Same Bed, Different Dreams: Japan and the Koreas in the Twentieth Century

History R1B.001

Spring 2018
262 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 1-2
Class Number: 
  • This course satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.
  • This course does not count for credit toward the History Major but may fulfill other requirements.
  • This course explores the complex relationship between the two Koreas and Japan in the twentieth century. Linked by trade, diplomacy, and cultural exchange, the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago nevertheless share a fraught history characterized by imperialism, colonialism, violence and occupation. We will investigate fascinating puzzles that continue to vex the most accomplished historians, political scientists and sociologists today: How did a region poor in resources and largely isolated from the West emerge as one of economic vitality in the last hundred years? What have been the consequences of war, cataclysmic defeat, stalemate, division, and postwar economic resurgence? Why does Northeast Asia remain perhaps the only place in the world where the Cold War persists today? Assignments include evaluating movie trailers as pretend historical consultants, comparative analysis of news media on historical controversies over comfort women, textbooks, and commemoration, and close interrogation of primary source material. Active reading, short weekly responses, and two medium-length papers will help translate complex ideas into clear and workable essays. Our focus will be on reading historically, approaching texts critically, and fostering great writers whose prose will help them at the undergraduate level and beyond.