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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Seeking 'Japan' in a Westernizing World: Revolution, Romance, and Imperialism, 1868 - 1945 (PGHC11376)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course investigates the history of modern Japan, from revolutionary encounters with the West in the late nineteenth century through to the rise and fall of her East Asian empire.

The focus throughout is upon how politics and culture interact: how did conflicting concepts of 'Japan' and 'Japaneseness' in universities, the media, the military, and in the population at large inspire experiments with liberal democracy, military adventurism, and empire building?

In addition to a range of analytical readings on technology, business, politics, philosophy, and popular culture, we use Japanese novels and poetry in English translation as a way of trying to understand this rich and turbulent period from the inside.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Online Activities 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important issues and themes connected to the rise of modern Japan.
- independently identify and pursue research topics in this period of history;
- exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches for the study of history;
- analyse and contextualise primary source material;
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises (such as with wikis or group essays) and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework;
- demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading and research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers.
Assessment Information
One 1,000 word book review (20%) and one 3,000 word essay (80%). The use of two pieces of writing, rather than one, is a change from usual past practice in History, as is the requirement of a book review assignment. It is hoped that the feedback provided from the first assignment will prove useful to the students who will be able to take on board any feedback before undertaking the 3,000 word essay.

Both pieces of work will be submitted via Learn and marked using TurnitIn. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1: Introduction to Japan [synchronous seminar]

Week 2: End of an Era: The Collapse of the Early Modern State [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 3: Encountering the West: Medicine, Diplomacy, and the Global Marketplace [synchronous seminar]

Week 4: The Meiji 'Revolution' of 1868 [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 5: The New Japan in Everyday Life: Media, Education, and the Arts [synchronous seminar]

Week 6: 'Japaneseness': Inclusion and Exclusion in Politics and Culture [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 7: The Romance of the Past: Literature, Conservatism, and Anti-modernism in the Early Twentieth Century [synchronous seminar]

Week 8: The Birth of the Japanese Empire [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 9: Right-wing Politics and the Question of Japanese 'Fascism' [synchronous seminar]

Week 10: Japan at War [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 11: End of another Era: the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki [synchronous seminar]

In addition to this there will be two half-hour virtual office slots provided per week, via Skype
Transferable skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of historiographical debates on modern Japanese history;
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis;
- ability to question and problematize evidence, considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation;
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today;
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing;
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences;
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
Reading list The following two works will be provided to the students by post:
- Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan (2008)
- B. Tadashi Wakabayashi (ed), Modern Japanese Thought [1998]
Numerous e-books will be available to students through the databases 'Cambridge Histories Online', 'Cambridge Books Online' & 'Oxford Scholarship Online'.

Japanese novels in English translation, available as free e-books, include:
- Soseki Natsume, Kokoro
Further Bibliography:
- K. Doak, "Ethnic Nationalism and Romanticism in Early Twentieth Century Japan", Journal of Japanese Studies, 22:1 (Winter 1996)
- P. Duus, D. Okimoto, "Fascism and the History of Pre-War Japan: The Failure of a Concept", Journal of Asian Studies, 39:1 (Nov. 1979)
- R. Eskildsen, ""Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan's 1874 Expedition to Taiwan", American Historical Review 107:2 (April 2002)
- S. Garon, "State and Religion in Imperial Japan 1912-1945", Journal of Japanese Studies, 12:2 (1986).
- M. Jansen, G. Rozman (eds), Japan In Transition: From Tokugawa to Meiji (Princeton, 1986) [relevant sections to be placed on E-Reserve]
- J. Matsumura, "State Propaganda and Mental Disorders: the Issue of Psychiatric Casualties among Japanese Soldiers during the Asia-Pacific War", Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2004, 78
- B. Molony & K.Uno (eds), Gendering Modern Japanese History (Cambridge, Mass., 2005) [relevant sections to be placed on E-Reserve]
- T. Najita, "Japanese Revolt Against the West: Political and Cultural Criticism in the Twentieth Century", in The Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 6
- M. Weiner (ed), Japan's Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity (London, 1997) [relevant sections to be placed on E-Reserve]
- J. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (1986) [relevant sections to be placed on E-Reserve]
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Christopher Harding
Tel: (0131 6)50 9960
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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