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East Asian Studies

Great Wall of China

The East Asian Studies Program at Smith College offers students the opportunity to develop a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the great civilizations of the Asia Pacific region through its interdisciplinary major and minor. The program also strives to make East Asian study an integral part of the liberal arts education at Smith.

Important Academic Information for Spring 2020

In response to COVID-19, Smith College has implemented alternate modes of instruction for all academic courses for the remainder of the spring semester, as of March 30, 2020. Guidelines and information for academic continuity are available below. For general information, read the college’s FAQ about COVID-19 and visit the digital support for spring 2020 website.

Updates and information will be posted here as soon as they become available.

News & Announcements

EAS Merging With EALL in Fall 2020

In Fall 2020, the Program in East Asian Studies (EAS) and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) will merge into a new department, East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC). Students will be able to pursue both majors (EAL and EAS) within the new department, and there are no changes to major requirements. We are excited to move forward together!


Knowledge Areas

  • Develop a multidimensional understanding of the arts, beliefs, societies and traditions, including a historical dimension, of either one East Asian country or of a specific theme across East Asia as a region.
  • Achieve some awareness both of the particularity and the complexity of different East Asian cultures and societies and of historical and contemporary continuities within the region.
  • Develop a basic understanding of one East Asian culture through the logic of its principal language, as well as through a study of thought, history, society and arts.
  • Demonstrate a broader understanding of contemporary social, political, economic, and cultural developments and themes that are shaping and defining the region.
  • Achieve some experiential understanding of aspects of the culture and language of study.
  • Achieve some acquaintance with the approaches and fundamentals of methodologies associated with the social sciences and humanities.

Skills of Expression and Communication

  • At a minimum, achieve conversational competence as well as ability to read and write at the second-year level of an East Asian language.
  • Be able to express complex ideas and articulate arguments clearly in English, orally and in writing.
  • Apprehend complex thoughts and arguments presented by others in English, both orally and in writing.
  • Communicate in relevant and respectful ways in an academic environment.

Skills of Inquiry and Analysis

  • Explore analytically a text, argument, or social phenomenon in their field.
  • Integrate general and specialized knowledge to ask productive questions and solve problems in their field.
  • Design and carry out an independent, thesis-driven research project (the seminar).
  • Locate and use secondary sources judiciously in research in their field.

Ancient writing on wood

The major in East Asian studies offers students an opportunity to develop a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the great civilizations of the Asia Pacific region. The study of East Asia should be considered an integral part of a liberal arts education. Through an interdisciplinary study of these diverse cultures, students engage in a comparative study of their own societies and values. The major also reflects the emergence of East Asia politically, economically and culturally onto the world scene especially during the last century, and anticipates the continued importance of the region in the future. It therefore helps prepare students for post-graduation endeavors ranging from graduate training to careers in both the public and private sectors dealing with East Asia.

Advisers: Marnie Anderson, Ernest Benz, Suzanne Gottschang, Kimberly Kono, Jessica Moyer, Sujane Wu and Dennis Yasutomo

See the EAS Major Worksheet →


Forty credits, including:

Basis courses

The second year of an East Asian language, which can be fulfilled by Chinese 220 and 221, Japanese 220 and 221, or Korean 220 and 221, or higher-level courses.

Extensive language study is encouraged, but only two courses at the second-year level or higher will count toward the major. Normally, language courses will be taken at Smith. Students with native or near-native fluency in an East Asian language must take a second East Asian language. (Native and near-native fluency is defined as competence in the language above the fourth-year level.)

Survey courses
  1. One history course that covers the pre-modern civilization of an East Asian country:

  • HST 211
  • HST 212
  • HST 220
  • HST 221
  • HST 222
  • HST 223
  • EAL 231
  • EAL 233
  • EAL 234
  • EAL 235
  • EAL 241
  • ARH 200
  • ARH 352
  1. HST 200: Modern East Asia (formerly EAS 100) (normally by the second year) (usually offered in the fall)


Six elective courses, which are normally determined in consultation with the adviser from the list of approved courses.

  • Four of the elective courses shall constitute an area of concentration, which can be an emphasis on the civilization of one country (China, Japan or Korea) or a thematic concentration (e.g., comparative modernization, religious traditions, women and gender, political economy, thought and art). Other concentrations may be formulated in consultation with an adviser.
  • Electives must include courses in both the humanities and social sciences.
  • Electives must include courses on more than one East Asian country.
  • One of the elective courses must be a Smith seminar on East Asia.
  • One elective may be a course, approved by the adviser, offering a broader comparative framework for East Asian Studies.
  • At least half of the course credits toward the major must be taken at Smith.
  • No more than two 100-level courses shall count as electives.
  • Courses in the major may not be taken pass/fail.
  • Normally students with a second major may count a maximum of three courses from the department of that other major toward the EAS major.

