The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) at UW-Madison was established on July 1, 2016 merging the preexisting departments of East Asian Languages & Literature (EALL) and Languages & Cultures of Asia (LCA).

ALC is student-centered and driven by research that is integrated into the classroom. With thematic foci in Asian languages, linguistics and literature, Asian cultural studies, religions of Asia, and critical issues in contemporary Asia, we aim to teach students how to recognize and critically analyze the realities of past and present "Asia" as a region that is crucial to the global flows of people, materials, and ideas through its own rich complexity with deep interconnection across multiple domains. At the same time, within this context of connections across Asia, we also seek to promote deep learning and knowledge of particular languages, time periods, and places, since in order to understand transasian regional and global networks, our students also need to acquire specific cultural and linguistic competencies.

We encourage students to study Asia in a regional and comparative frame while cultivating scholarly capacities in particular aspects of Asian culture. To that end, we offer multiple degree options at the B.A. level, reflecting departmental research strengths that allow students to approach the study of Asian cultures, languages, media, religions, and critical social issues from a variety of perspectives. We seek to enhance both teaching and research through collaborations within the department and beyond, with particular emphasis on the development of robust connections with scholars at our peer institutions throughout Asia.

Undergraduate Majors

Chinese
Japanese
Asian Languages and Cultures
A new undergraduate degree program in Asian Languages and Cultures will commence Fall 2019. The plan includes multiple options, such as East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies,  Southeast Asian Studies, as well as a non-region-specific "Trans-Asian" option. Students interested in learning more about the program requirements can meet with the undergraduate advisor Rachel Weiss for more information.

Undergraduate Certificates

Chinese Professional Communication
Japanese Professional Communication

Faculty

Asian Languages and Cultures is home to nearly twenty faculty whose research and teaching specialities range from medical humanities in India, the Hinduist roots of yoga, or inflecting contemporary mindfulness practice with insights from Tibetan buddhism, to human rights in Thailand - from Chinese ghost stories, traditional Sinology, and mathematically inflected Chinese philology, to sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and pragmatics in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian - and from critical reading of late-Heian tale fiction, early modern Japanese comedic narratives, and haiku, to manga, anime, and Japanese counterculture.

East Asia

Charo D'Etcheverry (Associate Professor). Area: Classical Japanese Literature

Naomi Geyer (Associate Professor). Area: Japanese Language

Rania Huntington (Professor). Area: Ming and Qing Narrative and Drama, Chinese Literature of the weird and supernatural

Adam L. Kern (Professor). Area: Popular Literature, Culture, Poetry, Theater, and Visual Culture of early modern-modern Japan.

Byung-jin Lim (Associate Professor) .Area: Korean Language and Linguistics, Second / Foreign Language Acquisition, Korean Language Textbook Development

Junko Mori (Professor). Area: Japanese Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics

Takako Nakakubo (Faculty Associate). Area: Second Language Acquisition of Japanese, Japanese Pedagogy

William Nienhauser (Professor). Area: Early Traditional Chinese Fiction and History; early poetry (Du Fu and Tao Qian)

Steve Ridgely (Associate Professor). Area: Modern Japanese Literature, Pop culture, TransAsian studies

Hongming Zhang (Professor). Area: Chinese Linguistics; History of Chinese Language; Teaching Chinese as a Second Language

Weihua Zhu (Assistant Professor). Area: Chinese Language, Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition

South Asia

Gudrun Bühnemann (Professor). Area: Sanskrit Language and Literature; Buddhism in India and Nepal; Hinduism; Tantrism; Yoga Studies

Anthony Cerulli (Associate Professor). Area: Theory and Method in the Study of Religion in South Asia; History of Medicine in India; Sanskrit Language and Literature; Kerala History and Culture; Malayalam Language.

John D. Dunne (Professor). Area: Buddhist Philosophy and Contemplative Practice; Religious Studies; Cognitive Science of Religion

Southeast asia

Erlin Barnard (Faculty Associate) Area: Indonesian Language, Language Pedagogy; Materials Development; Second Language Acquisition

Tyrell Haberkorn (Associate Professor) Area: Violence, Human Rights, Sovereignty, Arbitrary Detention, Land Rights, Agrarian Struggle, Historiographies of Repression, Gender Studies, Socialism, Dissident Literature, Southeast Asia (Thailand). 

