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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 481 (IL) (ASIA 481) Modern Japan Since 1800 (3) The transformation of Japan from a relatively isolated, agricultural nation into a highly industrialized world power.

HIST (ASIA) 481 Modern Japan Since 1800 (3)

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

In the late 19th century, Japan emerged from relative seclusion and grew, within the period of a few decades, into one of the world’s major powers. Japan’s remarkable transformation into an imperialist power ended suddenly with defeat by the Allied powers in August 1945. But the history of prewar and wartime Japanese nation-building and economic growth set the stage for postwar rebuilding. This course examines Japan’s development as a powerful modern state, imperialist aggressor, defeated nation, economic power-house, and pop culture super-power. Specific content will vary according to individual instructor, but may include the structures of state and society in the early 19th century, the creation of the Meiji state (1868-1912), the successes and costs of the Meiji government’s program of rapid modernization and Westernization, imperialist expansion, the road to war and defeat in World War II, the postwar U.S. occupation of Japan (1945–1952), Japan’s resurgence as a global power, and some of the major challenges facing the Japanese state and society today. The goals of the class are not only to gain an understanding of the history of another country, but also to develop the skill of building such an understanding through primary and secondary sources, both written and visual. Students in this class will take on the role of historian themselves, thinking critically about assigned texts and making their own interpretations of their meanings. Through readings, discussions, and written work, students will enhance their ability to think critically and to express their ideas clearly in both speech and writing.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Fall 2014
Prerequisite: HIST 172, HIST 174 orHIST 175

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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