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East Asia

Fall 2023

This course examines the intertwining histories of Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam from 1600 to the present. We will focus both on the common characteristics as well as the differences between these cultures. We will look comparatively at these four societies, their struggles to preserve or regain their independence, to refashion their national identities, and to articulate their needs and perceptions of a rapidly and violently changing world. Topics for analysis will include nationalism, imperialism, modernization, westernization, democratization, the Cold War, Indigenous rights, and globalization. Assignments will include short papers and exams.

Prof. Dott, 4 credits, MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution and SAMES requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Revolution/War/Politics; Empires & Colonialism

How did transformative cultural changes such as introductions of new crops, fluctuating pilgrimages, and new works of drama and literature influence the lives of Chinese from 1500-1900? Topics include the introduction of the chili pepper, shifting meanings of pilgrimage sites, cultural practices reflected in literature, and beliefs of groups fomenting uprisings such as the Taipings and Boxers. Throughout the semester, we will link these topics to themes such as class and gender. Readings for the course will include recent scholarly writings as well as a variety of primary (original) sources, including religious texts, plays, novels, art works, calendars, illustrated books, and diaries. Classes will be discussion-based with some lecturing. Assignments will include presentations and papers.

Prof. Dott, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50 p.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and Social Science distribution, as well as SAMES and Global Studies requirements.

-History major: modern history; Cultures & Ideas

The nineteenth century in Chinese history has often been treated as a long decline from the so-called height of Qing power in the late eighteenth century to its ultimate collapse in the early twentieth century. In this class we will push back against this flawed narrative, examining this period on its own terms. A central theme for the semester will be imperialism, both external and internal. We will examine British and Russian pushes for trade and power, which led to British merchants' smuggling of opium, the opium wars, and Russian acquisition of Qing territory. Internal imperialism resulted in tensions between minority groups and the Manchu rulers as well as with the Han ethnic majority. The devastating mid-century Taiping civil war, motivated by quasi-Christian and anti-Manchu ideas, combined imperial tensions with social, cultural, and economic upheavals. We'll end the semester with an examination of the Boxer anti-Christian movement. This was a period of dramatic changes, including evolving religions, responses to the West, globalization, competition between empires, modernization, urbanization, and industrialization. Assignments include a semester-long research project on a topic of your choice within the major themes of the course. Not open to first-year students. Distribution area: None. Recommended prerequisite: History 299.

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

-History major: 39x seminar; modern history; Empires & Colonialism; Revolution/War/Politics

Spring 2024

This class will trace the important socioeconomic, political and cultural developments in Japan from prehistory up to 1600. We also will examine evolving gender roles, the development of various schools of Buddhism, and their interactions with indigenous Shinto religion. We will discuss a variety of sources to become familiar with early Japanese views of their society and with modern scholars' interpretations of Japan's cultural and historical development. Offered in alternate years. May be taken for credit toward the Japanese minor.

Prof. Arch, 4 credits, TTh 1-2:20 p.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Sciences distribution and SAMES requirements.

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

From the late nineteenth century, China underwent major political and social change. Nationalist revolutionaries destroyed the imperial system; amidst the ensuing instability communist revolutionaries arose. This course explores national and international politics but also pays close attention to the acute social and cultural changes that shook Chinese society in terms of expected familial, social, gender, ethnic, and class roles. Chinese communists attempted to remake society through mass campaigns, to make intellectuals into peasants, and everyone into comrades. Contemporary China has seen the thriving of socialism with "Chinese characteristics." While many of these themes will be examined at the national and international level, we will also explore a number of the issues at the local level. Work will include several analytical papers, the final one being a research paper.

Prof. Dott, 4 credits, MW 1-2:20 p.m.

-Fulfills Cultural Pluralism and/or Social Sciences distribution, as well as SAMES and Global Studies requirements

-History major: modern history; Revolution/War/Politics; Social Justice

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