Asia is home to the majority of the world’s population and to an array of distinct cultures with ancient pasts and vibrant presents. Among its nations, China is the world’s most populous country, followed by India. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. The religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Shinto all began in Asia. It is the source of some of the most enduring works of art and literature in history, as well as some of the most current cultural forms, from Hindi film music to Hong Kong action cinema.
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) is a center for the exploration of the humanities of Asia, where students are invited to cross the boundaries of nations (including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea) and of disciplines (including literature, film, language, religion, and history) in order develop two vital qualities: a deep local knowledge and a broad global perspective. The department offers instruction in the cultures of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, and in many of the languages of Asia (including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Javanese, Korean, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, and Vietnamese) so that our students may be enriched by the treasures of the past and participate in the conversations of the future.