Home Help
 Academic Programs
 Medical Center
 Events Calendar
 Prospective Students
 Faculty & Staff
 About Columbia
 A–Z Index
 E-mail & Computing

Columbia News
Search Columbia News
Advanced Search
News Home | New York Stories | The Record | Archives | Submit Story Ideas | About | RSS Feed

Columbia University East Asian Resources

Centrality of Asian Courses to a Columbia Education

For more than 50 years Columbia undergraduates have studied Asia as part of their general education in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, more than 20 percent of all Columbia College, Barnard College and School of General Studies students enroll in a course about East Asia.

Undergraduate courses and graduate degrees are offered in the history, literature, religion, politics, anthropology, economics, sociology and art history of this region of the world. Professional training in East Asian subjects is part of the Schools of Law, Business, and International and Public Affairs.

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures is central to the East Asian studies major and the Major Cultures section of the undergraduate core curriculum. The Department provides intensive graduate training in East Asian history, literature, thought and culture, and offers all of the University's East Asian language courses.

An array of East Asian courses in other departments -- such as political science, sociology, anthropology, art, history, law and business -- is also available, as are interdisciplinary programs with the Departments of Religion, Comparative Literature, and History.

Columbia boasts an East Asia faculty of more than 70 scholars who play active roles in academic and public life in the United States, Asia and the rest of the world. Eight Columbians have been elected president of the Association for Asian Studies. The Japanese Emperor has honored Donald Keene, James W. Morley and Barbara Ruch, among others.

In addition, Columbia University sponsors a broad range of Institutes, Centers and Programs that offer students and the general public a deep and broad understanding of East Asia. Below are brief descriptions of these key resources.

For further information about these or other Asia-related resources that are not listed below, please visit http://www.columbia.edu/.

Libraries, Centers and Institutes

C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Columbia's East Asian library -- one of the largest outside Asia -- celebrated its centennial in 2002. Established with the creation of a department of Chinese at the start of the 20 th century, the collection has grown to nearly 750,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan and Western-language materials, with additional holdings in Mongol, Manchu and Chinese minority languages and more than 5,500 periodical titles. In 1983 the collection was named the C. V. Starr East Asian Library in honor of The Starr Foundation's commitment to the Library and East Asian studies at Columbia.


Waseda University Library

Since 2002, the Columbia University Library and the Library at Waseda University in Tokyo have been cooperating on exchanges of books and journals published by the presses of both institutions and assisting each other to obtain books, journals and other scholarly information resources, both print and digital, on the basis of equivalent value and mutual benefit. In addition, the two institutions are exploring collaborative digital initiatives, staff exchanges, and the development of close ties between East Asia and North American libraries and their institutions.


Columbia's Institutes and Centers devoted to East Asia act as dynamic hubs connecting different parts of the University with one another and to the wider metropolitan and international community. They include:

Weatherhead East Asian Institute

The Weatherhead East Asian Institute, founded in 1949 as the East Asian Institute, is the interdisciplinary home for the study of modern and contemporary East Asia at Columbia. The Institute brings together faculty, research scholars, and students from Columbia's Schools of International and Public Affairs, Arts and Sciences, Law, and Business to sponsor research, teaching, publishing and public programs on modern East Asia. The interests and expertise of the Institute community include and often combine the fields of history, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, law, business, religion and literature. The geographic scope covers China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as Tibet and Mongolia.


Center for Chinese Legal Studies

With approximately 40 Chinese students and scholars in residence each year, as well as dozens of students from the U.S. and elsewhere who are interested in Chinese law, the Center for Chinese Legal Studies represents one of the largest concentrations of students of Chinese law outside China. Directed by Benjamin Liebman, the center offers courses in Chinese law, oversees the R. Randle Edwards Fellowship for Visiting Chinese Law Scholars, and is the home of the student Society for Chinese Law.


Center for Japanese Legal Studies

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies was established in 1980 with support from the Fuyo group and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. It soon became a major forum of international legal exchange, with regular student and faculty exchanges between Columbia and the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Kyushu University. The Center, directed by Curtis Milhaupt, also awards fellowships for the study of Japanese law and assists students in securing summer legal employment in Japan.


Center for Korean Legal Studies

With the establishment of the Center for Korean Legal Studies in 1994, Columbia Law School became the first American law school to have a center dedicated to the study of Korean law. Funded originally by the Hankook Group and the Korea Foundation, the Center offers courses on the legal systems in the region and hosts programs for Korean judges, officials and law students. Jeong-Ho Roh directs the Center.


Center for Korean Research

Since 1988 the Center for Korean Research, established with funds from the Korea Foundation, the Shin endowment, and other sources, has greatly expanded Columbia's social science, history and literature offerings in Korean studies, which began at the University in 1931. JaHyun Kim Haboush, who brings scholarly expertise in traditional Korean history and literature to Center projects, currently is its chair.


Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

The Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race is the interdepartmental and interdisciplinary home of an undergraduate curriculum and concentration in Asian-American and Latino studies. Committed to making connections across academic and national boundaries, the Center, directed by Gary Okihiro, requires majors to know an Asian language and take a course specifically on Asia.


Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange

On October 1, 1978, prominent composer and Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition Chou Wen-chung established the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange to promote international cultural interactions and global advancement of the arts. During its early years, the Center sponsored an ambitious program to make contemporary music scores, recordings, and publications broadly available in China. In 1983 the Center organized the Chinese production of Death of a Salesman, directed by Arthur Miller himself, in Beijing. Since the early 1990s the Center has been working on an initiative in Yunnan province in southwestern China that is focused on the conservation of indigenous cultures. The Center recently launched a new program addressing the role of East Asian arts in the global community.


Center on Chinese Education

The Center on Chinese Education, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, builds on Teachers College's long history of educational ties to East Asia. Under the direction of Mun Tsang, the Center has initiated a pilot project to provide 5,100 student assistantships to poor children in Yunnan, China. In 2003 the Center celebrated the 100 th anniversary of Teachers College programs related to China by hosting its first International Conference on Chinese Education.


Center on Japanese Economy and Business of the Columbia School of Business

The Center on Japanese Economy and Business of the Columbia School of Business, founded by Hugh Patrick in 1986, has flourished under his leadership to become the preeminent academic center devoted to the Japanese economy, business, and financial and managerial systems. Funded by a large number of corporations and foundations, the Center has established an endowed professorship and other faculty positions. It now has a core faculty of nine scholars and an endowment of more than $8 million.


Chiang Ching-Kuo (CCK) Center for Chinese Cultural and Institutional History

The Chiang Ching-Kuo (CCK) Center for Chinese Cultural and Institutional History is Columbia's newest East Asia center. Established in 1999 with a gift from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, the Center has brought a series of cultural figures from China to New York, including authors Su Tong and Wang Anyi. Under the direction of David Der-wei Wang and Madeleine Zelin, the Center has also sponsored international symposia and conferences in New York, Beijing, Prague and Taiwan.

China International Business Project

The China International Business Project began in 1979 under the leadership of N. T. Wang, who has overseen its programs for American and Chinese corporate professional and public audiences. With the recent pledge of $1 million in matching funds, the Project will become the center for new initiatives in the study of the Chinese economy and business.

Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture

The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture was established in 1986 in honor of Keene 's contributions to Columbia and to the world of scholarship and letters. Its programs have featured such luminaries as Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, the composer Toru Takemitsu, and the architect Shigeru Ban. Noh performances, a benefit concert by the Tokyo String Quartet, international symposia on cultural figures such as the writer Kobo Abe, and other events that attracted the wider New York public led to the center's receiving the prestigious Japan Foundation award in 1996 for its contributions to cultural exchange.


Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies

The Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies celebrated its 35 th anniversary in 2003 under the leadership of Barbara Ruch. The Institute is dedicated to the study of premodern Japan, its religions, and the roles women played in them; it is also engaged in research and restoration work in Japan's Imperial Buddhist Convents. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ealac/imjs/main.html

Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute

The Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD) was established in July 2002 to research and craft solutions for the pressing international development problems of our time. CGSD manages the social sciences activities of the Earth Institute, and its hallmark approach involves interdisciplinary collaborations with natural scientists at the Earth Institute, and with faculty, staff and researchers from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Teachers College, the Columbia Business School , and other academic departments across the University. http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/cgsd/

The East Asia Program of the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (EAP-CGSD) at the Earth Institute, and the Asian Economic Panel (AEP)

The East Asia Program of the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (EAP-CGSD) at the Earth Institute at Columbia University is directed by Wing Thye Woo. Its primary goals are to conduct research that will help economic policymaking in East Asia and to train students to understand the economies in the region. EAP-CGSD co-sponsors the Asian Economic Panel (AEP) with the Global Security Research Center at Keio University and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.


Study Abroad Programs

Columbia's Summer Business Chinese and Internship Program in Shanghai

In response to China's increasing role in global commerce, Columbia has recently initiated a summer Chinese business internship program in Shanghai. The program is a collaboration of Columbia's School of Continuing Education, its department of East Asian languages and cultures (EALAC), and Beijing Language University's Shanghai campus.

M.A. Program in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Tokyo, Teachers College

Since 1987, the M.A. Program in TESOL in Tokyo has provided opportunities for Japanese-speaking teachers of English and English-speaking teachers of English to earn an M.A. while teaching full-time. The program enables participants to relate current practices and theories in TESOL to their day-to-day teaching. It consists of courses, workshops and practica offered during summer and spring vacations, and on weekends.

Columbia University is a consortial member of, or maintains formal exchange relationships with, the following Universities:

• Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan

A program that combines intensive instruction in Japanese with a variety of courses taught in English by Kyoto Center faculty.

• International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

An intensive six-week summer program providing a stimulating environment in which students can increase their understanding of the Japanese language and culture.

• Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan

Two programs: A Japanese Language Intensive Program that teaches the Japanese language in the context of Japanese culture; and, the Summer Session of Asian Studies, the oldest and most extensive of summer sessions in Japan.

• Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Study, Yokohama, Japan

An intensive 10-month program of training in Japanese designed to bring participants to a level of proficiency sufficient for academic or professional use.

• Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Study, Beijing, China

Intensive programs in intermediate and advanced Chinese at National Taiwan University in Taipei and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

• Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Opportunities for Columbia undergraduates to study Asian culture and Korean language. Students who write and converse fluently in Korean are eligible to take regular university courses with Korean students.

Related Links

Published: Mar 26, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

Tell your friend about this story