The interdepartmental minor in East Asian studies is a program of study designed to provide a coherent understanding of and basic competence in the civilizations of China, Japan and Korea. It may be undertaken in order to broaden the scope of any major; to acquire, for comparative purposes, an Asian perspective within any of the humanistic and social-scientific disciplines; or as the basis of future graduate work and careers related to East Asia.

Advisers: Marnie Anderson, Ernest Benz, Suzanne Gottschang, Kimberly Kono, Jessica Moyer, Sujane Wu and Dennis Yasutomo


The minor consists of a total of six courses (24 credits), with no more than three courses taken at other institutions. Courses taken away from Smith require the approval of the East Asian Studies Advisory Committee.

  1. HST 200: Modern East Asia (formerly EAS 100) (normally by the second year).
  2. Five elective courses which shall be determined in consultation with the adviser.
  • One year of an East Asian language is strongly encouraged and may constitute two elective courses. (One semester of a language may not be counted as an elective.)
  • No course taken for a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade counts toward the minor.

Director: Ernest Benz

The honors program is a one-year program taken during the senior year. If admitted, students write a thesis in both semesters of the senior year. Admission requires a grade point average of 3.5 inside and outside the major. The central feature of the honors program is the writing of a senior thesis with the guidance of a faculty adviser.

If you would like to be considered for the honors program, meet with a faculty member in East Asian studies during the spring semester of your junior year to discuss your ideas and develop a proposal with the assistance of the potential thesis supervisor. Your proposal should include a full description of your topic, your planned research methodology (the breadth of sources you will use and how), a brief description of how your project fits into the scholarship on this topic, and a preliminary bibliography (including primary and secondary sources). The college requires that the faculty supervisor for the thesis be a member of the program, although you may have a second reader in another department or program. Submit your proposal to the director of honors in the Program in East Asian Studies by May 1, with the thesis supervisor’s signature. Detailed information and the official application for honors are available at the class deans’ website.

  1. The thesis will be a two-semester thesis.
  2. The GPA required for courses within the major is 3.5.
  3. The GPA required for courses outside the major is also 3.5.

In considering departmental honors, we will weigh as follows:

  • Thesis=60%
  • GPA for courses within the major=30%
  • Thesis defense=10%


Check the Smith College Course Catalog for current offerings, times and locations.


EAL 233 Chinese Travel Writing
Sujane Wu

EAL 235 Class, Gender and Material Culture in Late Imperial China
Jessica D. Moyer 

EAL 242 Modern Japanese Literature
Kimberly Kono

EAL 253 Korean Cinema: Cinema and the Masses
Irhe Sohn 

FYS 150 Writing and Power in China
Jessica D. Moyer

REL 264 Buddhist Meditation 
Jamie Hubbard

REL 270 Zen Buddhism and Japanese Culture 
Jamie Hubbard


GOV 228 Government and Politics of Japan
Dennis Yasutomo 

GOV 230 Chinese Politics
Sara A. Newland

GOV 348 Seminar in International Politics
Conflict & Cooperation in Asia
Dennis Yasutomo 

HST 200 Modern East Asia
Ernest Benz

HST 214 (C) Aspects of Chinese History
The World of Thought in China
Daniel K. Gardner


To see the spring semester departmental and cross-listed courses, go to the Smith College Course Search


BUS 254 Buddhist Culture and Thought of Japan (Global FLEX Program), Jamie Hubbard

EAL 234 Self and Society in Chinese Fiction and Drama, Elena Chiu

EAL 241 Literature and Culture in Premodern Japan: Court Ladies, Wandering Monks and Urban Rakes, Joannah Peterson

EAL 245 Writing, Japan and Otherness, Kimberly Kono

EAL 254 Modern Korean Literature in Translation, Irhe Sohn

EAL 262 Representation of Women in Chinese Culture, Lingqian Kong

EAL 273 Women and Narration in Modern KoreaIrhe Sohn

EAL 281 Colloquium: Revising the Past in Chinese Literature and Film, Sujane Wu

EAL 291 Writing Empire: Images of Colonial Japan, Kimberly Kono

EAL 360 Seminar: Topics in East Asian Languages and Literatures. Topic: Monglou Meng: The Dream of the Red Chamber, Sujane Wu


