EAS at U of T is a department of about 15 members, whose specialties cover East Asian literature, history, thought, and religion. Home to nearly 1000 majors, minors, and specialists, EAS operates one of the largest undergraduate programs in the Faculty. We enjoy robust enrollments in all of our courses, and, with some two-thirds of our majors or East Asian heritage, especially serve the large Asian community in Toronto and throughout Canada.

The Department of East Asian Studies grew out of the Far Eastern Department of the Royal Ontario Museum, which until 1968 was the university museum. Dr. William C. White, who was the Anglican bishop of Honan province in China, became keeper of the Far Eastern Collection after he returned to Toronto in 1934. He began to teach a course on Chinese art and archaeology, while planning an institute for Asiatic (Chinese) Studies.

The Department of East Asian Studies, the earliest of its kind in Canada, specializes in the study of the humane traditions of both Classical and Modern East Asia. Literature and history, philosophy and language, as well as Cultural Studies in all its variations are well-represented by the expertise of the core faculty, and by the close association of the Department to the Royal Ontario Museum and adjacent faculty members in such Departments such as Political Science, History, Geography, Religion, Anthropology etc. The website of the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto lists more than a hundred scholars with interest and expertise in the areas of East Asia and South Asia. The uniqueness of the EAS graduate programme at the University of Toronto lies principally in the breadth, diversity, and interdisciplinarity offered for the study of East Asia.

In terms both of teaching and faculty research interests, the Department’s classical stream focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach to the historical, religious, artistic and philosophical traditions of East Asia, along with the study of various literary genres. The modern stream takes a critical approach to the structures of modernities, nationalism, colonialism and globalization within the East Asian context, and looks at film, literary representation and rural and urban culture.


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