The Department of Asian Languages and Literature’s core academic mission, to deepen and spread understanding of the languages and cultures of Asia, is directly related to the goal of an expanded worldview that does not privilege any select group of individuals over others.
Such a commitment on its own, however, does not guarantee a commitment to Equity, Justice, and Inclusion (EJI). The history of our academic field is marked by problematic approaches to the study of Asia (see the critique of “Orientalism”). Similarly, the local history of Seattle, which includes redlining, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and on-going hate crimes against Asians, shows that much remains to be done. We believe that our department can and should play a role in this work.
The department’s faculty, therefore, commits to the inherent value of Equity, Justice, and Inclusion as defined by the University of Washington’s College of Arts and Sciences, and to the larger project implied by a commitment to EJI: to spread awareness of, and to work to overcome, the unjust structures in society that perpetuate privilege, exclude underrepresented communities, and reproduce discriminatory practices. You can also read more about the College’s Vision and Action Plan for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion.
Concretely, our department is committed to:
- Working to make students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds feel welcome and supported in our department;
- Attracting and retaining a diverse student body, faculty, and staff;
- Expanding accessibility of our course offerings and course content (for example, through DOIT);
- Circulating information about University EJI-related resources;
- Increasing EJI-related content in our courses, lectures, workshops, and other scholarly and instructional activities.
In relation to item 5 above, the following departmental course offerings fulfill the university’s diversity general education requirement (DIV):