ANT 223 In Sickness and in Health: Biopolitics, Public Health, and Medicine in East Asia, Suzanne Gottschang

ENV 230 Colloquium: Environment and Society in Contemporary China, Daniel K. Gardner

GOV 251 Foreign Policy of JapanDennis Yasutomo

GOV 253 Colloquium: Culture and Diplomacy in AsiaDennis Yasutomo

GOV 340 Seminar: Politics of Cultural Pluralism. Topic: Taiwan: Internal Politics and Cross-Strait Relations, Sara A. Newland

HST 217 (L) World War Two in East Asia: History and MemoryMarnie S. Anderson

HST 223 Women and Gender in Japanese History. Topic: Women in Japanese History from Ancient Times to the 19th Century, Marnie S. Anderson

HST 343 Seminar: Problems in World HIstory. Topic: Manchuria Between Empires, Sergey Glebov








Participating Faculty

Daniel Gardner
Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History

Jamie Hubbard
Professor of Religion, Yehan Numata Professor in Buddhist Studies and Jill Ker Conway Chair of Religion and East Asian Studies

Maki Hubbard
Professor of Japanese Language & Literature

Sabina Knight
Professor of Chinese and of Comparative Literature 

Margaret Sarkissian
Professor of Music

Opportunities & Resources

CRCC Asian Internship Opportunities in China

CRCC Asia offers students international internship experience in Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen. They oversee all aspects of the program similar to a study abroad program, while also placing students with a host company in the sector of their choice. 

Japan Empowerment

GPI US accepts interns as group leaders to gain hands-on experience in the field of international education and cross-cultural communication.

Summer Internships at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan

Since 2007, ICAS at TUJ has hosted summer interns from many universities across the world. These unpaid summer internships for non-TUJ students (undergraduate and graduate) offer an opportunity to spend a summer in Tokyo. 

Internship Opportunities at the Korea Society

These internships afford unique opportunities to understand the inner workings of a nonprofit organization, and to learn and contribute to the social, cultural, economic, political and security dimensions of the U.S.-Korea relationship. 

Wittenburg University East Asian Studies Journal

Submissions can include nonfiction (academic papers, research studies, etc.), fiction (short stories, poetry, etc. written in respective language), translations, as well as artwork. All submissions must center on an East Asian country, particularly China, Japan, or Korea, yet the specific topic or theme can fall within a wide range. 

Internships with ChART Contemporary in Beijing

Bilingual Assistant Job Opportunity

ChART Contemporary is a Beijing-based art consultancy and curatorial lab seeking an intern to work directly with the director and oversee daily operations. Tasks include general clerical duties; maintaining and organizing the filing system; scheduling and coordinating meetings for directors; preparing documents, agendas and schedules; and maintaining office equipment and supplies. Ideal candidate will have general computer literacy on a Mac or PC, knowledge of clerical and adminstrative procedures, fluency in both Mandarin and English (spoken and written). 

Social Media & Press Coordinator Intern

ChART Contemporary seeks Interns to spearhead social media, marketing and press tasks. The ideal candidates are outgoing and confident and have a comfortable front-line presence, both on the phone and in person. They must also be dependable, punctual and upbeat. Candidates for this position should be highly motivated, excellent at multitasking, fluent in English, fluent in Mandarin (oral and written), adept at using a Mac and looking to gain experience in social media and marketing. Interns will report to the director and should be comfortable using the following software: In-Design, CS5 Suite and Microsoft Office. Ideal applicants should love computers, blogging and social media. Part-time and full-time applicants are encouraged to apply. Attention to detail and passion are essential. 

Marketing Intern

ChART Contemporary is seeking an intern to assist with marketing. In exchange for a commitment of three days a week at ChART’s Beijing location, interns will gain hands-on marketing experience at an international art consultancy. Students should have experience in public relations. Journalism and/or communications major ideal. Responsibilites include updating records of marketing campaigns, email marketing lists, researching and analyzing market results, and providing analytical and reporting support. 

New Product Development Research Intern

The new product development research intern will handle all phases of product development, ensuring all products meet design and quality specifications and are delivered in the timeframe required. The intern will communicate all agreed upon product specifications and changes to the manufacturers, and work directly with the directors. From pre-production research, including production specifications and schedules, prototypes, costing, color correction, packaging development and final samples. Computer literacy required (such as Excel, Powerpoint, Microsoft Word).

