Development of a New Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Northwestern University

Project: Research project

Project Details


As part of a University-wide drive to integrate knowledge of the world beyond America’s shores more fully into the University experience, Northwestern University (NU) is establishing a Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (DALC) in our Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Student demand for courses in the field has been strong for some time, and we wish to do a better job meeting it. In 2009-10, for example, our language programs in Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Korean, which will constitute the core of the new department, had some 1375 enrollments. The new department was approved in the fall of 2012, and the first two tenure-line faculty searches—of seven anticipated—are underway with the goal of bringing new colleagues to Northwestern in September 2013. The new department emerges from a faculty-led evaluation of the best way to prioritize the study of Asian cultural expression, which will complement existing strengths in Asian history, religion, and politics. Recognizing the importance of transnational cross-pollination in all the humanities, we also understand that this expansion will quickly improve the humanities as a whole, one of the central goals of NU’s 2011 Strategic Plan. This proposal requests the partnership of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in making the arts and sciences more cosmopolitan at Northwestern by accelerating the growth of DALC: we seek bridge funding of $550,000 over three years for 2.5 entry-level positions in Asian literature and culture, to be matched by the University’s commitment to support 2.5 positions, in order to establish the other five new faculty lines in these fields.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/19


  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Letter 06/19/2013; Grant 21300619)


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