HIST 2806A: Introduction to the History of Japanese Civilization
[Nihon Bunmei Rekishi Nyūmon]
Fall 2020-Winter 2021
Instructor: Professor Jacob Kovalio
A –ELEVEN fundamental elements inform Japan’s historical evolution: location in the northwestern corner of the Ring of Fire; intense tectonic/volcanic environment; dearth of natural resources; being an island-nation; a complex written language; non-monotheistic religious duality of Shintō & Buddhism; subservience of religion to political leadership; bureaucratic preponderance in state and society; existence of one – the world’s oldest- imperial dynasty; readiness to adopt and adapt foreign (Chinese, then Western) institutions/traditions ; self-perception of racial homogeneity. This full-year course – divided into two weekly classes of 1.5 hours each – blends comprehensive factual information and topical analysis of the political (institutional), social, cultural (religion, mythology and art) and economic realms of Japan’s history between the 5th century and 1941.
B – The course covers fourteen major topics and meets in two weekly sessions of 90-minutes each. If the New Coronavirus pandemic persists in Fall 2020 and beyond, teaching/learning will be synchronous. There are no classes during Fall Break, October 26th -30th. , 2020 and Winter Break, February 15th-19th ,2021.
C– The main learning tool for the class is Coursepack : HIST 2806 Introduction to the Civilization of Japan by Jacob Kovalio . The traditional text for the course is J.W. Hall, Japan: from Prehistory to Modern Times. University of Michigan Press, 1991. Both items will be available in the CU Bookstore at very convenient prices.
D – GRADING has four components: I – Attendance- 20%. II- One Fall Term identification and definition test and worth 20% of the grade. III– One typewritten/hard copy research essay due in late March 2021 , worth 40% of the final grade which is to include: 1 – A cover page. 2 – A brief opening summary. 3 – Footnotes as citation style. 4 – Up to ten sources – only ONE wikisource. There is no mandatory length and no email submission. IV– One Winter Term identification and definition test, covering ONLY Winter Term material and worth 20% of the course mark. STUDENTS MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS in order to be in GOOD STANDING.