• Sunset behind mountains with building

East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,
UC Santa Barbara


The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies is dedicated to the study of the civilizations of China, Japan and Korea in all their richness and diversity. Study focuses not only on East Asia’s increasingly vital role on the world scene, but also on various elements of the region’s long and fascinating history.

Chair's Welcome

Picture of Mayfair Yang
Mayfair Yang, Department Chair
The societies of East Asia today (China, Japan, and Korea), comprise an area of the world that is an economic powerhouse, a fountain of dynamic cultural and media creations, a producer of technological innovations, with a long and continuous recorded history going back to ancient times. The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies tries to do justice to this very important corner of the globe with a vibrant and diverse curriculum and world-class academic research.

We offer the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degree programs in Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and Asian Studies, with plans to build up our Korean Studies program.

Our Department faculty are rigorously trained in a variety of academic disciplines: literature and literary history, popular culture and media studies, drama and theater, social and art history, gender studies, religious history and religious studies of contemporary societies, environmental humanities, translation studies, anthropology, and sociology. We teach elementary, intermediate, and advanced Chinese, Japanese, and Korea language courses, as well as translation classes. We also offer content classes on medieval Daoism and Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, as well as the anthropology of religion in modern times. Classes on premodern Chinese and Japanese literature, calligraphy, and painting provide students with a good grasp of the cultural sophistication of these civilizations. Gender studies is covered by courses on women’s literature, masculinity, and gendered power relations in East Asian societies. We also have courses on modern Chinese and Japanese history, and contemporary Chinese, Japanese, and Korean literature and film. Courses on the anthropology of modern East Asian societies and East Asian environmental humanities immerse students in the modern transformation of East Asia.

We look forward to welcoming some of you to our Department for a physical visit, once the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines have been deemed sufficient. Meanwhile, we welcome you to peruse our Department website digitally at a safe distance.

Anti-racism Statement

We, the faculty in EALCS, condemn the racism and violence against the Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) in this country and beyond. The settler colonial occupation of the United States entailed the removal of Indigenous tribes to clear the land for enslaved African and Black people, whose labor literally built the nation. Thus, our society is founded on the dispossession of Indigenous Americans, enslavement of Black Americans, and settler colonialism by European immigrants. Most recently, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor and too many others are not just tragic but deeply unjust. We recognize the persistent anti-blackness and racial inequity rooted in this centuries-old injustice...

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