Stunning revolutions, the construction and collapse of an empire, the waging of wars, devastating defeat and occupation by a foreign power, and postwar economic ups and downs have marked Japan’s modern experience. This course will explore how various Japanese from politicians and intellectuals to factory workers and farmers have understood, instigated, and lived the upheavals of the past century and a half. We will ask why a modernizing revolution emerged out of the ashes of the early modern order; how Japan’s encounters with “the West” have shaped the country’s political and cultural life; what democracy and its failures have wrought; how world war was experienced and what legacies it left in its wake; how national identity has been constructed and reconstructed; and how postwar Japan has struggled with the successes and costs of affluence. Materials will include anthropological studies, government documents, intellectual tracts, fiction, films, and oral histories.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, response papers, two short papers (5 pages), and a self-scheduled final exam or research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: GBST East Asian Studies Electives; HIST Group B Electives - Asia