The Center for East Asian Studies

The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago (CEAS) is an interdisciplinary nexus, clearinghouse, and resource for academic exploration and support related to the study of China, Japan, and Korea. For over 60 years, its mission has been to nurture scholarship of the highest level across the humanities and social sciences, and to facilitate deeper understanding of the region at the University of Chicago and beyond.  

Comprised of three Committees – the Committee on Japanese Studies, the Committee on Chinese Studies, and the Committee on Korean Studies - CEAS works to enhance opportunities available to scholars both in the United States and abroad, and to foster an intellectual gathering point for a collaborative and innovative community of scholars and students of East Asian studies. Its members are drawn from the departments of anthropology, art history, cinema & media studies, comparative literature, creative writing, East Asian languages & civilizations, economics, history, linguistics, music, political science, psychology, sociology, theater & performance studies, as well as from professional schools such as the Booth School of Business, Divinity School, Law School, School of Medicine, and School of Social Service Administration.

CEAS sponsors a variety of activities including public lectures, workshops, conferences, film series, cultural events, K-16 outreach, and other programs that promote understanding of the cultures and societies of China, Japan, and Korea. CEAS supports faculty research endeavors, library acquisitions, as well as grants and fellowships to students conducting East Asian-related research and language study. University of Chicago faculty and programs in East Asian studies regularly achieve the highest rankings among peer institutions in the United States, making the University of Chicago an invaluable focal point for East Asian studies in the Midwest. CEAS has been designated a National Resource Center (NRC) and administers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships through a Title VI Grant from the United States Department of Education.

History of the Center for East Asian Studies

The formal history of East Asian studies at the University of Chicago dates back to 1936, with the establishment of a Chinese studies program in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures. The 1950s were a period of major growth and innovation in East Asian studies at the University. In 1951, acknowledging the wide-ranging relevance of East Asia, the University established an interdisciplinary Committee on Far Eastern Studies. This program was then reorganized in 1959 as the Center for Far Eastern Studies with the support of funds from the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and other sources. Today it is known as the Center for East Asian Studies.  You can read more about the history of East Asian studies at the University of Chicago (with a focus on Chinese studies) in this article by former CEAS Associate Director, Theodore Foss.