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2020-2021 Course Catalog

HIST 2810 Introduction to East Asian History

4 hours


This course introduces students to major topics in the history of East Asia. Rather than a century-by-century narrative covering prehistory to the present, the course emphasizes the theme of inter-regional relations. Students learn about traditions such as Confucianism and Buddhism that provided a foundation for the development of centralized, Sinicized states in East Asia, as well as the cultural, economic, and political aspects of the tribute system that structured inter-regional relations throughout the pre-modern period. The second half of the semester picks up the theme of inter-regional relations in the modern period by examining the continuing impact of twentieth-century warfare on the Chinese, the Koreans, and the Japanese. Our sources include a combination of secondary scholarship by leading experts on East Asian history as well as primary historical and literary sources. This also counts as an elective for the Modern Language Studies major.