Johns Hopkins has a long history of influence in and interaction with East Asia. The university’s third president, political scientist Frank Goodnow, helped draft the Republic of China’s original constitution. Hopkins was instrumental in setting up China’s first medical school, the Peking Union Medical College. Nitobe Inazo, a renowned intellectual and diplomat of Meiji Japan, studied in the Department of History and Political Science at Johns Hopkins during the late 19th century. Owen Lattimore, one of the world’s leading scholars of Inner Asia, taught Chinese history at Hopkins and directed the predecessor to the university’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). With the launch of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in 1986, Johns Hopkins University became the first American university to establish a campus in China in the form of an educational joint venture.
Today, students and faculty continue to pursue new collaborations and opportunities for the study of East Asia among the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, SAIS Hopkins-Nanjing, and the schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, and Engineering. These include a five-year BA/MA program combining three years of study at Homewood with one year at Hopkins Nanjing and one year at SAIS DC.
Majors in East Asian studies engage in intensive language study and work with distinguished faculty on such topics as China in the global economy, labor politics in China, nationalism in East Asia, Korean identity in Japan, and women in East Asia. Our students pursue original research projects in East Asia with the support of intersession and summer travel grants, stipends for conference presentations, a senior thesis honors option, and seminars that bring together research scholars, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in a manner that is distinctly Hopkins.
Alumni of the program are making their mark around the world in business and finance, academia, law, international development, journalism, medicine and public health, engineering, media, public service, and the arts.
Under the direction of history professor, Tobie Meyer-Fong, the East Asian Studies Program continues to thrive as a center of research and teaching. Recent donor support has made possible the creation of the Mary Rankin Reading Room, and the addition of a distinguished visiting professorship, a visiting practitioner-instructor, and a post-doctoral fellowship in Korean Humanities. A vibrant speaker series, annual conferences, social gatherings, and weekly language corners foster the intellectual and cultural community of East Asia-centered learning on campus, and study abroad opportunities abound. Students moreover have the opportunity to play a leadership role in the intellectual and social life of the program by way of the Student Advisory Committee.