Course Credits: 3
Asian Studies Major/Minor Course
- Fall 2021 - In person
- Spring 2021
- Fall 2019
- Spring 2018
As a leading scholar observed in 1991, Japan has remained “nominally and selfconsciously ‘postwar’ far longer than most other countries, which…have long since consigned their après-guerre to history.” This statement is even more true today, as several potential “turning points” in the 1990s and 2000s failed to crystallize as historical rupture. This class explores various political, economic, social, and cultural factors that hold together Japan’s postwar as a coherent era. Although many Japanese who lived through defeat at the hands of the Allies understood 1945 as “zero hour,” a moment of near-total disjunction, historians today generally believe that the outlines of the postwar period emerged during the war itself. Beginning with watershed years of the 1930s, we trace growth and development, social change, globalization, the quest for a collective identity, and other themes that have informed experiences in and of the evolving nationstate. Through the documented lives of the Japanese people and those around them, we reflect on the practice of contemporary history and the use of Japan as a case study of broader trends and transformations of the recent past. Prior knowledge of Japan and/or East Asia is helpful but not required. Students are, however, expected to have some college-level training in Asian Studies, history, or a cognate discipline. Through the analysis of primary and secondary sources on postwar Japan, we will build critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills for a successful academic and professional career.
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