HIST241: Pre-Modern Northeast Asia

Course Syllabus for "HIST241: Pre-Modern Northeast Asia"

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This course will introduce you to the history of East Asia from the early Yellow River civilizations to the Qing Dynasty in the late eighteenth century.  You will learn about the major political, economic, and social changes that took place in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam during this period.  The course will be structured chronologically.  Each unit will include representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the development of a coherent Chinese identity, Chinese imperial aspirations in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, the expansion of Western influence and trade networks, the Mongol invasions, and the role of Confucianism and Buddhism in East Asian culture.  By the end of the course, you will understand how East Asia transformed from fragmented and warring societies into consolidated imperial states that sought to separate themselves from Western religion and commerce.  The course will present a variety of resources that will discuss the social, political, cultural, technological, and materials aspects of East Asian society.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Compare the philosophical schools of thought that influenced the political and religious development of East Asia to the eighteenth century.
  • Identify the common educational and cultural sources that have served as the foundation of multiple Chinese political dynasties.
  • Compare the development of societies in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan since 1500 B.C.E.
  • Differentiate between decentralized and centralized authority in the political history of China, Japan, and Korea by comparing governing bodies that range from clans to kingdoms to dynastic empires.
  • Describe the interactions between Europeans and rulers in China and Japan and the eventual isolationist policies that develop in East Asia.
  • Identify the key technological innovations in East Asian societies that transformed the political systems and social hierarchy of the region.
  • Analyze and contextualize a selection of East Asian literary and artistic works including objects of material culture. 

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed all the courses listed in “The Core Program” of the history discipline, including HIST101, HIST102, HIST103, and HIST104.

Course Information

Welcome to HIST241. Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.
Course Designer: Andrew D. A. Bozanic
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Note that the course is structured chronologically.  You will also need to complete:

  • The Final Exam 

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the readings, web media, and lectures in each unit.
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 88.5 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your timeaccordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 7 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunits 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 (a total of 2.25 hours) on Monday night; Subunits 1.1.3, 1.1.4, and 1.2.1 (a total of 2.75 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.