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

Undergraduate Course: Pre-modern East Asian History (ASST08073)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an overview of notable historical dates, events, trends, and individuals in China, Korea, and Japan from approximately the 3rd century BCE until the early 17th century.
Course description This course balances an investigation into the histories of China, Korea, and Japan with a broader awareness of how these countries interacted with one another prior to the 17th century. Students will be introduced to an array of notable periods, events, individuals, and themes that particularly influenced the development of each region's history and culture. Course content also touches upon various forces that shaped this area's development, including trade, religion, politics, philosophy, writing, war, and geography. Weekly assignments consist of secondary and primary source readings as well as occasional recommended readings, websites, or videos that provide deeper context to the topic. Weekly tutorials provide opportunities for further engagement with readings, especially primary source materials, and will be the main source for evaluating student participation. Assessments emphasise personal engagement with course content; memorising key individuals, terms, and events; academic-level writing; and making connections between as well as extrapolating deeper meanings behind course readings.

This course was designed to be a taught in connection with the Society and Culture in Pre-Modern East Asia course and to provide historical background for any future studies of East Asia. No prior experience with or knowledge of East Asia is required.

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 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework Breakdown:
Participation 10%
Mid-course essay 30% (500-1,000 words)
Final essay 60% (2,000 words)
Feedback Feedback on written assignments is provided through the TurnItIn platform.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identity key terms, figures, dates, and trends related to the early histories of China, Korea, and Japan as well as East Asia more broadly.
  2. Conceive of early East Asian histories both locally and globally.
  3. Build upon a historical foundation for future studies related to East Asian Studies, including in fields such as language, literature, religion, sociology, anthropology, history, art history, or politics. 
  4. Analyse course content in connection with independent research in developing original arguments, thesis statements, and further areas of interest.
  5. Develop an original response to essay prompts or questions that engages with course content and (when specified) independent research. Additionally, note the difference between primary and secondary source readings and be familiar with how to incorporate them into academic writing.
Reading List
Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, et al. East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2023.

Schirokauer, Conrad, et al. A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations. 4th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013.

Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

De Bary, Wm. Theodore, ed.¿Sources of East Asian Tradition. vol. I. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008 (and associated volumes from this collection).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Construct a thesis statement that promotes an original theory or answer to a question
Develop an outline that balances an essay¿s introduction, conclusion, and major arguments
Identify acceptable academic sources and determine the difference between primary and secondary sources
Establish a foundation of key figures, events, dates, locations, and terms related to course content
KeywordsAsian Studies,East Asia,China,Korea,Japan,History,Philosophy,Society,Politics,Religion
Course organiserDr Abigail MacBain
Tel: (0131 6)51 1358
Course secretaryMs Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619
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