Asian Languages and Cultures

Why study Asian Languages and Cultures?

欢迎, ようこそ, and Welcome to the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, the heart of Asian Studies at Macalester. We offer Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture majors and minors, as well majors and minors in our inter-regional and interdisciplinary Asian Studies program that brings together faculty from all across campus. No prior knowledge of the languages or cultures we teach is required. All you need is an inquisitive mind, a good dose of diligence, and a willingness to learn new things.


Curious about learning the language spoken by one-fifth of the world's population? Our rigorous language and culture curriculum will provide you with the opportunity to strive for fluency in modern Chinese. It also helps you gain a broad and critical understanding of the multifaceted nature of Chinese culture. Study abroad in China as part of your major will further make you appreciate modern China’s fast changing society. Chinese at Macalester prepares you for rewarding careers in a variety of fields or postgraduate studies in a number of China-related disciplines.


Studying Japanese at Macalester provides an opportunity to study one of the world's most intriguing languages, to appreciate a rich and diverse culture, and to critically engage with a modern and dynamic society. Our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to gain proficiency in Japanese, and to enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary Japanese culture and its place in Asia and the world. Japanese at Macalester provides a stepping stone for further graduate studies or exciting careers in a variety of fields.

Asian Studies

Macalester's Asian Studies major or minor offer an inter-regional and interdisciplinary approach to the study of Asia. By bringing together faculty from across campus with diverse research and teaching interests such as history, literature, linguistics, art, music, religion and society, Asian Studies offers a unique way for students to tailor a course of study most suited to their individual interests. While less language intensive than the above two programs, Asian Studies equally prepares you to write analytically, speak publicly, and think critically about Asia.

Department News and Upcoming Events  

Friday, April 10, ArtCom 102, 5:00 p.m  -- Hong Kong author Dorothy Tse will read from her newly translated short story collection, Snow and Shadow, and host a discussion on the intersection of literature and politics in Hong Kong.

Asian Festival -- Friday, April 10, 2015 in Lowe-Dayton Commons: Performers, hands-on-activities, demonstrations, and food.   Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. 

Japan House is moving to 1661-1663 Princeton beginning Fall 2015.  Applications are currently closed, but interested students can speak with Ritsuko Narita  

Chinese House Applications are now closed.  See the Language House information pages or speak with Patty Anderson.  

Like us!

First Chinese Major to defend an honors thesis

Ashley Mangan finished her honor thesis defense

Imagining Female tongzhi: The Social Significance of Female Same-sex Desire in Contemporary Chinese Literature".  Left to right:  Prof.  Rivi Handler-Spitz, Prof. Sonita Sarker, Ashley Mangan, and Prof. Xin Yang. 

Culture Courses, Spring 2015

* CHIN 194 - Masterpieces of Chinese Literature
* JAPA 294 - Narratives of Alienation: 20th Century Japanese Literature and Film
* CHIN 452 - Translating Chinese
* JAPA 488 - Japanese Translation:  Theory and Practice