Why study Asian Languages and Cultures?

欢迎, ようこそ, and Welcome to the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.  We offer Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture majors and minors, as well as majors and minors in our inter-regional and interdisciplinary Asian Studies program.


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.


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.

Asian Studies

An Asian Studies major or minor offers 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.

Department News and Upcoming Events  

Every Monday - Japanese Conversation Circle, 4:30-6:30 and 7-9 p.m. in Neill 216.  All levels of Japanese are welcome.

Asian Languages and Cultures Career Workshop

Jocelyn Allen, a Manga translator, headlines the ALC Career Workshop.  Her talk is: "Read Comics All Day and Get Paid For It." Macalester Alumni will present their career pathways and current students will address their job hunts.   Friday, February 24, 5:00 p.m, Weyerhaeuser Board Room. Dinner will be available.

Roger Shimomura: Mistaken Identity

An exhibition of Roger Shimomura's work titled "Mistaken Identity" will be on display in the Law Warschaw Gallery January 27-March 10, during Gallery hours. 

Throughout his extensive career, Roger Shimomura’s work has provided stealth commentary addressing sociopolitical issues of ethnicity. The exhibition includes a range of works on paper from the past 25 years that point to the history and confused ideals of racial exclusion in America. This exhibition is presented to recognize the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and is hosted in collaboration with the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League.

Fall Registration Lunch

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 4, ArtCom 102.  Asian Languages and Cultures faculty will be on hand to help you plan Fall 2017 registration.  Lunch will be served. 

Asian Studies Spring seminar

Monday, April 10, 4 p.m., 4th Floor Old Main.  Prof. Prasenjit Duara from Duke University.

The Crisis of Planetary Sustaninability: The Long View from Asia

The rise of Asia and China in particular has been accompanied by the need to project a new, more just vision of the world that is not simply a new hegemony. Many Chinese intellectuals have sought to find inspiration in their historical and transcendent universalisms such as ‘all-under-heaven’ (tianxia). The paper is an effort to think through the conceptual and political framework for understanding transcendence in post-Western modernity.


Culture Courses, Spring 2017

  • ASIA/CHIN 494 - Cross Cultural Encounters: China and the West
  • JAPA/ASIA 294 - Rethinking Sexualities through Japan: Love and desire from the Premodern to the Present
  • ASIA/CHIN 194 - Masterpieces of Chinese Literature
  • ASIA/JAPA 488 - Translating Japanese: Theory, Practice and Identity


Chinese majors Lucy Woychuk-Mlinac '17 , John Glasgow '17,  and Grace Newton '16 had a reunion at the Midwest Conference of Asian Association (MCAA),University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016. They all presented their papers on China.