M.A. Program—Critical Asian Humanities

AMES runs an M.A. program in Critical Asian Humanities (CAH), which: 1) provides training in the critical analyses of written, visual, and performence cultures of East Asia; 2) integrates approaches and methodologies from literary studies, film studies, and cultural studies; and 3) provides students with the skills needed to pursue either a doctoral or professional degree in a related area, or a career in a field relating to East Asian culture and society.

AMES faculty expertise is particularly strong in the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, and our research interests coalesce around the three broad areas of: 1) Global China; 2) Japanese Empire Studies; and 3) Borderlands Korea.


10 Graduate-level Courses

  • which may include a combination of courses focusing on East Asian topics and others focusing on literary and cultural analysis
  • At least 5 courses must be courses taken through AMES

Language Proficiency Requirement

At least third-year proficiency in an East Asian language by the time the student graduates


An M.A. thesis on a topic relating to Critical Asian Humanities, broadly understood.

All students will be assigned a first-year faculty advisor, as well as a thesis advisor for their second year. AMES core faculty include: Leo Ching, Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, Carlos Rojas, Hae-Young Kim, Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Liu Kang, Yan Liu, and Carlos Rojas; AMES affiliate faculty include: Anne Allison, Nicole Barnes, Rey Chow, Prasenjit Duara, Markos Hadjioannou, Michael Hardt, Ralph Litzinger, Sucheta Mazumdar, Walter Mignolo, and Kathi Weeks. The Director of Graduate Studies is Guo-Juin Hong gjhong@duke.edu.

The CAH program resembles APSI's East Asian Studies (EAS) M.A. program, but with some important differences:

  • The CAH track focuses more narrowly on the study of literature, film, and other forms of cultural production
  • The CAH track encourages students to gain familiarity with a variety of theoretical approaches
  • Our curriculum combines the strengths of both critical theory and area studies, with an emphasis on visual culture, gender studies, migration studies, and empire studies from both the modern and contemporary periods.