East Asian Studies offers qualified students, in their senior year, the opportunity to undertake a sustained research and writing project that, ideally, will result not merely in a long term paper, but in a piece of original scholarship. 

The completion of an honors thesis is a requirement for the granting of honors in the concentration.  Honors candidates work closely with a faculty member over the two semesters it takes to research, write and revise a thesis. Theses vary in format and length - 50 pages double-spaced pages would be on the short end, 100 pages at the other extreme - but all do careful analytical work,  and follow the practices of the relevant field of scholarship. The best honors theses grow out of a passion for a particular topic, for a work of fiction or film, or a research problem so compelling that you can imagine spending two semesters reading and writing about it. Theses in the Department represent a wide range of disciplinary and topical choices,  including (but not limited to) literary analysis, translation, film studies,  historical scholarship, internet ethnography, and IR/political science-oriented work.  A sample of recent theses titles, in no particular order, includes the following:

  • Immortality and Transcendence: Finding the Dao in Quanzhen Daoism
  • Disputed Goguryeo: The Construction of National Histories and National Identities through Museum Narratives in China and Korea
  • Working Mothers, Childrearing Fathers: Implications of Family Policies on Gender Roles in Japan
  • Huawei: Chinese Government and the Building of a “National Champion” 
  • Finally Free – Translation of Selected Poems by Ai Qing
  • Island Haafu, Tokyo Haafu: Learning English at the AmerAsian School in Okinawa
  • Burden or Brethren? Paradox in South Korean Society's Perceptions of Defectors and Defectors as Active Participants in the Creation of their Unimagined Identity
  • Law as a Mirror of Society: Late Qing and Early Republican Legal Reform in China

Students thinking about writing a thesis usually begin discussions with potential advisors during their junior year, and will have identified a topic and chosen an advisor before the end of their sixth semester. (There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.) A completed Honors Application form, with the signatures of the two faculty members who have agreed to advise the thesis,  must be handed in during the first week of classes. More information about the declaration and thesis-writing processes may be found here.

Neither EAST 1980 nor EAST 1981 count as one of the 8 elective courses needed to fulfill concentration requirements.

Honors Application         THESIS DEADLINES