Asian Civilization Syllabus

Hist 082: Survey of East Asian Civilization

Dr. Daniel Meissner
Coughlin Hall 324  (288-3552)

Course Description:
This one-semester Asian survey course provides an introduction to major issues in the historical development of China and Japan from antiquity to the present.  Lecture and readings emphasize the political, intellectual and religious heritage of these cultures a heritage which today defines and influences Chinese and Japanese societies throughout the world.  Films, projects, and discussions during weekly "workshops" enable students to examine specific themes in greater detail, and to participate in informed and reasoned discourse on relevant, topical issues.  This course offers the opportunity for students to engage in cross-cultural study of countries with long and rich historical records; extraordinary, enduring cultural achievements; and increasingly important roles in contemporary international affairs.

Course Objectives:   The course focuses on five major objectives:
     Development of basic knowledge of Chinese and Japanese history, society and culture.
     Development of  basic knowledge of  major political systems, artistic themes, economic trends, and philosophical developments in China and Japan.
     Development of specific knowledge of significant  people, places and events in Chinese and Japanese history.
     Development of critical reading, writing, and analytical skills through work with primary documents and research materials.
     Development of an "Asian Perspective" in the analysis of historical and contemporary global issues.

Conrad Schirokauer.  A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations.  3rd ed.
Patricia Ebrey, ed.  Chinese Civilization and Society: A Sourcebook.  2nd ed.
Short stories, articles, and documents will be distributed in class.

There will be weekly quizzes or short written assignments, one midterm, and a final.  Quizzes will require short answers based on questions related to weekly reading assignments.  The midterm and final will consist of short identifications and essay questions.  Make-up exams will only be given in special circumstances and as pre-arranged with the instructor.

Papers:  Several short (one-page) writing assignments pertaining to class readings and discussions will be required.  In addition, students will create a web page on a selected topic related to modern Chinese or Japanese history.

Assigned readings for each week should be completed prior to class.  The amount of reading required for this course is substantial.  Be careful not to fall behind.

Attendance: Regular attendance is required; absences will affect your grade.  Active participation in class discussion and projects is expected.  Students missing six or more classes can not pass this course.

Projects & web assignment
Weekly quizzes
Midterm exam
Final exam

Students are expected to stay current in their readings, complete projects on time, participate in discussions, thoroughly prepare for class and exams, and abide by university rules and regulations.  Incompletes will not be given (except according to university guidelines).

Special Accommodations:
Students who need special accommodations in order to meet any of the requirements of this course should speak to the instructor at the beginning of the semester.