East Asian Studies at UC Santa Cruz

The three wise monkeys over the Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan

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 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 a historical survey—HIS 40A, HIS 40B, HIS 80C, or HIS 81—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.