Fall 2022


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 2023


History 109: Historical Roots of East Asia

This course considers selected moments in the early history of East Asia which have become the foundations for the identities of the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese peoples. We will critically assess both how common traditions linked these groups together, and also how the processes of reinterpretation, migration, and trade imbued these traditions with distinctive cultural flavors. We will examine the varied historical moments that have become the different origin points for the peoples of East Asia, along with the development and spread of some of the major innovations during early East Asian history such as agriculture, writing, and state formation. We will also consider the influence of systems of thought such as Confucianism and Buddhism on societies and cultures within East Asia. Readings include secondary texts, archaeological evidence, and primary sources in translation.

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

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

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


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/or Social Science distribution (as Hist-121).

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


History 247: Early Chinese History

This course examines the history of China from ancient times up to 1600. We will explore Chinese society, culture, and religion through a variety of sources and media. The course is structured to move away from the traditional historiography which focused predominantly on emperors and dynasties. While these political aspects of Chinese history will still be addressed, we also will look at groups and individuals outside of the central power structure, and at longer socioeconomic trends which transcended dynastic changes. Offered in alternate years.

Prof. Dott, 4 credits, TTh 2:30-3:50pm

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Science distribution.

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