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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David Spafford
SISEA 241
Seattle Campus

Japanese Civilization

Japan's civilization, including its origins, government, literature, economic institutions, material culture, social organization, and religions, in relation to the development of Japan as a society and nation. Cannot be taken for credit if SISEA 341 previously taken. Offered: jointly with HSTAS 241.

Class description

This class is a brisk introduction to nearly two millennia of recorded premodern Japanese history. As a survey, the course gives attention to broad themes and problems in Japanís political, social, and cultural/intellectual history. Topics include the dialectic of national and local identities in shaping Japanese politicalcs, Japanís interactions with the Asian continent and the Western world, and the changing relations between past and present in various historical periods.

In the course of the quarter, students will read a variety of primary sources (in translation) and secondary scholarship, and will become acquainted not only with a narrative of Japanese history but with some of the salient issues and debates that have shaped that narrative. During lectures and quiz sections alike, students will be asked to engage the readings, so as to grasp the specifics of Japanese history and practice the analytical skills required of historians.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by David Spafford
Date: 03/28/2008