Japan, Archaeological Period to 1800

History 118A

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 9:30-11A
  • This course satisfies the Pre-Modern Requirement for the History Major.
  • An exploration of society and ecology from the period of earliest settlement until the construction of the Tokugawa shogunate c. 1600. Includes the development of the classical imperial state, the formation of the medieval warrior governments, and the experience of mass civil war during the 16th century. We are concerned with the complex sources of power-land and food control, violence, family and class structures, literacy and knowledge, social contracts. We are also concerned with the complex expression of culture-in buildings and material objects, Shinto and Buddhist belief, myth and historical writing, poetry and fiction, drama and popular storytelling. The course draws on a rich variety of original texts (such as Tales of the Heike and The Tale of Genji) and includes extensive visual evidence. Two very short essays, one longer essay, a mid-term and a final examination. No prerequisites, all welcome.

    Course Books

    Tales of the Heike by Watson, Burton, tr. Columbia University Press. ISBN: 978-0231138031 Required
    Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon by Morris, Ivan, tr. Columbia University Press. ISBN: 978-0231073370 Required
    Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times by Hall, John Whitney University of Michigan. ISBN: 978-0939512546 Required