East Asian Languages and Cultures | East Asia: An Introduction
E100 | 6460 | O'Bryan, S.


It is clear that the East Asian region will continue to increase in
political, economic, and cultural power during the twenty-first
century. This course will introduce students to major themes and
events in the early modern and modern histories of China, Taiwan,
Japan, North Korea, and South Korea and link these to such present-
day topics as the North Korean nuclear crisis, commemorations in
2005 of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War,
and the world-wide cultural presence of Japanese manga,
anime, “superflat” art styles, and electronic gaming.

The course is divided into five module sections, each examining in
historical perspective a separate topic of political or cultural
interest: 1) the long-run historical connections that linked East
Asians to one another culturally and politically before the modern
period; 2) the ways in which East Asians have been both objects and
subjects of modern forms of empire; 3) the ways in which the idea of
modern nationalism was expressed among East Asians; 4) the history
of the conflict we know as World War II in East Asian history and
its continuing place in East Asian memory and politics; and finally
5) a cultural module that touches on the rise of modern consumption
societies; the shifting place of mainline religious traditions of
Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintoism; and the post-WW II
global rise of East Asian film and visual arts.