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× Over the past few years there has been a sharp escalation in hate speech, hate crimes, and other forms of harassment against members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community in the United States. These examples of hate speech, violence and discrimination come in many forms, from political leaders using racist language in referring to coronavirus and violence against Asian women to the brutal and senseless attacks against Asians and members of the Asian American community in the Los Angeles, the Bay Area, New York, Atlanta, and elsewhere. These words and actions impact not only members of the Asian American community, but also have a profound impact on foreign nationals who are in the United States for work, study, and travel; they also contribute to a larger culture of hate, prejudice, and intolerance. We also strongly object to those members of the media and law enforcement who have failed to address the Atlanta murders and other attacks on the Asian community for what they are – hate crimes. Words matter. When politicians, law enforcement officials and the media fail to acknowledge these basic truths it exacerbates the original crimes and leaves victims and their families subject to a double victimization.

We the faculty members of the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures, the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Korean Studies, the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and the Asia Pacific Center categorically condemn these acts of violence and incidents of hate speech. They have no place in our university and no place in our broader society. The student body of the University of California, Los Angeles is composed of 29% Asian Americans, not to mention the robust number of international students from Asia; Asians are not a “minority” on campus, they are the single largest ethnic group at UCLA. We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and supportive space for all members of the UCLA Asian community, whether they be students, faculty, staff, and any other individual who steps onto the campus; we demand they be treated with respect, dignity, and be free from the threat of any and all hate speech and violence. We also stand in solidarity alongside members of the Black and African American community, the Hispanic and Latinx community, LGBTQ+ community, the Indigenous community, the Muslim community, Jewish community, and all others who have been targeted by hatred, slurs, violence and other forms of discrimination.

Beyond our condemnation of the hate speech and violence being perpetrated, we also commit to engage directly with these issues in our teaching, campus events, and public outreach. We are invested in making society a more just and equitable place; free from fear and prejudice. We realize that these changes start from within, and we begin this work as individuals, departments, centers, and programs, step by step, committed to ending the wave of hate against the Asian community and taking constructive steps towards a more just society. Change starts now. #stopasianhate

Center Mission

To educate the American scholarly community and the broader American and Korean public about Korean civilization in all its diversity.

The Center supports UCLA’s academic and research programs on Korea through the following activities:

  • supporting a dynamic research environment in Korean Studies and helping to disseminate that research to a wide audience, both nationally and internationally;
  • coordinating curricular development in Korean Studies at UCLA and expanding Koreanist faculty in departments throughout the university;
  • promoting research exchanges among scholars from the United States, Korea, and other nations;
  • training the next generation of scholars for academic careers in Korean Studies both in the United States and abroad;
  • preparing students for careers in the public and private sectors in positions related to Korea;

Over 3,300 students of Korean heritage study at UCLA, the most of any university in the United States.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) houses the largest and most prestigious Korean program of any university in the continental United States. Starting in 1985, Korean Studies at UCLA has grown rapidly into a program with:

  • the largest permanent faculty specializing in Korean Studies of any university on the American mainland (10 tenured and tenure-track faculty);
  • the most students of Korean heritage of any university in the United States (3,300 in 1999);
  • the widest array of courses in both the humanities and social sciences (40 regularly scheduled courses on Korea);
  • the most Ph.D. specializations of any Korean Studies program in the United States.
  • the first undergraduate major in Korean Language and Culture to be offered by a university on the U.S. mainland, with special features designed to accommodate the unique needs of 1.5- and 2nd-generation Korean-Americans;
  • an innovative program in Bilingual Immersion education with the Los Angeles Unified School District to train a generation of Korean-American students who will be perfectly bilingual and bicultural in any professional setting;
  • regular international conferences, which bring together scholars from Korea, the U.S., and elsewhere in the world;
  • a new publication series published in conjunction with the UCLA Asian Pacific Monograph Series.

"I hope to continue the work of my predecessor, Robert Buswell, in maintaining UCLA as the premier institution for the study of Korea in the West, and at the same time, I also hope to build strong cooperative relations with my colleagues in the centers for Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian studies in order to integrate Korea more effectively into research and teaching about Asia and to promote a more comprehensive vision of the region as a whole."

-- John B. Duncan, Director, UCLA Center for Korean Studies

UCLA’s Korean Studies scholars are the most prolific group of Korean Studies researchers in the United States, with over 20 books and scores of articles to their credit.

Ten tenured or tenure-track professors of Korean Studies and two lecturers in Korean language and linguistics teach at UCLA. These scholars are the most prolific group of Korean Studies researchers in the country, with well over 20 books and scores of articles to their credit. Their collective research books and monographs far exceed the publication record of any other university faculty in Korean Studies in the Western world.

Over 2,000 students every year take classes at UCLA dealing with Korea.

UCLA’s Koreanist faculty teach regularly over 40 courses related to Korea, on topics ranging from traditional and modern history, literature, art history, folklore, and religion, to contemporary sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and social welfare. Over 2,000 students every year take classes on Korea at UCLA.

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) at UCLA offers a comprehensive curriculum in Korean language, including four years of instruction in modern Korean and extensive training in traditional literary, historical, and religious texts written in classical Chinese and Sino-Korean. UCLA is in fact the only university in the United States that offers a regular curriculum in Korean classical language.

UCLA has the largest enrollment of students of Korean heritage of any university in the country--over 3,300 students in 1999 out of a total UCLA enrollment of 35,000. For this reason, the university has designed the first program in Korean language instruction that caters specifically to the unique needs of 1.5- and 2nd-generation Korean-Americans.

The Center for Korean Studies has also collaborated over the last four years with the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop a Korean-English Bilingual Immersion Program, in which students in elementary school are being taught to use both English and Korean in all academic subjects. We hope through this innovative program to train a generation of Korean-American students who will be perfectly bilingual and bi-cultural and able to function effortlessly in any professional setting in either the United States or Korea.

UCLA offers 40 courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences focusing on Korea, the widest array of courses in any university curriculum.

UCLA offers two undergraduate degrees in Korean Studies: a B.A. in Korean Language and Culture and an interdisciplinary B.A. in East Asian Studies (Korea Emphasis). M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are also offered in Korean Studies, with specialties including history, literature, linguistics, religious studies, art history, folklore, and the social sciences. In 1998, nearly 100 UCLA students were undergraduate majors in Korean, and over 50 students were pursuing graduate degrees in various fields of Korean Studies. UCLA’s first generation of doctoral students in Korean Studies has now graduated. These exceptional alumni are now occupying academic positions at several major universities, and have begun to establish themselves as leaders in the field of Korean Studies both in the United States and abroad.

The Center for Korean Studies also maintains exchange agreements with 11 major Korean universities, which allows sharing of faculty and research projects between our campuses. About 15 scholars from Korean institutions of higher education visit the Center on an annual basis, substantially enriching the Center’s programs.

Faculty in Korean Studies

Faculty in Korean Studies (tenured and tenure-track)

  • UCLA: 10
  • Harvard: 3
  • Columbia: 2
  • Chicago: 2
  • Washington, Seattle: 1
  • UC Berkeley: 2
  • USC: 4