About the Major

The rapid growth of the Pacific Rim as an economic and technological giant in world affairs has spurred interest in the region's languages and people. Chinese is one of the most widely taught languages in the U.S., essential for politics, diplomacy, business, education, and technology. The Chinese curriculum at Hamilton is designed to meet the need for China specialists who are competent in the language and able to study China through original materials. Students hone language skills throughout their four years, and many choose to study in Beijing in our Associated Colleges in China program. 

A Sampling of Courses

Chinese New Year in the Wellin

Americans & Chinese: Case Studies of Cross-Cultural Communication

Through film screening, role-play, skit performances and discussions, students learn to identify differences in the behavioral culture between Americans and Chinese. The course brings students of different cultural backgrounds together and conducts cross-cultural comparison through observation, first-hand experience sharing, and critical analysis. It helps Americans to interact more effectively when dealing with Chinese counterparts in their future careers. It also helps Chinese native speakers to better adjust to the American culture. All course materials are in English or subtitled.

Explore these select courses:

An introduction to spoken and written modern Chinese through conversational drills, comprehension, reading and writing practice in classwork and homework. Four hours of class, with additional lab work and individual sessions for each student.

Since 1919, Chinese literature has played a decisive role in interactions between tradition and modernity. This course examines the development of Chinese literature against such interactions. Students will familiarize themselves with the most representative modern and contemporary Chinese literary works and gain a broad understanding of many modernity-related issues, including politics, culture, class, labor division, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

Continuation of Advanced Chinese I, with emphasis on making the transition from textbook to an advanced level of competence for reading periodicals and journals in China. Discussion, written and oral work. Taught in Chinese.

Through examining twelve contemporary issues in China, this introductory course on Chinese civilization will explore some fundamental themes that help to shape and define the culture. Students are expected to be engaged in readings, lectures, discussions, video screenings, and interviews. Issues that we will discover include the food and environment in China; Taoism’s transformation in modernity; Neo-Confucianism and the education system; media censorship and its background; the legacy and future of Chinese language, and so on. Taught in English. No prior knowledge of China is required.

Does Hollywood cinema dictate its reception across the world? Are there clear-cut boundaries between non-Hollywood cinema’s submission and resistance to Hollywood? Facing worldwide competition, how does Hollywood maintain its dominance of global culture? This seminar examines such questions by focusing on the nuanced negotiations between Hollywood films and diverse Chinese-language cultures, including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Students will gain insight into Chinese-language films, literatures, and cultures as well as their own culture shaped by Hollywood-dominated media.

Meet Our Faculty

Junqing (Jessie) Jia

Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)


Chinese language pedagogy, with emphasis on development of language learning motivation; research-based curriculum design and material development; gamification in foreign language learning

Zhuoyi Wang

Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures


Chinese cinema and literature

Xi Chen

Visiting Lecturer in East Asian Languages and Literatures


Woei Wei Koay

Teaching Fellow in East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)


vocabulary, mental lexicon of native speakers

Chia-Hua Lee

Teaching Fellow in Chinese


evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders, speech and language impairments

Yawei Li

Teaching Fellow in Chinese


Explore Hamilton Stories

Two students talking at a table in Commons dining hall.

Speaking of Grabbing a Meal …

Amidst the bustling crowds at Commons and McEwen dining halls, language faculty and students sit around a table to enjoy a meal while conversing in their chosen studied language. Hamilton’s “language tables,” as they are known, provide both valuable speaking experience and community building opportunities.

Little Know Facts Illustration - May 2022

Professors Share ‘Little-Known’ Facts

Is there life on other planets? What does the term ‘Viking’ really mean? Is Earth due for another reversal of the magnetic field? Expert faculty members from several departments, including history, east Asian languages, art history, geosciences, government, and physics, share a little-known fact about their discipline.

Michelle Chung '20

A Return to Publishing

Fresh from graduation, Michelle Chung ’20 began an extensive job search and, having previously interned for Penguin Random House, knew that she had an interest in publishing. After identifying an opening with Simon & Schuster, a top publishing company based in New York City, she reached out to Brian Belfiglio ’90.

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in Chinese are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • 5th Grade Science Teacher, Teach for America
  • Equity Trader, Goldman Sachs
  • Educator, Museum of Chinese in the Americas
  • Owner, Council on International Educational Exchange
  • Research Technician, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Television Reporter and Producer, Thomson Reuters (Beijing)
  • Marketing Specialist, GCIS China Strategic Research
  • VP Global Education Initiatives, The National Center for Sustainable Development


Department Name

Chinese Program

Contact Name

Masaaki Kamiya, Chair, East Asian Languages and Literatures

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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