The Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations is a relatively new department with a long history. Formally established in 2005 when the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies divided along geographic lines, the Department dates back to the nineteenth century when Penn was one of the first universities to offer courses in the languages and civilizations of what was then referred to as “the Orient.” That is why the Department was called Oriental Studies until it became Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in 1992.

EALC is a department of interdisciplinary scholars who focus on the humanistic tradition of East Asia, covering both the classical and modern civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea. We teach and research the disciplines of history, literary history, linguistics, art history, performance and gender studies, philosophy, religion, and ethics. The Department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in both Chinese and Japanese Studies and is building a parallel program for Korean Studies.

Language is an important part of our program. In addition to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, offered from introductory through advanced levels, we also offer Cantonese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and Thai on a regular basis.