Perspectives: What is East Asian Studies

In the fall of 2020 the East Asian Studies MA program’s core course, East Asian Studies: Fields and Methods invited Duke faculty members to respond to the broad question “What is East Asian Studies”? Respondents were provided with the following list of sub-questions, developed by the students in the class: 

  • What does “East Asia” mean to you? 
  • What motivated/s you to spend your life studying it? 
  • Why study “East Asia” and not just one nation, e.g. China?
  • What are the big issues in East Asian studies, in your opinion?
  • What questions do you seek to ask/answer?
  • What use is the academic study of “East Asia”?
  • How has your personal identity shaped your perception of East Asia/East Asian studies?

We hope that these responses will help listeners think about the various meanings of “East Asia” and its scholarship.