An unabating tension between conflict and compromise has been an undercurrent of U.S.-Japan relations since the 1850s, at times erupting into clashes reaching the scale of world war and at times allowing for measured collaboration. We will explore the U.S.-Japan relationship from the perspectives of both countries with a focus on how culture, domestic concerns, economic and political aims, international contexts, and race have helped shape its course and nature. This course will fulfill the Difference, Power, and Equity requirement by examining not just the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Japan, but also how various types of interactions have influenced the dynamics of power between these two countries and have shaped the ways in which each country has understood and portrayed the other.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
class participation, response papers (500 words), two short papers (5 pages), and a self-scheduled final exam or research paper (12-15 pages)
none; open to first-year students with instructors permission
History or Asian Studies majors/prospective majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
The course focuses on differences in power (economic, cultural, political, and military) between Japan and the U.S., from the 1850s through the present. It considers the ways in which Japan has been subordinate to the U.S. for much of this history, and the conflicts that have resulted when Japan has attempted to overturn this dynamic of power. Students will acquire the skills of history and international relations to examine how race, culture, and politics have shaped this relationship.