Left: Berkeley circa 1900
East Asian Languages and Cultures is the core department for East Asian Humanities on campus, and home to the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan language programs, offering over one quarter of the total languages courses on campus. As the campus center for research in the literatures and cultures of East Asia, our mission is not only to train students to understand the texts (visual and aural, as well as written) at the core of its literary, religious, and philosophical traditions; we also aim to produce research on the cultures of East Asia that enters into dialogue with innovative work being done in the Humanities on this campus and beyond.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures was one of the first academic departments devoted to the study of Asia established in the United States. Its history dates back to 1872 when one of the founders of the University of California, Edward Tompkins—convinced that the future of the state and its citizens lay not in the Atlantic 'old world' but in the Pacific—presented the then four-year old institution with its first endowed chair, the Agassiz Professorship of Oriental Languages and Literature. More than a century later, the Department continues to build upon its distinguished tradition of scholarship and service as an innovative and vibrant center for the teaching and research of East Asian languages, literatures, and cultures.