This is a free online course that was offered by the Saylor Foundation. It now is only available in a MOOC>
"Only 150 years ago, the empires and states of Northeast Asia—for many centuries far more developed than their contemporaries in most of Asia, and all of Europe, the Americas and Africa—found themselves powerless in the face of the military, technological and economic might of the European imperialist powers and the United States. Yet, today, most of these states have once again become key players in the contemporary world order: economically, politically, culturally, and, in many instances, militarily. In this course, we will study how and why the ‘modern’ transformation of Northeast Asia came about, examining both the indigenous and foreign ideas and institutions on which the transformations were based, and comparing how change manifested in different times and places. We will analyze many of the problems faced both domestically and internationally during this transformation, and will evaluate the prospects for the region in the 21st century.
In order to do so, we will trace the political, economic and cultural development of Northeast Asia from late imperial times (the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries) to the present. In particular, we will analyze tensions within and between countries over power, status and resources, assess the challenges of preserving ‘tradition’ while attaining ‘modernity’, and distinguish competing concepts of ‘modernization’ and ideas about how it should be accomplished. We will also assess the importance of ideas and ideologies (such as nationalism, imperialism, communism, capitalism), and the ways in which they affected—and continue to affect—the domestic political, economic and social development of individual countries, and shape their relations with other states within and beyond the region.
Using both primary sources (such as government documents, speeches and writings by major political, intellectual, and cultural figures of the time, artifacts of everyday life, still and moving images) and secondary sources (such as lectures and readings), we will attempt to understand and evaluate some of the past and present dynamics of this most dynamic region both from ‘within’ and from ‘without’."
Peter Chua (Faculty)
Cathy Swift (Administrator)