For all positions, please send cover letter, resume and photo to with the position title in the subject line. For the marketing intern position, please also send a 2-3 page sample that demonstrates any skills that relate to marketing. Contact Professor Dan Gardner for more information on these internships.

Friends of Nature

China's oldest environmental NGO based in Beijing.

The Nature Conservatory

Nature Conservatory helps to preserve China's forest, wildlife, and water. Students can intern in the U.S. or in China.

Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims

CLAPV is a high-profile agency that does cutting-edge environmental work in Beijing. 

Critical Language Scholarship Program

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

Boren Awards

Boren scholarships and fellowships provides funding for U.S. undergraduates and graduate students to study in African, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

MIT-Japan Program

The MIT-Japan Program provides multiple internship opportunities and provides airfare and housing.

Temple University, Japan Campus

Temple University, Japanese Campus, offers both paid and unpaid internship with NGOs, embassies and multinational organizations in the Tokyo area. Students continue their course work (for internship credit) and work 10 to 20 hours per week. A faculty adviser oversees and evaluates student performance.

Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association

The Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting college students from across the country to the budding Taiwanese American community.

Volunteers in Asia (VIA)

Launch your social impact career by applying for a one-year Global Community Fellowship in Asia. Contact Patrick Arnold, director of programs. 

Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies

The HNC opened in 1986 as a one-of-a-kind educational collaboration between The Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University. Located on the downtown campus of Nanjing University, the center upholds the highest American and Chinese academic standards in the pursuit of educating future leaders for increasingly complex relations between China and the world community. The Hopkins-Nanjing Center brings together American students and those from other countries with Chinese students in three graduate studies program options: a one-year certificate, a two-year master of arts in international studies, and a five-semester degree option in Nanjing and Washington, D.C.

Jet Program

Established in 1987, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is aimed at promoting grass-roots international exchange between Japan and other nations. Every year, the Japanese government invites thousands of young college and university graduates from overseas throughout Japan every year. It is one of the largest exchange programmes in the world. JET Programme participants are employed as one of the following positions: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT), Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), or Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA).

Ameson Year in China

Through the AYC, recently graduated students can teach English for one academic year at a secondary school, primary school or adult learning center. Participants must be native English speakers, graduated from college, and display patience and flexibility in new envrionments. AYC will provide housing, a monthly stipend, free Chinese lessons, sponsorship for a type Z working visa, reimbursement of airfare and basic health insurance.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Students with a master’s degree looking for a doctoral program in anthropology may wish to consider applying for the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme through the Department of Anthropology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Established by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) in 2009, the fellowship aims to attract students from all over the world to pursue their doctoral studies in Hong Kong. The Fellowship provides a monthly stipend and a conference travel allowance for a maximum period of four years.

Master of Arts Programme in Comparative and Public History (MACPH)

The M.A. Programme of Comparative and Public History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong strives to stress global perspective in the study of history with comparative and cross-cultural research methods. Graduate students learn more about modern China’s development as a rising power and its challenges and opportunities related to globalization.

Pagoda and Bridge in Hangzhou, China

Adviser: Dennis Yasutomo

Junior Year Abroad programs are encouraged at approved institutions in East Asia; we recommend the Associated Kyoto Program for Japan; Associated Colleges in China (ACC) for China; and Ewha Women’s University for Korea. Approved programs can be found at the Office for International Study website.


Courses taken abroad, as well as courses taken away from Smith at other domestic institutions, may count toward the major under the following conditions:

  • The courses are reviewed and approved by the East Asian Studies Advisory Committee upon completion.
  • Courses taken away from Smith must not total more than half of the credits counted toward the major.

Be sure to consult with your major adviser as you make your study abroad plans.


Associated Colleges in China (Smith-affiliated program)
TERMS: Summer/Fall/Spring
PREREQUISITES: One year of college-level Chinese (second-year Chinese offered summer only).
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: ACC is a language-intensive program with an extremely rigorous study schedule. Students should expect to spend most of their time attending classes, completing assignments and studying. A language pledge is upheld by professors and staff, and 35-40 undergraduate and graduate students attend. Second-year Chinese offered summer only; Third- and fourth-year offered all three terms. Preference is given to students studying two consecutive terms. Students live in a foreign student dorm and have day visits to host families on weekends. ACC is run by Hamilton College and hosted by Minzu University of China (MUC) in Beijing.

