The program in East Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary exploration of East Asia as a whole region. The program’s foundation is study in Chinese or Japanese language (or both!). Building on this linguistic entryway, students have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the region’s culture through courses taught in English. We believe that this combination gives our students the best possible basis for becoming global citizens informed about this important region.
- Want to know why cicada shells are believed to cure night terrors? Take Dr. Jennifer Johnson-Cooper’s course on Chinese medicine.
- What do Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Gackt, Final Fantasy and the JET Program have in common? They are all manifestations of Japan’s “soft power” that are considered in the course “Understanding Japanese Society through Popular Culture.”
- Translation and Adaptation: The Case of Journey to the West, tracks the famous Ming Dynasty novel as it is translated into other languages as well as other mediums, from Dragon Ball-Z to the rock opera Monkey by Gorillaz.
- Students in Dr. Landeck's samurai course learn the intricate rituals samurai undertook before heading into battle, including the exchange of introductions with the enemy, a volley of whistling arrows, and perfuming their helmets.
- In her course on Martial Arts Narratives, Dr. Jennifer Johnson-Cooper looks at everything from classical Chinese martial arts novels, Bruce Lee, wire-fu, and the latest in CGI-enhanced Hollywood blockbusters to answer questions of identity, politics, and culture in China’s most famous genre of art.
- Did you know that in ancient Japan, men used one writing system while women used a different one? Find out how this split shaped Japanese literature in Dr. Mindy Landeck's, “Gender in East Asia” course.
- Scott Langton’s course Japan & Cinema explores the films of well-known directors (Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa) as well as those of the less well known (Nishikawa Miwa, Ogigami Naoko, Teshigahara Hiroshi), and considers transnational films (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, My Way, Cape No. 7) and how they are viewed by East Asian audiences.
We currently support semester-long programs in China in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an, in Japan in Tokyo and Nagoya, and in Taiwan in Taipei. Close to 90% of our 2016 majors had some international experience in East Asia.
Want to study abroad on someone elses dime? The East Asian Studies faculty work hard to mentor students in locating and applying for scholarships to support studying in China, Japan, or Taiwan. Our students have found success with the Boren Scholarship, the Gilman Scholarship, the Critical Language Scholarship, the Taiwan US-Sisters Alliance, US-Japan Bridging, provider scholarships and more.
Graduates of the East Asian Studies program have also had great success placing into the JET program and the Fulbright program.
Jordan Family Language House
All students who take East Asian Studies are encouraged and eligible to apply for a space in the East Asian House in order to immerse themselves in East Asian languages outside of the regular classroom and on a daily basis. The East Asian House is part of the Austin College Jordan Family Language House.
Meet Our Faculty
Dr. Jennifer T. Johnson-Cooper, who is interested in Chinese language and culture from 4000 years ago to last week, is Associate Professor of Chinese, and Director of the East Asian Studies Program.
Dr. Mindy Landeck, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, can tell you why Japanese warriors gave pretty names to their tea bowls and Chinese emperors gladly drank liquid mercury.
Dr. Scott Langton, whose interests include Japanese language, literature, culture, and aesthetics, is Associate Professor of Japanese.
Alumni Journeys: The First Five Years
My name is Jay Eckert and I graduated from Austin College in 2014 with a double major in Chinese Studies and International Relations. I spent my junior year abroad in China, one semester in Beijing at Beijing Foreign Studies University and one semester in Shanghai at Fudan University. After spending the year in China learning… [Read More]
After double majoring in International Relations and Chinese Studies, Madison Messinger graduated from Austin College in 2014, where she spent a year in China supported by a Gilman Scholarship. During her time at Austin College she was an active volunteer in the local community and received a Global Outreach Fellowship to Taiwan for the summer… [Read More]
Brittany Dimock majored in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a concentration in Chinese, and graduated in 2017. During her time at AC, she was an active member of the Aussies Dance Team, a CL, and served as a TA for intro Chinese. She studied abroad in China from 2015-2016 supported by $20,000 from the… [Read More]
Brittany Subialdea graduated in 2017 with a double major in EALC-Japanese and Computer Science. She studied abroad in Japan in Spring 2016, supported by the prestigious Boren Scholarship. Brittany is currently in a Ph.D. program in computer science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Arthur Yang graduated in 2015 with a major in Chinese and a minor in chemistry, where he worked in a lab for three years. He currently is a medical student pursuing an MD at UT-Medical Branch in Galveston.
Shelby Turner graduated in 2015 with a double major in Japanese and Chinese. She spent her senior year engaged in an honors project, a translation of Taiwanese author Zhu Tianwen’s short story, “Little Bi’s Story,” which she is currently revising for publication. Shelby is currently living in Tokyo as a participant in the JET program.
Phyllis Goode graduated in 2016 with majors in International Relations and EALC-Chinese. While a student at AC, Phyllis was the recipient of a GO Fellowship to do research in Taiwan on Sirayan cultural preservation efforts and a Sumner Foundation Scholarship for her work in political science. She spent the 2014-2015 school year abroad in China… [Read More]