JAPN 486
Historical Memory of the Pacific War Fall 2009
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed ASST 486 / HIST 486 / JAPN 486
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Over six decades after Japan’s surrender, the issue of how to remember the Pacific War continues to raise controversy both within Japan and between Japan, Korea, and China. This tutorial will consider how individuals, groups of individuals, and nations construct and reconstruct historical memories by examining how various Japanese, as well as Koreans and Chinese, have sought to remember the Pacific War. The course will begin with a discussion of theoretical writings on the social and political construction of historical memory and the distinctions between official, collective, and historical memory. Then we will consider Japan’s unique position as both wartime aggressor and victim, focusing on how the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Occupation, and the Tokyo war crimes trial have shaped how the war has been remembered. We will also deal with how the war has been portrayed in literature, film, and other media. Finally, the course will explore how Japanese, Korean, and Chinese memories of the war continue to influence relationships within East Asia. We will examine the mnemonic sites contested by Chinese, Korean, and Japanese memories by discussing issues pertaining to military comfort women, the Nanking massacre, Unit 731, history textbooks, and Yasukuni shrine. Themes will include how the construction of memory is linked to the nation, how the passage of time influences the construction of historical memory, and the dilemmas of coming to terms with pasts contested both within and between countries.
The Class: Format: tutorial; students will meet with the instructor in pairs for an hour each week; a student either will write and present orally a 5- to 7-page essay on the assigned readings or be responsible for offering an oral critique of the work of their partner
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1114
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will be evaluated on their written work and their analyses of their partner's work; there will a final paper (15 pages) on the themes of the course.
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Unit Notes: meets Group B requirement in History major only if registration is under HIST
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASST 486 Division II HIST 486 Division II JAPN 486 Division II

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