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East Asian Studies

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

East Asian Cultures - Change and Continuity in East Asia, EAGC-UF 101 (Prof. J. Chandler))

This library guide is for use with course #EAGC-UF 101 and is based on the syllabus, "East Asian Cultures: Change and Continuity in East Asia," provided by Dr. J. Chandler

When writing a research paper: 
Come up with a research question that you hope to address or answer. Your research question may actually be multiple questions. 

With your research question, perform a literature review to see what scholarly sources (peer reviewed) have already been published on the subject
For example, try searching by subject heading in the Library Catalog.
try using EBSCO Discovery Services or Worldcat to see what has been published already
try searching journal databases with scholarly publications to give you secondary sources 
 - some journal databases:  Bibliography of Asian StudiesJSTOR, MLA International Bibliography, GenderWatch, Project Muse
if you want to search in CJK languages try CAJ/中国学术期刊全文数据库, KISS/한국 의 핵심 지식 정보 자원, Zassaku Plus/ 雑誌記事索引データベース,ざっさくプラス

To look at an existing bibliography on the subject, try Oxford Bibliographies database.
You can also search Dissertations and Theses Global database to see what others have written on the subject (but may not be published). 

For primary sources, try searching some of our newspapers for articles published during the time you are writing about 
a few examples:
The Japan Times Archive
Access World News.

Try some of our databases that have primary source collections like 
China: Trade, Politics and Culture: 1793-1980
China: American and the Pacific 
Foreign Office Files for China 
Foreign Office Files for Japan (see below for more)

Keep track of the sources you use for your bibliography.
Try using citation management software like RefWorks, Endnote, Zotero, and more. (see our Citation Management Guide for more info)

Go back and forth from your original question to other ideas by using relevant secondary sources. Refine your question, and revise it!
(derived from Vogt, Gabriele. "How to Ask: Research Questions." In Studying Japan: Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods, edited by Nora Kottmann, and Cornelia Reiher, 53-67. Germany: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2020). 

Searching the Library Catalog 
Search with both keywords and subject headings to find your research materials.
Keyword searches
 can be used to find items that are associated with your topic. A search for a keyword or keyword phrase will result in items that may contain the keyword in the record, but not necessarily about the topic you want.
If you don't know a standard subject heading that fits what you are looking for, starting with a keyword search can help you locate the relevant subject headings in the record. If you have incomplete title or author information about a specific item, using a keyword can help you find it.

When searching a web search engine like Google, for example, you are using a keyword search and your results will be the records that have that keyword somewhere in it.

Subject Heading searches
Subject headings are used to describe the content or topic of an item in a catalog or database. At NYU, we use Library of Congress (LC) authorized subject headings to describe content. (to see what call number ranges indicate which subject areas, try browsing LC call number classification for History of Asia). 
Japanese tea ceremony -- History
Tea -- Japan -- History
Tea -- China -- History
Tea -- Korea -- History
Shamanism -- Korea
Buddhism -- China
Buddhism -- China -- History

You can combine these searches.


Finding English Language Materials about East Asia at NYU Libraries

Start your search with our library catalog.

You can search by:

  • title,
  • author,
  • keyword,
  • subject heading,
  • publisher,
  • call number and
  • ISBN number

Searching the catalog is the best way to find books. To limit to English only - in the Advanced Search screen, under Language, select English from the drop-down box of languages. This can be done before OR after your search. 

For a specific e-journal or known article, search the Journals tab.

For journal articles, try searching our many databases.

  • With EBSCO Discovery Services, you can search over 400 databases at once.
  • Or, try searching the specific databases below (see A-Z list to browse all databases).  
  • For journals, you can also try our archival collections. See, for example, the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Collection of Asia Serials TAM.779.  

For finding data or GIS

Please check with our Data Services Department. It is located on the 5th Floor, Research Commons, Bobst Library. Email:

For newspapers

Try Access World News and limit to China, Japan, or Korea.

Also try: 

For film and videorecordings

Search the Library Catalog and limit material to Video. (You can also limit language to Chinese, Japanese, or Korean if you want videos in those languages). All are at the Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media.

You can also search the databases: 

Contact the East Asian Studies librarian with any questions.

Library Catalogs

To find out what we have at NYU, search the NYU LIBRARY CATALOG :

To find out what is available elsewhere (and then you can request through Interlibrary Loan or EZBorrow), search these

Useful Reference Materials for this class: Change and Continuity in East Asia

What are reference materials?
Reference materials are sources that provide background information or quick facts on any given topic. There are many different types.
These include almanacs, bibliographies, biographical resources, dictionaries, encyclopedias (both general and by subject), handbooks, indexes, statistics, and citation guides.

