Language: English
Registration for the course is prohibited for students of Asian and African Studies; Korean Language, Literature, and Culture; Languages and Literature of Southeast Asia programs
Places available: 100

This is an introductory course to those new to the history of East Asian countries from their early eras through to the present time with a particular focus on the process of modernization in China, Japan, and Korea. Adopting a comparative and international perspective, the course covers not only the domestic events in each of these countries, but also how they shaped and were shaped by international developments in the region. The main emphasis falls on a comprehensive understanding of the efforts of people across East Asia to respond to profound cultural, social and economic challenges of the 19th century and 20th century and to devise viable solutions.

  • History of China
‘History of China’ is the first course of the ‘History of East Asia’ minor. It covers the events starting from the early periods of Chinese history to the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. Subsequent developments in late modern and contemporary Chinese history will be covered during the second year of the minor.The course starts off with ancient China and its impact on East Asia and proceeds with addressing each dynasty of Chinese history all the way through to the Qing Empire and China's encounter with the West which manifested itself in the form of the Opium Wars. It places a particular emphasis on modernity in China and concentrates on the following topics: Ming-Qing transition, domestic and foreign policy, intellectual and material developments; causes, consequences and legacies of the Taiping Rebellion and Dungan Revolt; the Boxer Rebellion; the First Sino-Japanese War and its repercussions. The Xinhai Revolution and the fall of the Qing is the final topic of this part of the course. Both external and internal factors leading to the disintegration of the Empire are assessed from various perspectives.
  • History of Korea
This part of the course concentrates on Korean history starting from its early periods, prior to the 17th century, social and intellectual developments, domestic order and relations with China. It then proceeds to discuss the 18th and the 19th century placing a particular emphasis on the emergence of the independence movement of the late-19th century as well as Korea's contacts with the outer world, in particular, with China, Russia and Japan, which all have a significant influence over Korea at the time. Among other topics, the following issues are addressed: modernization in Joseon Korea and failed reforms, the last days of Joseon Korea and the start of the Japanese occupation of Korea.
  • History of Japan
Japanese history from the early periods through to the early 20th century. Japanese civilization before the 17 century: a recap. Periodization of Japanese history: eras prior to Tokugawa. Tokugawa shogunate in Japan. Feudal state and military government of Japan in 1600-1868. From national unification to a new political order. Foreign relations in the age of sakoku. Meiji Japan: a case of effective modernization. Domestic reforms and the end of the ancien regime. Post-Perry political struggle and collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Meiji reforms and rapid westernization. Japan from Black Ship to Meiji Restoration. Unequal treaties and Meiji diplomacy. First steps toward territorial expansion. The First Sino-Japanese War and its repercussions. This part of the course ends with the Russo-Japanese War and assessing its origins, course and consequences. Russian, Japanese and international receptions of the war in politics and culture are discussed as well.
  • East Asia in the 20th-21st Century
History of China, Japan, and Korea throughout the tumultuous 20th century. The topics center around major 20-century developmets in East Asia. Political liberalism in Taisho Japan: party politics in the early-20th century. The place of East Asia in the war and the reverberations of the conflict in the region. East Asia in the Interbellum. 1920-1930's in China, Japan, Korea. The Pacific War: historical background and causes. Manchukuo and the Second Sino-Japanese War. Campaigns and theatres of the war, final stages and the surrender of Imperial Japan. The aftermath of the war. Japanese colonial rule in Korea and Taiwan. Japan during the Allied Occupation. The Cold War in Asia, the Korean war. The Hundred Flowers Campaign; the Great Leap Forward; the Cultural Revolution in China. China’s external relations following those developments. The Sino-Soviet Split and its consequences. 1970-1990's onwards in China, Japan, and the issue of the two Koreas are also addressed. This part of the course aims to trace the history of these actors through to the end of the 20th century.