Fall 2020


History 348: Horseriders & Samurai - Comparisons in Early Modern East Asia

In this comparative course we will examine political, social, economic and cultural conditions following the establishment of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China and the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan in the seventeenth century. In both regions the elite were initially warriors-the samurai class in Japan and the Manchu ethnic group in China. Both regimes restructured society, placing themselves at the top-yet neither group could rule without support from other segments of the society. In addition to examining differences and convergences in the areas of state institutions and social organization, we will also explore changing gender roles and shifting economic conditions, as well as local conditions. Assignments will include several analytical papers, the final one being a research paper.

Profs. Arch & Dott, 4 credits, TTh 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies requirements.

-History major: Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity


Spring 2021


History 121: History & Ethnobiology of the Silk Roads

This interdisciplinary and interdivisional course will provide an integrative exploration into the history and ethnobiology of peoples along various branches of the trading routes across Asia known as the silk roads, with an emphasis on China prior to 1400. Topics will include why certain goods and technologies were traded; agricultural, social and religious impacts of trading; biological features of items traded or moved along the silk roads, such as foods, beverages, fibers, animals, and diseases. See Asian Studies 221 for an optional, supplemental field course that will be offered when funding permits. Corequisite: Biology 121.

Profs. Dott & Dobson, 4 credits (total, with Bio-121), MWF 10:00am-10:50am, Th 9:00-9:50am

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution (as Hist-121).

-History major: pre-modern; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity


History 205: East Asian Environmental History

This course will examine human-environment interaction within the large, diverse area known as East Asia (approximately covering modern China, Korea and Japan). We will begin with pre-agricultural history and then focus on environmental topics within three broad time periods. The first period will cover from approximately 1000 BCE to 1300 CE, the period in which intensive rice cultivation spread through East Asia; the second period covers the early modern era, broadly defined as ~1300 CE to the mid-1800s, a period of imperial expansion outside and within East Asia; the final period covers the modern industrial era and its particular impacts on the environment. This course assumes no familiarity with East Asian history. If you are familiar with some East Asian history, the focus on the environment should provide you with a new perspective on what you know. Class will be conducted in a combined lecture/discussion format.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, MW 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution.

-History major: Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism; Before Modernity


History 243: Japan's Modern Empire

From the collapse of samurai society in 1868 to the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, from the rise of the Japanese empire to the global spread of the Japanese entertainment industry, the modern history of Japan presents one of the more striking transformations in the interconnected history of the modern world. This course will explore how people in Japan have dealt with some of the major issues of modern global history: the fate of modern imperialism, the social upheavals and transformations of capitalism and democracy, the experience of total war, and the spread of mass consumer culture. Class meetings will be divided between lecture and discussion of primary and secondary texts. May be taken for credit toward the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies major or Japanese minor.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, TTh 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and Race & Ethnic Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Empires & Colonialism; Social Justice