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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David Spafford
HSTAS 520
Seattle Campus

Premodern Japanese History

Field course; Japanese history prior to 1868. Prerequisite: HSTAS 421 and HSTAS 422, or SISEA 441 and SISEA 541, or permission of instructor.

Class description

The seminar will be an introduction to recent scholarship on premodern Japan--primarily the early modern period. In particular, weekly readings will familiarize students with the growing body of English-language scholarship that has been drawing attention to the links between travel (be it for leisure, duty, or pilgrimage) and the printing and publishing industry. This scholarship has shown the importance of travel and travel literature, for instance, in the formation of a nascent, proto-national Japanese identity, challenging the long-established, one-dimensional view of the Tokugawa period as conservative and dominated by an oppressive regime bent on "freezing" the social order and quashing commoner initiative and mobility.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

No formal prerequisites. If this is your first class in pre-modern Japanese history, please contact me before the start of the quarter.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be expected to take turns presenting on readings, to write three short book reviews and one longer (10-15pp) paper based on the quarter's readings.


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: 07/30/2010