Language instructors

Language instructors are an integral part of our department, teaching more than 14 languages during the academic year from East (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), South (Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Urdu), Southeast (Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese) Asian Languages.

undergraduate advisor

Undergraduate Advisor:
email Rachel Weiss
1244 Van Hise Hall
608-890-0138

staff

Department Administrator:
email Alyson Amenda
1240 Van Hise Hall
608-262-0524

Financial Specialist:
email Haiyan Wei
1238 Van Hise Hall
608-890-0138

Department Scholarships


Cameron G. Keith Memorial Scholarship 

This award is given annually to two undergraduate students studying Japanese. This award is annouced during the fall semester, and eligible students may apply. The criteria are: Japanese major, junior or senior standing, cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above, currently taking Japanese, and plan to go into a Japanese related profession. Cameron G. Keith was an East Asian Studies and Economics studies major at UW-Madison who studied abroad in Japan, and later in Nepal. In his memory, the Keith family established these funds in memory of his interest in the region.


Ellen and William E. Fisher Scholarship

Ellen and William E. Fisher have provided funding for an annual scholarship to be awarded to an undergraduate student at the UW-Madison who is studying the Chinese language.  According to the terms of the gift agreement, the award is based on merit, therefore there is no application, but faculty will make a determination based on students progressing in the program. Mr. Fisher stipulated that the award must be made in the Fall semester, so that the recipient can use it in the Spring semester. 

Chou Kuo-p'ing Book Award
 
Several awards will be given each year to undergraduate students who are studying and will continue to study Chinese during the following semester. This award is made possible through a donation by Professor Emerita Chou Kuo-p’ing, the founder of the Chinese program here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Chou, a dedicated teacher, devoted her entire career to teaching, promoting and developing Chinese studies in Wisconsin. Professor Chou was very active during her teaching career, and often helped financially disadvantaged students, especially those who excelled in their academic careers despite economic difficulties. Although this award is based mainly on the applicant’s academic performance, special consideration is given to those who are financially disadvantaged in order to carry on this tradition.

Lawrence Louey Merit Scholarship
 
The Lawrence Louey Merit Scholarship is an annual competition recognizing an undergraduate Chinese major in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures with a $1000 award. Eligibility: You must be a graduating senior with a GPA above 3.75 and have taken at least three years of Chinese. An application is required for consideration, including a brief career plan, as well as a research paper from one of your major field courses. 

Other campus resources

Scholarships@UW-Madison
This is the primary campus wide portal for applicants, current students, and everyone looking for scholarship opporunities on campus.


Undergraduate Academic Awards Office
We help UW-Madison undergraduates and recent graduates pursue nationally competitive scholarships and campus-wide awards for research, service and leadership—activities at the heart of the Wisconsin Experience. We can help you:

  • Find scholarship opportunities that match your goals and interests
  • Navigate the scholarship application process
  • Review scholarship essays
  • Prepare for national scholarship interviews

Contact us to schedule an appointment​ to discuss which opportunities are right for you.


Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the UW's National Resource Centers to assist students in acquiring foreign language and either area or international studies competencies. FLAS awards are only available for specific languages, and are contingent on federal funding. Please direct any questions to the FLAS Coordinator of your chosen language.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications by students in professional fields are encouraged. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training. Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards are two separate competitions requiring two separate and complete applications.

National scholarships

Boren Scholarships 
These scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. (Full list of preferred countries) Additionally, all programs must include formal study of an appropriate foreign language. (Full list of preferred languages). Undergraduates with questions about the Boren Scholarship should contact Matt Geisler, Associate Director of International Academic Programs. 


Critical Language Scholarship Program

The CLS program is part of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded overseas intensive language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

The fourteen CLS languages are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu.

The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, from a wide variety of fields of study, backgrounds and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of the United States. Thus, students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, science, social sciences, arts and humanities are encouraged to apply.


Gilman Scholarship Program
Campus Representative: Andy Quackenbush

The Gilman Scholarship Program is an undergraduate grant program for U.S. citizens of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad, thereby internationalizing their outlook and better preparing them to assume significant roles in the increasingly global economy.