Asia

280F.002 Spring 2012 The New Cultural History of Late Imperial and Modern China

A major and enduring trend in the historiography of late imperial and modern China has been the turn to cultural history. The focus on culture has not excluded attention to the state, economy, warfare or social classes, but rather provided new lenses through which to view them. New attention to material, commercial, print, religious, and physical culture has shifted, and in some cases fundamentally altered, our understanding of the last few centuries of Chinese history.

275F Spring 2012 Asia

We shall read and discuss genuinely excellent English-language monographs on Japanese history from the classical period to the present. The canon, as it were. The top hits, old and new, that deserve (and reward) careful attention. All welcome (auditors, visitors, old and new friends), as long as you read the work resourcefully and are ready for searching conversation. Selective attendance by auditors is fine.

280G Spring 2012 Writing History in Japan

This seminar will be concerned with the writing of history in Japan, and (mainly) of Japan, from the late Tokugawa era onward. Readings will be chiefly in Japanese. They will consist of essays or extracts from longer works that have played a role in setting the course of Japanese historiography in their own time and since, supplemented by selected secondary materials. In addition to reading and discussing these works on a weekly basis, students will be asked to prepare short annotated translations of selected materials.

103F.002 Spring 2012 Religion and Rebellion in Modern East Asia

From a massive Chinese civil war led by a man claiming to be the brother of Jesus, to Tibetan monks fighting for religious freedom in China, to Aum Shinrikyo's 1995 attack on Tokyo commuters, religion has often been a primary factor in movements of resistance and rebellion in East Asia. How have religion and religious activity served as conduits to express dissatisfaction with society and/or central authority? How have local societies reacted to such cults? How have Western observers exoticized/Orientalized popular religious movements in East Asia?

103F.003 Spring 2012 South Asian/Indian History

This course looks at the history of visual-cultural production in modern South Asia over 300 years (that is, covering the Mughal empire and its successor states; British India; and the independent nations of India and Pakistan after 1947). We examine visual evidence as a new way into the changing contexts of socio-political history, focusing on the interplay between elite and then popular patronage of cultural production and the values that expresses.

101.005 Spring 2012 Anything on the Middle East and North Africa post 1600

All research topics relating to early modern and modern history of the region from Afghanistan to Morocco are welcome. The expectation is that you can do primary research in one of the languages of the region and that you will attempt a history from the inside out. By that I mean a history that pays some attention to the actual lives, actions, and thoughts of the peoples of these regions. If you cannot do research in a Middle East language, then topics on the encounter with Europe and the United States are also welcome.

101.003 Spring 2012 Asian Worldviews

The Asian Worldviews seminar is open to thesis writers working on any topic, time, or place in Asia. Our approach will be methodological, rather than topical, developing historical papers through close reading and exposition of a key text. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with Professor Cook in the Fall semester to discuss their interests, and should enter the seminar having already identified a primary source (in translation, if necessary) from which to begin their investigation.

285F Fall 2011 Provincial Life in Imperial Domains

What happens to time and space, to the economy and law, to gender and the body, to politics and ideology when one steps outside of Istanbul, Cairo, London, or Paris? This research seminar explores the theoretical approaches, methodolgies, and sources available to those interested in the social and cultural histories of provincial towns and their hinterlands in Euroasia from early modern times to the end of the British and French Empires.

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