The East Asian Studies Center opened in 1979 after the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) won federal support for a National Resource Center in East Asian studies at Indiana University. Though all academic work and degree programs are controlled by the department, the center presents East Asian studies at IU to the world, particularly to the state of Indiana.
The center has received federal funds for a National Resource Center four times since it opened in 1979. Current funding started in 2006 in cooperation with the University of Illinois.
East Asian Studies at IU
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) was created in 1961 to bring together IU’s offerings in Chinese and Japanese studies. In the mid-1960s, the department expanded, offering more language and literature work and instruction in Korean. The department also offered linguistics and history courses, and fellowships and faculty appointments became available through the Ford Foundation’s International Studies initiative.
In 1968, the Committee on East Asian Studies was formed to coordinate IU’s East Asian efforts, including the responsibility of the Title VI Fellowships in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The committee gained program status in 1970 and incorporated the role of the former Asian Studies Program. The East Asian Studies Program (EASP) worked with the department to develop a combined language- and area-studies curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate students.
When IU reconstructed the administration of international studies in the 1970s, the East Asian Studies Program decided to develop a new department with a broader mandate. This new interdisciplinary department, called East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), was formed in 1975 and combined the original EALL department with EASP into a single entity dedicated to expanding area studies and providing language instruction in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The new department’s curriculum embraced the study of East Asian culture broadly conceived, and faculty hires could be made jointly between the EALC department and other disciplinary departments.
Memorial Hall (1931) photo courtesy of IU Archives.