Middlebury in China, In Association with CET - Hangzhou
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
LOCATION: Hangzhou
PREREQUISITES: Two years of college-level Chinese study or equivalent.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Study at Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou, 100 miles from Shanghai. Course work includes a one-on-one tutorial, one-on-two speaking class, and electives including classical Chinese, newspaper reading and Chinese film studies. A wide range of co-curricular activities is also available. Students who study for the full year have the option of enrolling in a mainstream course with Chinese students in the spring. Students are paired with a ZUT student and live in university dormitories.

Middlebury in China, in association with CET - Beijing
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
PREREQUISITES: Two years of college-level Chinese study or equivalent.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Based at Capitol Normal University, students gain a broad understanding of Chinese culture, history and issues of contemporary significance, while allowing them the flexibility to focus on specific issues through service learning or focused study. Course work includes a one-on-one tutorial, one-on-two speaking class, and electives. A wide range of co-curricular activities is also available. Students who study for the full year have the option of enrolling in a mainstream course with Chinese students in the spring. Students are paired with CNU students and live in university dormitories.

Middlebury in China, in association with CET- Kunming
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
PREREQUISITES: Two years of college-level Chinese study or equivalent
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Based at Yunnan University, students gain an understanding of Chinese culture and society and are immersed in a region of more than twenty-six ethnic groups. Students have the opportunity to study and work on issues related to the environment, take courses in departments such as anthropology alongside their Chinese counterparts. Course work includes a one-on-one tutorial, one-on-two speaking class, and electives. A wide range of co-curricular activities is also available. Students who study for the full year have the option of enrolling in a mainstream course with Chinese students in the spring. Students are paired with YU students and live in university dormitories.

The Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites include the equivalent of two years of college-level Mandarin by the application deadline.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: U.S.-sponsored Chinese language program intended for undergraduates, graduates, professionals and established scholars who aspire to advanced competence. Students spend approximately twenty hours per week in class, with one individual class and the three hours of small group classes daily (1:3 teacher to student ratio for group classes). Students have the choice of living in dormitories or living with host families.


Pagoda on the lake in Hangchou China


Smith Consortium Program
Smith in Japan: Associated Kyoto Program
TERM: Year
PREREQUISITES: One year of Japanese and one Japan-related course other than language.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: AKP emphasizes Japanese language acquisition, and elective courses include Japanese history, culture, literature, politics and economics taught in English by consortium faculty. AKP is based at Doshisha University, and students live with host families. Students may join Doshisha student clubs and circles or study traditional arts with local teachers and artists through AKP's network in Kyoto.
NOTE: Interested students may contact professors Marnie Anderson, Maki Hubbard, James Hubbard, Thomas Rohlich or Dennis Yasutomo.


Japan Study

Established in 1963, Japan Study is one of the oldest and most comprehensive programs in educational exchange and development linking colleges and universities in the United States and Japan. Based at Earlham College, Japan Study links member colleges of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, Inc. and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest with those of Waseda University in Japan. These colleges and universities are recognized as among the leading educational institutions in the respective societies. Waseda University has about 45,000 students. Japan Study has made important contributions toward fostering the growth of international and intercultural understanding among a significant number of Japanese and American students and faculty.



CIEE at Yonsei University
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Yonsei, a university with 30,000 graduate and undergraduate students, is 20 minutes from the center of Seoul. The Division of International Education offers junior year abroad courses in English; students proficient in Korean may take general university courses.

Summer Program at Ewha Woman's University (Seoul)
Each year, Smith College selects six students to attend Ewha International Summer School tuition free. Applicants with a strong interest in studying the Korean language and culture, one year of Korean study and a 3.0 GPA are preferred. Korean nationals are not generally eligible. Students may also apply for International Experience Grants for financial assistance. Students who are selected by Smith are responsible for applying directly to Ewha International Summer School for admission and for obtaining the proper visa.

Seoul National University Korean Language and Culture Program
TERMS: Fall/Spring/Year
HIGHLIGHTS: First developed bu SNU's Language Education Institute in 1969 to provide intensive Korean language training to foreign students admitted to Korean Universities and to those interested in learning Korean. Offers language instruction, courses in Korean and English at SNU. Students live in dormitories or off-campus.

Helpful Links




Program in East Asian Studies
18 Henshaw Avenue, B1-204
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3591

Administrative Assistant:
Kathleen Gauger

EAS Liaisons:
Joyce Kim ’21 and Emily Valin ’22

Individual appointments can be arranged directly with the faculty.