About East Asian Studies

Sumiyoshi ShrineEast 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 common bonds, East Asian Studies at UC Santa Cruz 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—Early Modern East Asia (History 40A) or The Making of Modern East Asia (History 40B)— 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. Because the minor is designed to support the integration of language training with exploration of East Asian societies, we also strongly endorse participation in one of the many Education Abroad Programs available for UC students in East Asia where language skills acquired at the university are put to practical use in daily life and research.