HIST 2806A: Introduction to the History of Japanese Civilization
[Nihon Bunmei Rekishi Nyūmon]
Fall 2021-Winter 2022
Instructor: Professor Jacob Kovalio
Stay safe and healthy! We will get through this together!
A – HIST 2806A is offered online due to the New Coronavirus pandemic. The course will again be taught synchronously – in two weekly lectures/discussions of 90 minutes each– using Zoom. A short musical intermezzo will be offered at half time.
B – 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 rulers ; bureaucratic domination of state and society; existence of ONE – the world’s oldest- imperial dynasty; readiness to adopt and adapt foreign (Chinese, then Western) institutions/traditions to reinforce Japanese identity; self-perception of racial homogeneity. This fascinating, full-year class – 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 6th century and 1941. The detailed syllabus will be ready by early August.
C. Grading includes two ORAL components: I –One MID-TERM ORAL test (composed of TEN short identification and definition questions from a list of FORTY circulated in due course) worth 50% of the FINAL mark. II – a FINAL ORAL exam (worth 50% of the FINAL mark) composed of TWO types of questions: 1 – FIVE short identification and definition questions from a list of forty questions circulated in due course; 2- a discussion on two salient issues from ONE research topic – chosen by each student from the syllabus and prepared over time. PARTICIPANTS MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS IN ORDER TO BE IN GOOD STANDING. Regular attendance is strongly urged, expected and checked. STUDENTS MUST COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS in order to be in GOOD STANDING.
D. Introduction to the History of the Civilization of Japan Coursepack: 2021-2022 edition by Jacob Kovalio – used in every class- will be available by early August in the CU Bookstore at a nominal price. The basic textbook for the course is J.W. Hall, Japan: from Prehistory to Modern Times. University of Michigan Press,1991 available in the CU Bookstore or online.