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East Asian Studies: About the East Asian Studies Collection

This guide provides access to key resources for East Asian Studies at NYU and elsewhere.

Collection History

Collection Background

The East Asian Studies collection at Bobst Library reflects the history of East Asian Studies at NYU. A very limited East Asian Studies program came into existence in the 1980s. The department has existed only since the late 1990s, and the first graduate degree candidates were admitted in fall 2004.

For the material on East Asian Studies in Western languages, we use an approval plan with final selection by the East Asian Studies librarian. For materials in Chinese, we also use an approval plan that covers materials about Chinese philosophy and religion, history, feminism, language and linguistics, literature, and cinema. For materials in Japanese and Korean language, orders are based on faculty recommendations, vendor and publishers' catalogs, bibliographies, and review media. Print journals are acquired selectively, principally through faculty request.

Retrospective collection of materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean is difficult because they go out of print very quickly. Used materials are available from Japan and from China to a limited extent, but, in all three countries, particularly in Korea, there does not yet exist a strong networked used book market able to sell to overseas libraries. We have had some success with retrospective collection by acquiring duplicates offered for sale by other U.S. academic libraries.

The acquisition of contemporary print materials and electronic materials has not been as problematic. We have collected major databases of articles and/or article indexes in all three languages, both on our own and by participating in the various consortia formed by other North American East Asian libraries.

Collection Purpose


Bobst Library's East Asian Collection supports faculty research and the curricula in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Gallatin School, the School of Law, the Steinhardt School of Education, the Stern School of Business, the Tisch School of the Arts, and the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. The collection's primary focus centers on the work of the Department of East Asian Studies. However, because of the department's commitment to an interdisciplinary examination of East Asia and because of widespread academic interest in the region throughout the university community, the collection also supports research and curricula ranging across numerous departments, including but not limited to Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Comparative Literature, Fine Arts, History, Religious Studies, and Sociology.

On the undergraduate level the Department of East Asian Studies offers a humanities major and a humanities minor. On the graduate level, the department offers both doctoral and master's degrees in East Asian Culture. Many other departments grant master's and doctoral degrees in East Asian subjects.

Collection Scope and Types of Materials

Collection Scope

  1. Languages

  2. Materials are primarily collected in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and selectively in French, German, Russian, Spanish, and other languages.

  3. Geographical Areas

    Areas collected intensively include all of China, Japan, and Korea. Materials concerning Vietnam are collected selectively.

  4. Chronological Periods

    Major emphasis is on the modern period in the areas of literature, history (including political and social history), cinema studies, women's studies, gender studies, language and linguistics, religion, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and urban studies. For the premodern period, basic materials in the areas of literature, language, history, religion, and philosophy are also collected.


Types of Materials

  1. Included

    Monographs, monographic series, serials, newspapers, proceedings, facsimiles, reprints, microforms, audio-visual and electronic media (including electronic texts). Dissertations, exhibition catalogs, government documents, pamphlets, and textbooks are acquired selectively.

  2. Excluded

    Ephemera, maps, manuscripts.