The Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures at Yale University is resolutely committed to pursuing the principle of diversity in both its curriculum and its hiring and admissions practices. It firmly believes that an environment that supports equity, inclusion, and belonging enables not only supportive work and learning conditions, but also the best kinds of teaching and research.
It is important that as scholars of East Asian studies we acknowledge the history of hate, prejudice, and violence against the bodies of Black, indigenous, and other peoples of color. Such acknowledgement requires us to combat racist systems and support the struggle for equality, justice, and human rights. We cannot stand back in the mistaken belief that East Asian studies itself is irrelevant to these issues; we must think about how East Asia itself has been a locus for both the proliferation of and resistance to racism, discrimination, and white supremacy, and how East Asian studies has historically both contributed to and combatted policies of exclusion, marginalization, and violence that have shaped fields of study. We commit as a department to working towards better understanding these histories and their legacies in the present day, and to contributing to their overcoming their ill effects.
Doing so will require both administrative efforts on the part of the department as a whole and scholarly work as individuals. East Asian Studies itself can contribute much to diversifying an academic world still largely defined through Eurocentric perspective, but it can only do so if it pursues diversity in both its scholarship and its own discipline. In this document, we outline the concrete steps we are taking to combat the pervasive influence of systematic oppression on the basis of race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability, and nationality within both our local community here in New Haven and in our larger scholarly communities as well.
This statement is in part a result of what was happening in America around the year 2020, but we consider it a living document that will grow and transform along with our department.
We commit to the following concrete actions:
- We will consider diversity a paramount value in decisions regarding hiring and admissions.
- We will endeavor to create welcoming, inclusive communities in our classes, and work to redress any structural imbalances and barriers to equity that affect our teaching.
- In our classes and our scholarship, we will endeavor to include engagements with how East Asian societies, and the East Asian Studies disciplines themselves, have been affected by and served as agents of oppression, and we will work to unearth from our research new legacies and new means of resistance, bringing perspectives from East Asian Studies to the practical and scholarly analysis of oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
- We will encourage the development of research topics that can further the cause of anti-racism, anti-sexism, equality and equity by appropriate means available to us in scholarship.
- Pursue programs of professionalization that support a diverse, equitable, and diverse profession.
- We will maintain and regularly update an advising handbook that clarifies the mutual responsibilities of faculty and students and renders transparent the unwritten rules of the academy.
- We will maintain an advisory body made up of students and faculty that will consider the degree to which the department is meeting its commitments to diversity and inclusion and periodically recommend new measures for doing so.