Center for East Asian Studies

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) was one of the first American universities to offer degrees in East Asian studies (1926). Its graduates have had significant impact on the academic study of East Asia and in the professions. East Asia at Penn boasts several scholars of the first rank, and our students are selected from a large international pool of applicants.

More than 60 faculty members have teaching and research specialization in China, Japan, and Korea, mainly in the School of Arts and Sciences, but also in five professional schools: Law, Social Work, Education, Design, and the Wharton School of Business. They offer nearly 200 East Asia-focused courses in disciplines ranging from art history to international management. Language instruction at five levels is offered in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Our programs are supported by the extensive East Asian collections in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and the University Museum. Study overseas is also important at Penn: more than a fourth of our students study abroad, more than those of any of our peer institutions. Penn maintains programs at and exchanges with 26 institutions in all parts of East Asia.

In 1995, East Asian Studies at Penn was organized into a Center. With a new Director and renewed University commitment, CEAS embarked on a mission to enhance East Asian studies by adding faculty, primarily in contemporary topics and social science disciplines, increasing the number and breadth of undergraduate courses in language and area studies, organizing lectures, performances, and seminars, and extending outreach programs to reach the regional and national as well as local arenas. Our success was recognized by our designation as an NRC in 1996, 1999, and 2002.

Bachelor degrees, as well as masters and doctorates, can be earned in a number of humanities, social sciences, and professional fields. Interdisciplinary and inter-School programs of study are encouraged. The Center itself introduced a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts (BA) in East Asian Area Studies, focused on contemporary social science approaches, in 2002, and it will offer beginning in fall 1006 an interdisciplinary Master of Arts (MA) to enable students entering government, military, business, and the professions to study interdisciplinary East Asian curricula. The intention is to meet the growing demand for non-academics who are able to deal effectively with this economically and strategically significant part of the world.

Outreach activities involve hundreds of students, teachers, and business and professional leaders from the entire Mid-Atlantic region. CEAS also has established itself as a leader in training teachers in both secondary and post-secondary schools in Japanese studies. We will continue and expand such training, and plan to extend it to Korean studies. We will also help to found a new internationally-focused high school.
During the next funding cycle, CEAS will continue to improve its program by adding new faculty members, preparing new undergraduate courses, and improving language teaching through several new as well as continuing initiatives. CEAS will also extend the impact of its outreach and training programs to a new, higher level. Korean Studies will be strengthened, and greater articulation with professional schools, especially the Law School, will be achieved.

We believe that the excellence of our faculty, students, and programs and the need for a National Resource Center in the Greater Delaware Valley argue for the continuation of Penn's NRC status. We further believe that the long history and quality of our graduate programs also argue for the expansion of the number of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) awards.