Intellectual History of Modern East Asia

History 103F.003

Fall 2012
Day & Time: 
W 10-12P
George Lazopoulos is a doctoral candidate in East Asian History at UC Berkeley specializing in the intellectual history of modern Japan. His dissertation, "Buddhism and the Roots of Japanese Antimodernism, 1868-1931," is an intellectual history of philosophical Buddhism in modern Japan. He received an MA in East Asian Area Studies from the University of Southern California.


This seminar traces the history of East Asia since the mid-nineteenth century through its ideas. Who are the intellectuals in modern East Asia? What is their role and status in society? How have they interpreted and influenced the major events and issues in modern East Asian history, such as: the intrusion of Western imperialism; the fall of traditional political regimes; the problem of tradition vs. modernization; the question of a non-Western modernity; Japanese imperialism and Pan-Asianism; revolution and left-wing ideology; the Pacific War; the economic rise of postwar Japan and China; war memory; human rights, democracy, and civil society. We will explore these and other questions though a mix of scholarly works and primary sources in translation. The assignments (in-class presentations, brief reflection papers, one short book review, and one longer historiographical essay) provide training in the basic practices of historiographical criticism. This seminar is ideal for any student intending to write a 101 thesis on modern China, Japan, and/or Korea.