The Department of East Asian Studies of New York University offers a doctoral and master’s program in East Asian Culture. The graduate program is concerned with culture, media, and questions of representation as they relate to the formation of East Asian societies such as China, Japan and Korea in modern times. Rather than pursue the practice of area studies in the traditional sense, the program is committed to a critical and, whenever possible, interdisciplinary examination of East Asia’s modernity in a global configuration. While the program will emphasize how received pasts interact in the modern present of these societies, the principal emphasis will be on the question of modernity in search of its own historicity as both an historical and theoretical problematic.
In the course of their study, students will be challenged to develop a critical awareness of the political, institutional, and methodological consequences, as well as the historical provenance of both disciplinary-based and area studies inquiry. Working with their advisers and other faculty inside and outside the department, students will be encouraged to design their programs around literary and film studies, as well as studies of other media and forms of representation; theoretical or intellectual debates; historiographical inquiry; questions of gender and sexuality; social and political movements; or any combination of the above.
The intellectual strength and identity of our graduate program lies, first of all, in its sharp focus on the modern period and in its dedication to a theoretically informed, interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society of modern East Asia. Our core faculty members specialize in modern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages and literatures; Chinese and Japanese film and media studies; modern Chinese and Japanese intellectual and cultural history; modern Korean society; and comparative studies of nationalism, colonialism, revolution, and cultural politics. This unit of expertise is further reinforced by our truly impressive array of associated members in history, anthropology, religious studies, art history, and cinema studies, whose work are mainly concerned with modern East Asia. This intellectual configuration, both sound in a traditional academic sense and marking a departure from the older area studies model, allows us to address many deep-seated and pressing issues of modern East Asia-as they took shape in the complex of global relations-with a depth of knowledge and critical rigor rarely seen in the field.
As a part of the University community, the Graduate Program in East Asian Culture shares the general dynamic of NYU, which has been embarking on its pursuit to become a truly global university. The program closely works with and benefits form a plethora of interdisciplinary programs, centers, and institutes with a distinct international or internationalizing tendency, such as the International Center for Advanced Studies; the Center for Media, Culture, and History; the Asian/Pacific/ American Studies Program and Institute; the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality; the Institute of Fine Arts, the Institute of the History of Production of Knowledge; the Institute for Law and Society, and so forth, with which our faculty have affiliations or working relations. This internal network of knowledge and knowledge production, coupled with the University-wide resources committed to international student and scholarly exchanges, visits, and coordination, has created a truly stimulating environment in which the student can thrive in his or her study of the modern East Asia.
Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Thomas Looser