Undergraduate Program

East Asian studies addresses the three societies of China, Japan, and Korea in northeast Asia. We recognize that they compose a meaningful regional designation that contains a diverse range of peoples, languages, and cultures. Linked by centuries of common use of the Chinese writing system, a shared textual canon, general principles of statecraft, and the continual circulation of people and goods, the three societies nevertheless also possess distinctive languages, histories, and social identities, making it necessary to explore each society in its own right.

In recognition of this diversity within the common bonds, East Asian studies at UCSC encourages students to explore East Asia in both depth and breadth. Building first upon developing language skills in Chinese or Japanese, students also begin their studies in one of two historical surveys—History 40A, Early Modern East Asia, or History 40B, The Making of Modern East Asia—which explore the broad regional forces that contextualize each society’s particular trajectory. From these foundations, students are encouraged to investigate a broad range of questions pertinent to each society in classes across the university, including anthropology, economics, education, feminist studies, film and digital media, history, history of art and visual culture, languages, linguistics, literature, music, politics, sociology, and theater arts.