“I understand now better than ever why I write – all of my effort is directed at getting as close as possible to reality,” a speaker said, with great gusto, to a roomful of mesmerized audiences. This speaker was none other than Yu Hua, a Chinese author, whose famous novels include To Live, and the setting was an event at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, home to everything related to East Asian humanities on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Events like Yu Hua’s reading of his novels are happening almost weekly at EALC. Chinese authors, filmmakers, and artists frequently come here to meet with students, professors, and community members. Japanese kabuki performances are staged live and broadcast around the world via the internet. Korean films are screened on regular basis, with director-led Q&A sessions. All these vibrant scenes are made possible by EALC professors, a group of world-class scholars and dedicated teachers of East Asian studies. The foundation of the Department, our faculty members specialize in a variety of disciplines: anthropology, art, history, linguistics, literature, religion, and media studies.
Together, my colleagues and I invite you to be a member of our community, in virtual reality or in person, as an undergraduate or graduate student, as a member of the audience or as an active contributor to our Department. We offer a variety of undergraduate classes: from language studies of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in multiple levels, survey courses introducing East Asian cultures and civilizations, to more specialized courses on Japanese anime, Chinese martial arts films, or Korean family structure in a changing society. Our undergraduate majors and minors, always with extensive study abroad experience in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, or Korea, have gone on to work for multinational corporations, non-profit organizations, or the US State Department. Many of them are teachers of East Asia in the United States or teachers of English in East Asia. Some have started successful businesses related to East Asia, while others have become professionals. EALC is your gateway to China, Japan, and Korea, as well as a bridge connecting you with your dream career.
EALC has a vibrant graduate program, offering Master’s and PhD degrees in East Asian Studies. Many of our graduates have become professors in the US and in Asia, while non-academic career choices remain popular. Our placement rate is one of the highest among all East Asian graduate programs. An indispensable part of the Department, EALC graduate students are actively engaged in their respective fields by going to conferences and organizing reading groups; and they often receive advanced language training or research in East Asian countries with full financial support.
Please allow me to extend the warmest of welcome. Our door is always open. Feel free to contact me should you have any question about our Department. Support of all forms are appreciated.
--Gary Xu, Head (PhD, Columbia University)