Scholarship and teaching about East Asia at Brown University goes back many years. Chinese language instruction began in the early 1960s in what was then the Department of Linguistics. Instruction in Chinese history followed soon afterwards, housed first in the Department of Political Science, between 1969 and 1976 in the Department of Asian History, and since then in the Department of History. The addition of a Japanese historian, and scholars of early Chinese and Japanese literatures in the Department of Comparative Literatures led in the mid-1980s to the creation of the new Department of East Asian Studies, which became home to language instruction faculty in Chinese, Japanese, and eventually Korean, and to scholars of Chinese and Japanese literature. That Department is also home to the interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration in East Asian Studies.
The units that follow in this section provide an overview of East Asia's present-day presence at Brown and in the community.