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HIST 2460—Rise of Modern Asia

Three Semester Hours

JH 4/20


University Requisite: None

Course Overview

Introductory survey of the history of Asia from India to Japan, beginning in the mid-19th century. Emphasis on the rise of modern nationalism, economic development, and social and cultural achievements.

Methods of Course Instruction

All material for this course is print-based. Instructor and students communicate and exchange materials through postal mail. 

Textbooks and Supplies

Main Textbook

Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2017. [ISBN: 9781107544895]

Required Supplemental Books

  • De Bary, William Theodore. Sources of East Asian Tradition, Volume 2: The Modern Period. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. [ISBN: 9780231143233]
  • Tong, Scott. A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. [ISBN: 9780226338866]
  • Watson, Burton, trans. The Analects of Confucius (Translations from the Asian Classics). New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. [ISBN: 9780231141659]

Number of Lessons

The course has 14 lessons. The topics include:

  • Lesson 1: Foundations—Introduction to East Asian Language, Geography, and Ideas
  • Lesson 2: Shared Culture/Different Histories: East Asia, 7th–16th Centuries
  • Lesson 3: Regime Formation in Japan and China, 16th–17th Centuries
  • Lesson 4: The Impact of Western Imperialism, 19th Century
  • Lesson 5: Facing an Uncertain Future and Rethinking the Past, 1900–1929
  • Lesson 6: East Asia 1600–1929 Review and Documentary Analysis Draft
  • Lesson 7: Documentary Analysis Midterm Assignment
  • Lesson 8: World War II in East Asia, 1931–1945
  • Lesson 9: Japan, 1945–Today
  • Lesson 10: Korea, 1945–Present
  • Lesson 11: China, 1945–Present
  • Lesson 12: Contemporary China
  • Lesson 13: Thesis-Driven Essay Draft Assignment
  • Lesson 14: Thesis-Driven Essay Final Assignment

Types of Writing Assignments

Each lesson will require the submission of written work. For most lessons (1–5, 8–12), these assignments will take the form of brief essays (a minimum of five paragraphs of five sentences each) that respond directly to the given essay prompt. Lessons 6 and 13 will ask you to write partial drafts of a midterm project and a final project, while lessons 7 and 14 will consist of submitting a finalized version of those projects.

Grading Criteria

Your course grade will be computed according to the following formula:

  • Regular Writing Assignments (Lesson 1–5, 8–12) — 50%
  • Project Draft Assignments (Lessons 6, 13) — 10%
  • Project Assignments (Lessons 7, 14) — 40%