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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 (online) (PGHC11376)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  19
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Online Activities 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Forum posts (20%) and one essay of between 3,000 and 4,000 words (80%).

Using discussion forums is a well-established practice in online learning to help students engage with the material and interact with each other. This is particularly important for courses, like those taught as part of the online MSc, that have a significant asynchronous component.

Each week, students will be responsible for a 200-250 word posting in which they will make a significant observation about the reading(s). They will also be responsible for posting two responses to their classmates' initial postings, each 100-150 words in length. These posts will help to create a conversation among the students prior to the course's infrequent synchronous sessions and provide the instructor with insight as to the students' mastery of the readings and interests. The forum posts will be evaluated weekly, using the standard written material rubric.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in online forum posts and essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning Japan in this period
  2. Demonstrate in online forum posts and essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship and key concepts
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form, in seminar discussions, presentations, and online forum posts, by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate, in seminar discussions, presentations, and online forum posts, originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
  5. Demonstrate, in seminar discussions, presentations, and online forum posts, originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
S. Vlastos, Peasant Protests and Uprisings in Tokugawa Japan (Berkeley, 1986), Introduction.
R. Sims, 'The Meiji Renovation', in Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation (London, 2001).
Peter Dale, 'On "The Otherness of the Other"', in The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness (1986).
L. Humphreys, 'The Background to Army Politics', in The Way of the Heavenly Sword: the Japanese Army in the 1920s (Stanford, 1995).
R. Dore, T. Ouchi, 'The Rural Origins of Japanese Fascism' in J. Morley (ed), Dilemmas of Growth in Prewar Japan (Princeton,1971).
S. Wilson, 'Rationalizing Imperialism: Women's Magazines in the Early 1930s', in V. Mackie (ed), Feminism and the state in Modern Japan (Melbourne, 1995).
J.W. Dower, 'Japanese Artists and the Atomic Bomb', in Japan in War and Peace: Selected Essays (New York, 1993).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and 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 design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
KeywordsSeeking Japan Western Revolution Romance Imperialism
Course organiserDr Christopher Harding
Tel: (0131 6)50 9960
Course secretaryMiss Mel Baker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030
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