East Asian Humanities

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The East Asian Humanities major provides students with an understanding of East Asian cultures through an innovative curriculum taught by scholars of East Asian literature, culture, thought, and religion. The major is deliberately and insistently comparative and offers multiple disciplinary perspectives. It provides students with the opportunity to range across the rich diversity of East Asian cultures—Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Mongolian--through the array of disciplines and specialties represented in the department, including literary, cultural, visual, and sound studies, religion, philosophy, film and media studies, disability studies, and environmental humanities.

Some courses focus on East Asia’s shared cultural heritages, others on humanistic responses to historical and sociological phenomena, others on systems of thought and belief, and yet others on the analysis and appreciation of the artistry of cultural invention.

The major can be completed entirely through courses taught in English, with the option of taking courses in the original language at the advanced level. There are no language prerequisites.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

Lower Division Requirements

Two Lower Division Courses, together covering at least two geographical or cultural spheres (8 Units)

EA LANG/BUDDSTD C50Introduction to the Study of Buddhism4
CHINESE 7AIntroduction to Premodern Chinese Literature and Culture4
CHINESE 7BIntroduction to Modern Chinese Literature and Culture4
JAPAN 7AIntroduction to Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture4
JAPAN 7BIntroduction to Modern Japanese Literature and Culture4
KOREAN 7AIntroduction to Premodern Korean Literature and Culture4
KOREAN 7BIntroduction to Modern Korean Literature and Culture4

Upper Division

Two Anchor Courses (8 Units)

CHINESE 186Confucius and His Interpreters4
EA LANG 101Catastrophe, Memory, and Narrative: Comparative Responses to Atrocity in the Twentieth Century4
EALANG 103Course Not Available
EA LANG 106Expressing the Ineffable in China and Beyond: The Making of Meaning in Poetic Writing4
EA LANG 107War, Empire, and Literature in East Asia4
EA LANG 110Bio-Ethical Issues in East Asian Thought4
EA LANG 112The East Asian Sixties4
EA LANG 119The History of Heaven4
EA LANG 125The Art of Writing: Writing the Limits of Empathy4
EA LANG C128Buddhism in Contemporary Society4
EA LANG 180East Asian Film: Directors and their Contexts4


Majors will be required to select four electives that span at least two regions across East Asia, rather than focusing on a single geographic, linguistic, or cultural sphere as in the existing Chinese and Japanese majors, or the Korean minor. These courses may include classical languages, and all courses numbered 101 and above, excluding Fourth and Fifth-year Advanced Language and Readings classes. A maximum of one year of upper-division courses in any modern language may count for the major. 

Two of the elective courses must focus on the premodern period and two must focus on the modern period.

Premodern Electives
Introduction to Literary Chinese
and Introduction to Literary Chinese
CHINESE C116Buddhism in China4
CHINESE 120Ancient Chinese Prose4
CHINESE 122Ancient Chinese Poetry4
CHINESE 130Topics in Daoism4
CHINESE 134Readings in Classical Chinese Poetry4
CHINESE 136Readings in Medieval Prose4
CHINESE C140Readings in Chinese Buddhist Texts4
CHINESE 155Readings in Vernacular Chinese Literature4
CHINESE 176Bad Emperors: Fantasies of Sovereignty and Transgression in the Chinese Tradition4
CHINESE 178Traditional Chinese Drama4
CHINESE 179Exploring Premodern Chinese Novels4
CHINESE 180The Story of the Stone4
JAPAN C115Buddhism and its Culture in Japan4
JAPAN 116Introduction to the Religions of Japan4
JAPAN 120Introduction to Classical Japanese4
JAPAN 130Classical Japanese Poetry4
JAPAN 132Premodern Japanese Diary (Nikki) Literature4
JAPAN 140Heian Prose4
JAPAN C141Introductory Readings in Kanbun4
JAPAN 144Edo Literature4
JAPAN 170Classical Japanese Literature in Translation4
KOREAN 130Genre and Occasion in Traditional Poetry4
KOREAN 140Narrating Persons and Objects in Traditional Korean Prose4
MONGOLN 110Literary Mongolian4
MONGOLN 116The Mongol Empire4
MONGOLN C117Mongolian Buddhism4
Intensive Readings in Tibetan
and Intensive Readings in Tibetan
Tibetan Buddhism
and Intensive Readings in Tibetan
TIBETAN 116Traditional Tibet4
TIBETAN 119Tibetan Medicine in History and Society4
TIBETAN C154Death, Dreams, and Visions in Tibetan Buddhism4
Modern Electives
CHINESE 153Reading Taiwan4
CHINESE 156Modern Chinese Literature4
CHINESE 157Contemporary Chinese Literature4
CHINESE 158Reading Chinese Cities4
CHINESE 172Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema4
CHINESE 187Literature and Media Culture in Taiwan4
CHINESE 188Popular Media in Modern China4
JAPAN 155Modern Japanese Literature4
JAPAN 159Contemporary Japanese Literature4
JAPAN 160Introduction to Japanese Linguistics: Grammar4
JAPAN 161Introduction to Japanese Linguistics: Usage4
JAPAN 163Translation: Theory and Practice4
JAPAN 173Modern Japanese Literature in Translation4
JAPAN 178Murakami Haruki and Miyazaki Hayao: the Politics of Japanese Culture from the Bubble to the Present4
JAPAN 180Ghosts and the Modern Literary Imagination4
JAPAN 181Reframing Disasters: Fukushima, Before and After4
JAPAN 185Introduction to Japanese Cinema4
JAPAN 188Japanese Visual Culture: Introduction to Anime4
JAPAN 189Topics in Japanese Film4
KOREAN 150Modern Korean Poetry4
KOREAN 153Readings in Modern Korean Literature4
KOREAN 155Modern Korean Fiction4
KOREAN 157Contemporary Korean Literature4
KOREAN 170Intercultural Encounters in Korean Literature4
KOREAN 172Gender and Korean Literature4
KOREAN 174Modern Korean Fiction in Translation4
KOREAN 180Critical Approaches to Modern Korean Literature4
KOREAN 185Picturing Korea4
KOREAN 186Introduction to Korean Cinema4
KOREAN 187History and Memory in Korean Cinema4
KOREAN 188Cold War Culture in Korea: Literature and Film4
KOREAN 189Korean Film Authors4
MONGOLN 118Modern Mongolia4
TIBETAN 115Contemporary Tibet4
TIBETAN 118The Politics of Modern Tibet4



To declare the Major, please schedule an appointment with the departmental advisor on Calendly: https://calendly.com/cassandra-dunn-ug-advisor.
For quick questions about requirements, you can email the departmental advisor at cassandrajj@berkeley.edu.

Contact Information

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

3413 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3480

Fax: 510-642-6031


Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Robert Ashmore

3403 Dwinelle Hall


Student Services Advisor

Cassandra Dunn

7228 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-643-8741


Back to Top