecturers together provide all the instruction in the classical languages of the same regions: classical Chinese, classical Japanese and kanbun, mixed-script Korean, and classical Tibetan.
A department that covers the histories, cultures, and literatures of five major nations cannot but emphasize connections, interactions, and comparisons among the four, and beyond, and to an ever increasing extent the students who come to us are interested in “transnational” studies. At the same time, the participation of our faculty as full members of disciplinary departments guarantees the continued participation of regional specialists in the methodological and comparative projects important to scholarship on the large questions of concern today.