photo of books and a pencil on a desktop


Chinese majors at Reed receive thorough training in spoken and written Chinese and learn critical approaches to classical and modern literature, film, and popular culture as well as underlying aspects of philosophical and social thought. A Chinese minor is also offered for students who are interested in learning Chinese language and culture as a secondary academic interest.

Language courses in modern Chinese are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Beginning and intermediate courses emphasize a solid grounding in the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Advanced courses focus on helping students acquire near-native fluency in spoken Chinese and become proficient in reading contemporary writing and in writing in different registers and genres. A semester course in Classical Chinese introduces students to classical grammar and vocabulary and trains them to read, analyze, and translate premodern texts.

Courses in Chinese literature, intellectual history, and film and media emphasize the in-depth study of Chinese cultural productions on their own terms and in their own historical contexts. In these courses, students engage with a wide range of canonical and non-canonical works, emerging as better thinkers and writers, better able to use analytical tools and resources alongside their own experiences in crafting meaningful arguments, and with a strong Chinese cultural competency that allows them to be informed participants in our global community.

“The Chinese program has incredibly knowledgeable and supportive professors and offers a diverse course selection, including classes in literature, art history, history, anthropology, religion, and economics. I can confidently say that after taking fourteen China-focused courses, my only regret is not taking more.”  STEPHANIE SHU ’22

Alumni profile

Benjamin Landauer ’17

Categorizing Music and Poetry in Chinese Literature
photo of Hyong Rhew

During their time at Reed, Benjamin Landauer ’17 discovered a passion for language study that they have continued to pursue. They hold MA degrees from Nanjing University and Harvard University, and are currently working on their PhD at Harvard. Their focus is classical Chinese poetry and modern Chinese literature in conjunction with both modern and premodern media studies. Ben recently expanded their area of research to include early modern and modern Japanese literatures, and they have a keen interest in investigating the historical contingencies that determine how we conceive of “music” and “poetry” as distinct categories, a topic they hope to pursue both transnationally and transtemporally.

Ben’s experience in the Chinese department set the foundations that allowed them to become the reader and thinker they are today. Their coursework prepared them for life after graduation and helped them develop a particularly discerning eye. They also deeply appreciate the extensive network of friends and resources they created both during their time at Reed and after.

Download Chinese Flyer as a PDF

The Chinese House

Reed’s Chinese House, an on-campus Chinese language residence hall, is the center of extracurricular activities for students interested in Chinese culture. Student residents converse primarily in Chinese and are aided by a Chinese language scholar. The Chinese House hosts a number of cultural events to which all interested students are invited. These range from campus-wide cultural events like the Mid-Autumn Festival and Lunar New Year celebrations to smaller gatherings such as film screenings, conversation tables, poetry readings, and tea tastings, which provide unique opportunities for Reed students to practice their Chinese skills and enjoy art, meals, and good company.

Study Abroad

Students’ understanding of Chinese language and culture can be immensely enriched through study abroad. Majors are strongly encouraged to apply to Reed-sponsored study programs in China and Taiwan.

Faculty Research

Professor of Chinese & Humanities Alexei Ditter 迪磊
Medieval and late imperial Chinese prose, poetry and fiction, genre theory, cultural memory and commemoration, economics of writing in medieval China

Professor of Chinese & Humanities Jing Jiang 姜靖
Modern Chinese literature and culture, theories of modernity, nationalism, film studies, and comparative literature

Professor of Chinese & Humanities Hyong Rhew 柳亨奎
Classical Chinese literature, Chinese literary theory, Chinese intellectual history, Korean literature

What Do Alumni Do?

Graduate Student in East Asian Languages and Cultures
Washington University in St. Louis
Jake Buck ’20

Graduate Student in Chinese History
National Taiwan University
Christopher Stasse ’18

Tzu Chi Foundation
Joan Mae Guldin ’15

Policy Maker
Portland Housing Bureau
Victoria James ’15

Associate Director of Partnerships with China
Where There Be Dragons International School
Joseph Vincent ’14

National Public Radio
Alan Montecillo ’13

Policy Analyst
RAND Corporation
Lev Navarre Chao ’12

PhD Student in Chinese Literature
University of California, Berkeley
Matt Wild ’12

Chen and Mu Law Office
Jeremy Nelson ’11