Finding Images of Asia

ARTstor is a repository of images of art, architecture, and design. The images are sourced from museums, libraries, archives, and photographers. ARTstor includes a suite of software tools to view, present, and manage images for research and teaching. ARTstor is supplemented by additional content, including publicly available image collections and locally-produced NYU collections. (Artstor will merge with JSTOR on August 1, 2024. As of that date, Artstor will be retired as a standalone platform and JSTOR will serve as a search platform for the images that were once hosted on Artstor along with the usual JSTOR content. You can see what the image search on JSTOR (which is already live) looks like here.)

China Art Digital Library (access through China Research Gateway)
The China Art Digital Library database is a collection of precious art pictures from the past five thousand years to the present, which comprehensively shows the development and achievements of various arts in various periods and categories in China.

Historical Photographs of China is an online collection of digitized images of pictures taken between 1870 and 1950. Its 6,000-plus images can be searched by keyword, date, and so on. The collection's designers are continuing to expand it and are seeking feedback from users.

National Diet Library of Japan Digital Collections

Finding Images, guide created by the North American Coordinating Council of Japanese Library Resources (NCC)

Useful Databases for Finding Journal Articles about East Asia


Historical background

Routledge handbooks Chinese history

Routledge handbooks Japanese history

Routledge handbooks Korean history

Masselos, Jim. The Great Empires of Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
call number: NYU Bobst / Main Collection DS12 .G74 2010

Kim, Kyung Hyun and Youngmin Choe, editors. Korean Popular Culture Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014.

Primary Sources in English

Examples of Primary Sources (English language)

  • Brill's Primary Sources Online - Asian Studies titles
  • China: American and the Pacific China, America and the Pacific explores the cultural and trading relationships that emerged between America, China and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Manuscripts, rare printed sources, visual images, objects and maps from international libraries and archives document this fascinating history.
  • China: Culture and Society, a digitized version of the pamphlets held in the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia housed in the Carl A. Kroch Library of Cornell University. Mostly in English and published between c. 1750 and 1929.
  • China: Trade, Politics and Culture: 1793-1980 contains many English-language sources relating to China and the West, as does Archives Unbound.
  • Chinese Newspapers Collection (1832-1953), ProQuest Historical Newspapers provides insight into Chinese political and social life during the turbulent 120 year period from 1832 to 1953 with 12 English-language Chinese historical newspapers. Included are critical perspectives on the ending of more than 2,000 years of imperial rule in China, the Taiping Rebellion, the Opium Wars with Great Britain, the Boxer Rebellion and the events leading up to the 1911 Xinhai Revolution, and the subsequent founding of the Republic of China. In addition to the article content, the full-image newspapers offer searchable access to advertisements, editorials, cartoons, and classified ads that illuminate history.
  • CNBKSY Chinese newspapers has both English and Chinese language newspapers of the 19th to mid 20th centuries from the collections of The Shanghai Library. Includes North-China Daily News, Herald Newspapers and Hong Lists.
  • East India Company gives access to a large collection of primary source documents from the India Office Records held by the British Library. The company seized control of large parts of South Asia, but also colonized Hong Kong.
  • Empire Online is a collection of digitized original documents relating to Empire Studies, sourced from libraries and archives around the world.
  • Foreign Office Files for China makes available all British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan between 1919 and 1980. 
  • Global Commodities: Trade Exploration & Cultural Exchange brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years.
  • The Japan Chronicle is an English-language weekly from 1900 to 1940. It is a British-oriented newspaper that covers Japan’s engagement with modernity, war, political and social upheaval and seismic social change in East Asia in the first half of the twentieth century. This collection includes the Kobe Weekly Chronicle (1900-1901) the predecessor of the Japan Chronicle Weekly. It offers a perspective of expatriate communities in Japan and East Asia from 1900-1941.
  • The Japan Times Archive provides full-text searching and page images of this English-language newspaper from 1897. Japan Times is the oldest English language newspaper in Japan.
  • Newspaper Archive - Newspaper Archive contains the historical archives of hundreds of U.S. and international newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries, with coverage of some titles back to the 17th century. Lots of content from smaller, more local newspapers.
  • Chinese newspapers (in English) 
  • NK News Pro - NK Pro is an information service designed for professionals working on North Korea issues. It contains a range of research tools, databases, media monitoring services and analysis on contemporary issues.
  • Slavery, Abolition, & Social Justice brings together primary source documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world. This resource allows students and researchers to explore and compare unique material relating to the complex subjects of slavery, abolition and social justice.In addition to the primary source documents there are secondary sources for research and teaching; including an interactive map, scholarly essays, tutorials, a visual sources gallery, chronology and bibliography. Try using keywords "China," "Japan," and "Korea" to browse primary source documents related to these areas in the region.
  • U.S. Intelligence on Asia, 1945-1991 - Declassified documents