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2020-2021 Course Catalog

HIST 4850 Twilight of the Samurai: Early Modern Japan

4 hours


In this course, we will explore the multiple meanings attached to the Tokugawa period (1600-1868) in Japanese history by reading and discussing works written by Tokugawa-era Japanese, as well as accounts by non-Japanese observers and modern scholars of Japanese history and culture. We learn about the political and social arrangements that differentiated early modern Japan from Western countries (then and now), as well as elements of Tokugawa society and culture that make it seem familiar. Examining the vibrant, diverse culture of early modern Japan allows us to reflect on our own assumptions about the rules that govern human relations, the principles that form the foundation of a just government, the meaning of honor and loyalty, and the relationship between the past and the present. This also counts as an elective for the Modern Language Studies major.
HIST 4850 meets with HIST 3850. The requirements of the courses are the same EXCEPT that a research paper is required for students in 4850.