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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

History (HIST)

HIST 184 (GH;IL) (ASIA 184) Society and Culture in the Pacific War (3) Examines the role of society and culture in the Pacific War's causes, contexts, realities, and aftermath.

HIST (ASIA) 184 Society and Culture in the Pacific War (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This class examines the culture and society of modern Asia in the periods immediately before, during and after the Pacific War. While for Americans the Pacific War took place from 1941 to 1945, many people across Asia experienced the war’s beginnings in the late nineteenth century and its repercussions reverberated into the 1960s and even beyond. This course looks at social and historical trends across Asia during this time period in order to better understand the causes of the war and the affect it had on people throughout Asia.

The first section of the course begins with Japan’s rise in the 1890s, situating that rise in the reforms of the Meiji state that increased urbanization, industrialization, opportunities for women, and interaction with other nations. As the course moves chronologically toward war, students will examine the fall of the Qing dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China, the experiences of people living under Japanese colonial rule in Korea and Taiwan, and the repercussions for the Great (European) War in Asia.

The second section of the course looks at the period from the initial Japanese moves into China in 1931 through the end of World War II. It should be stressed that this section of the course will not focus on military maneuvers or battles. Instead, the class will consider the way political and military events affected the day-to-day lives of people throughout Asia. Topics will include the mobilization of Japanese citizens for “Total War,” the colonization of Manchuria, the “Rape of Nanking,” wartime atrocities (including the treatment of “comfort women”),the use of ideas of eugenics, race, and hygiene as justification for Japanese empire, Japanese efforts at empire building in Southeast Asia, the entrance of the U.S. into the Pacific War, and the firebombings and atomic bomb attacks on Japan.

The third section of the course considers the war’s aftermath in Asia. Topics will include the reconstruction of Japan, the tensions around American military presence in Japan, the trials of war criminals, the Chinese Civil War, and the partition of Korea. Students will be encouraged to look critically at cultural evidence from post-war Japan, such as anime, manga, monster movies (like Godzilla), music, and literature in order to understand the post-war mindset. Finally, students will consider how the post-war reconstruction efforts across Asia laid the groundwork for present-day Asia as well as examining the contentious debates over how the war’s victims and events are remembered and memorialized.

General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures and Humanities
Effective: Summer 2012

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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