University of Minnesota
Asian Languages & Literature

Asian Languages and Literatures

Department of Asian Languages and Literatures


  • Fulbright Scholar Peter Williams Not Monkeying around in China ​

    ​Peter Williams on Safari during his study abroad, Tanzania, summer 2013

    Peter Williams, former student in Asian Languages and Literatures, has received a prestigious Fulbright Research Award to study the endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys of west central China. Graduating in 2014, Peter was an honors student majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; he also had minors in Chinese and Music. For his research he will be using a combination of GPS, GIS, and remote sensing technologies to understand better how to protect the monkey's habitat and conserve the species. In the first semester he will be taking classes at China West Normal University in Nanchong, Sichuan in preparation for his study. In the second semester, he will conduct field work in a national nature reserve in rural Sichuan, working with researchers from China West Normal University who are studying this monkey.
    Readers may remember Peter from his stellar presentations in the Chinese Bridge Speech contests over the last few years (first prize in 2012), which included his performance on the two-stringed Chinese instrument, the erhu.
    ​Golden snub-nosed monkeys, Qinling mountains China (source: C. P. Groves, 2005: Mamal Speices of the World. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 174)

    Once widespread, golden snub-nosed monkeys are now endangered and are only found in pockets of Sichuan, Gansu, Hubei, and Shaanxi. Hunting has been banned since 1975, but habitat loss from logging is a continuing threat.
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    August 15th, 2014
  • Joe Allen Wins Levenson Book Prize!

    Shortly after arriving at the University of Minnesota, Professor Joseph Allen dramatically expanded his field of research to include Taiwanese literature and culture. This move culminated in his book Taipei: City of Displacements, which this year was awarded the Levenson book prize--the most prestigious prize in modern Chinese studies.
    In this book, Professor Allen traces Taiwanese colonial history through the Taipei cityscape and Taiwan's multiple periods of colonization. The Chair of the Levenson Prize committee remarked that the issues Professor Allen discusses in his book are "highly relevant to those of other postcolonial societies struggling to define their identity, as well as to other 'global cities' similarly experiencing radical physical transformations."
    The presentation of the award took place at this year's Annual Meeting for the Association for Asian Studies, which is the largest Asian Studies conference in the world, and attended by thousands of scholars from the U.S., Asia, and Europe. This great achievement well represents the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota as a program supporting the most rigorous, current scholarship on Asia.
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    June 6th, 2014
  • Japanese Students Take Home the Prizes

    Japanese speech contest 04-2014 small.png
    (L to R) Jue Sun, Phillip Yocca Bachman, Yiqing Ma

    Phillip Yocca Bachman (double majoring in ALL and Linguistics) won the Grand Prize at the 28th Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest held at the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago on March 22, 2014. The prize includes a trip to Japan on Japanese Airlines.
    The good news does not stop there. Not only did an ALL student win the grand prize; every student ALL sent to the competition won a prize. Yiqing Ma (majoring in Psychology) won 4th Prize, and Jue Sun (majoring in Global Studies with a minor in ALL) won the special Bonjinsha Award.
    The competition was tough. Seventy-four contestants from a wide range of colleges and universities in the region competed in the speech contest. Congratulations to all our hard-working students!
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    May 1st, 2014

Asian Languages and Literatures is a dynamic and innovative department committed to the study of the languages and cultural phenomena of East, South, and Southeast Asia. The program encourages breadth of perspective and rigorous engagement with specific materials. General theoretical issues inform all areas and topics researched or taught in the department.

Language Programs

Language learning is of vital importance to successful research in the Asian world. Our teaching staff explores and implements new methodologies in second-language acquisition at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Currently, we offer Arabic, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Hmong, Japanese, and Korean.
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The undergraduate and graduate programs incorporate the best of traditional models of area studies as well as challenge these by encouraging comparative approaches and perspectives. Our undergraduate major requires students to attain advanced language skills, high levels of cultural literacy, and methodological sophistication. The PhD program in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media (ALCM) is designed to advance the fields of Asian studies and the humanities in general. See the specific areas covered in the program.


Richard B. and Virginia Mather

Richard B. Mather, Professor Emeritus of Chinese Studies at the University of Minnesota Passes Away

Click Here to Make a Gift online to the Richard B. and Virginia Mather Fellowship in Asian Languages and Literatures

U of M receives $900,000 to support Chinese studies