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HIST241: Pre-Modern Northeast Asia

Unit 5: Korea and Vietnam   Similarly to Japan, the earliest developing societies in Korea and Vietnam also felt the direct influence of their Chinese neighbors.

Korea was more profoundly affected by Chinese civilization than any other region.  Although Korea developed its own distinct cultural and political identity, its earliest kingdom, the Choson, was conquered by the Han dynasty in 109 B.C.E.  After the fall of the Han, Korea adopted many aspects of Chinese culture—including Buddhist and Chinese writing—through the process of Sinification.  The growth of the three kingdoms of Koguryo, Paekche, and Shilla during the first 1000 years of the Common Era eventually led to two unified dynasties: the Shilla and the Koryo.  These dynasties established a growing culture and increasingly complex political structure on the peninsula that assimilated and rejected aspects of the neighboring societies in Japan and China.

The fertile, rice-growing region of southeast Asia—Vietnam—attracted Chinese interest.  The Viet people, however, maintained a separate society while also voluntarily embracing some aspects of Chinese civilization.  After the Qin dynasty raided Vietnam around 220 B.C.E., commerce increased between the Viets and the Chinese.  However, the Viet people continued to maintain a distinct ethnicity and language from the Chinese.

In this unit, you will examine the complex relationship between Chinese culture and the early Vietnamese and Korean societies.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: This unit should take you 7.5 hours to complete.

Subunit 5.1: 3.75 hours Introduction: 2 hours

Subunit 5.1.2: 1.25 hours

Subunit 5.1.5: 0.5 hour

Subunit 5.2: 3.75 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
- Compare the development of societies in Korea and Vietnam with their influential neighboring societies in China and Japan. - Connect the geography and agricultural development of Vietnam with its social and political culture. - Draw comparisons between Chinese political and religious aspects and their Korean counterparts.

5.1 Korea   - Reading: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Korean History” Link: The Ohio State University: Professor Mark Bender’s Module 2: Histories of East Asia: “Korean History” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above to access the Ohio State University webpage, and then click on the link entitled “Korean History” on the left-hand side of the page.  Read the sections entitled “Introduction,” “Prehistory and Early Kingdoms,” “Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasty,” and “The Last Dynasty,” in order to examine the social, political, and cultural development of Korean civilization.  Compare how the development of Korean kingdoms and dynasties with that of the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties in China.  How did the Chinese form a lasting connection with Korean society?  Examine how the Korean relationship with the Mongols was both beneficial and detrimental to their livelihood on the peninsula.  Please note that this reading covers the topics outlined in Subunits 5.1.1 through 5.1.5.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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5.1.1 Prehistory and the Three Kingdoms: Koguryo, Paekche and Shilla   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “Prehistory and Early Kingdoms.”

5.1.2 The Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasties   - Lecture: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum: Dr. Robert Mowry’s “Ceramics of the Goreyo/Koryo and Joseon/Choson Dynasties” Link: iTunes U: Asian Art Museum: Dr. Robert Mowry’s “Ceramics of the Goreyo/Koryo and Joseon/Choson Dynasties” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the title “Ceramics of the Goreyo…,” and select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture.  Please watch the entire one hour video lecture by Dr. Robert Mowry from Harvard University as he discusses the development of metal and ceramic arts in Korea during the Koryo and Choson Dynasties.  This lecture will enable students to contextualize the artistic objects and to get a sense of the material world of Korea circa 918 CE to 1910 CE.  Listening to this lecture and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
 
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5.1.3 Chinese Influence on Korean Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “Unified Shilla and Koryo Dynasty” to examine how these Korean dynasties modeled their governmental systems (and examination systems in the case of the Koryo) on those of their Chinese neighbors.

5.1.4 Koryo Collapse and Dynastic Renewal   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.1.  Focus specifically on the section entitled “The Last Dynasty.”

5.1.5 Buddhism in Korea   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art: Soyoung Lee’s “Korean Buddhist Sculpture (5th-9th Century)” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Department of Asian Art: Soyoung Lee’s “Korean Buddhist Sculpture (5th-9th Century)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this entire webpage to explore the influence of Buddhism in Korea and its influence on art and architecture.  View the slideshow to see Korean representations of the Buddha and a bodhisattva.  Click on each individual item in the slideshow for more details.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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5.2 Vietnam   5.2.1 Life in the Red and Mekong River Deltas   - Reading: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Prehistory” Link: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Prehistory” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this section to learn about the development of life and culture in the region now known as Vietnam.  Stop when you get to the section “Chinese Colonization (200BC to 938AD).” This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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5.2.2 Han Conquest, Resistance, and Rebellion   - Reading: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Chinese Colonization (200BC to 938AD)” Link: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Chinese Colonization (200BC to 938AD)” (HTML)
           
Instructions: Please read this entire section in order to examine the influence of the Chinese Han dynasty on the people living in the region of Vietnam.  Pay particular attention to the story of the Trung sisters, who are still honored today for their attempts at rebellion against the Chinese.  Stop when you get to the section “Vietnamese Independence (950-1859).”  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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5.2.3 Independence from China   - Reading: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Vietnamese Independence (950 - 1859)” Link: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-History: “Vietnamese Independence (950-1859)” (HTML)
           
Instructions: Please read this entire section concerning the establishment of a series of distinct Vietnamese dynasties.  While these kingdoms still felt the influence (both culturally and militarily) of their Chinese neighbors, the Vietnamese successfully defended themselves from attacks by the Khmer and Cham.  The section ends with the introduction of the French in Vietnam, an outside influence that was both beneficial and detrimental to Vietnamese independence.  Stop when you get to the section “French Colonization (1874- 1954).”  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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5.2.4 Vietnamese Culture   - Reading: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-Culture: “Art and Architecture” Link: Michigan State University: Asian Studies Center’s Windows on Asia: Vietnam-Culture: Art and Architecture” (HTML)
           
Instructions: Please read the sections “Neolithic Culture,” “Early Dynastic Art,” “Early Chinese Influence in Vietnamese Art,” “A New Cultural Center,” and “The Final Dynasty.”  Compare aspects of Chinese and Vietnamese art and architecture by drawing on the material covered in previous sections.  What is unique about Vietnamese art?  In what ways do the Chinese play a role in the cultural development of the Vietnamese dynasties?  Some of the embedded hyperlinks in the text are broken, but most links provide images and additional resources for exploring.  This reading and these questions should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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  • Reading: World History Connected: Marc Jason Gilbert’s “When Heroism Is Not Enough: Three Women Warriors of Vietnam, Their Historians and World History” Link: World History Connected: Marc Jason Gilbert’s “When Heroism Is Not Enough: Three Women Warriors of Vietnam, Their Historians and World History” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article (from the beginning up to the section entitled “Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Visions”) to explore the cultural impact of powerful female figures in Vietnamese history: the Trung Sisters and Trieu Thi Trinh.  How do these women compare to some of the mythical heroes depicted in Chinese literature?  This reading and question should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
     
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