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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Modern East Asian History A (ASST08042)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary'Japan and Korea in the Modern World'

This is the most comprehensive course at the University of Edinburgh for coming to grips with the complexity of East Asian modern history; no prior knowledge of Japan or Korea is required. In addition to teaching the basic outline of Japanese and Korean political, social, and economic history, the course aims to impress upon students how inextricably linked the two countries have been, as well as their changing relationship with China.
Course description Now that East Asia has become one of the most economically, culturally, and strategically significant areas of the world, a knowledge of its past is critical. From the end of 'medieval' mass violence to the post-war era of rapprochement and rivalries, this course introduces many of the most important issues that you will need to cover in order to be to be a person informed about the complicated and fascinating history of modern East Asia.

In each section, we will not only introduce you to the basic outline of political, economic, and international relations history, but also the impact these changes had on society and culture. Conversely, the course will show how social and cultural transformations forced shifts in government policy and East Asia became driven by popular movements in the twentieth century. Following the three main themes of social mobilisation, economic development, and political ideology, each lecture will show how these forces shaped the region, including Japan and Korea's relationship with China.

The first part of the course helps students to understand how Korea and Japan, existing in a region where politics and culture revolved around the vicissitudes of Chinese power, built quite unique early modern political systems that ensured centuries of peace and stability. The damage caused by nineteenth century European and American expansion is explored through political, economic, social, and cultural lenses. Analysing fascism, democratisation, nationalism, and communism, including the era of 'total war' (1931-1945), will help us to understand how early twentieth century East Asia was part of global trends at a time when populism and mass movements reshaped the old world order. The course covers the Cold War 'peace', which included the Korean War and massive social protest in Japan, to understand how much American and Soviet interests influenced the region. Finally, only through a close examination of the normalisation of international relations, particularly with China, and dramatic changes in the Japanese and Korean economies at the end of the last century, can we come to understand how East Asia became one of the centres of global production, security crises, and cultural output.
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 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Primary Source Analysis (500 words) (30%)
Essay (2,500 words) (70%)
Feedback Feedback is an essential element of the learning process and an important part of this course.

You will receive written formative feedback for the final essay in formulating a bibliography. You will also receive summative feedback in the literature review and the final essay.

In both instances the feedback will be provided within fifteen days. It is important that you make use of the feedback from teaching staff to reflect on your own learning and study in preparation for the final examination.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically assess Japan and Korea's historical relations and differing experiences of modernity, including the period of colonial occupation.
  2. Utilise a range of academic literature and primary sources for analysing Japanese and Korean history, society and culture.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of key events and ideas in East Asian history.
  4. Undertake autonomous research and effectively communicate arguments in written form.
  5. Research and prepare arguments for discussion and debate in a group setting.
Reading List
Karen Wigen, The Making of a Japanese Periphery (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994)
Stefan Tanaka, Japan's Orient: Rendering Pasts into History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993)
Hwansoo Ilmee Kim, Empire of the Dharma: Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 1877-1912 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012)
Stewart Lone, Japan's First Modern War: Army and Society in the Conflict with China, 1894-95 (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1994)
Naoko Shimazu, Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory, and the Russo-Japanese War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
Leo T.S. Ching, Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001)
Yamashita, Samuel, Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies
(Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005)
Seraphim, Franziska, War Memory and Social Politics in Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006)
Gavan McCormack, The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence. (New York: ME Sharpe, 2001)
Robin M. LeBlanc, Bicycle Citizens: the Political World of the Japanese Housewife (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999)
James Palais, Politics and Policy in Traditional Korea (Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1975)
Sun Joo Kim and Jungwon Kim, eds., Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014)
Eckert, Carter J. Offspring of Empire: the Koch-ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, 1876-1945 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991)
Hwasook Nam, Building Ships, Building a Nation: Korea-s Democratic Unionism under Park Chung Hee (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009)
Kenneth M. Wells, ed., South Korea's Minjung Movement: The Culture and Politics of Dissidence (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information You are required to attend 2 lectures and 1 tutorial per week.
KeywordsJapan,East Asia,History,Modernity,Korea,Imperialism,Cold War,WWII,fascism,Democracy,Communism
Course organiserDr Helen Parker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4230
Course secretaryMrs Anne Budo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4161
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