Modernity and the State in East Asia: China, Japan and Korea since 1840
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Professor Antony Best, SAR 3.14
This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
May be taken by 3rd years where regulations permit.
The course is concerned with providing a comparative political history of the major East Asian countries, China, Japan and Korea, in the period from the Opium War to the 1990s. The course is concerned with providing a comparative political history of the major East Asian countries, China, Japan and Korea, in the period from the Opium War to the 1990s. It begins by looking at the impact of the arrival of Western imperialism in the mid-nineteenth century and the respective approaches taken by Japan, Korea and China in response to this encroachment. For Japan, it covers the rise of the Meiji state, the beginnings of constitutional government and the development of Japanese imperialism. This naturally is linked with the study of Korea's failed efforts to maintain its independence; in regard to China it deals with the attempts by the Qing state to introduce reforms and the final collapse of Imperial China. It then deals with the difficulties provoked by modernization and nationalism in the first-half of the twentieth century, taking in the rise and fall of Taisho democracy and the drift towards fascism in Japan and the Guomindang's revolution and state-building and the birth of the Chinese Communist Party in China. The course then concentrates on the aftermath of the Second World War for East Asia, studying the Chinese Civil War and the emergence of the People's Republic, the course and legacy of the US occupation of Japan and the formation of the two Koreas. The last part of the course covers the development of the People's Republic under Mao and Deng, the rise of Japan as an economic superpower and the emergence of South Korea and Taiwan as economic powers.
Lectures will be online. The School aims to run in-person classes, subject to circumstances, with some online provision if and where necessary.
There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent Terms.
Students will be required to submit three 2000 word essays in all and to sit a mock exam.
A detailed reading list will be issued at the start of the course, but the following survey texts are essential: W G Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan; P Duus (Ed), The Cambridge History of Japan: The Twentieth Century; L Eastman (Ed), The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949; J L McLain, Japan: A Modern History; R MacFarquhar (Ed), The Politics of China, 1949-1989; A Buzo, The Making of Modern Korea; J Spence, The Search for Modern China.
Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Department: International History
Total students 2020/21: 41
Average class size 2020/21: 13
Capped 2020/21: Yes (42)
Value: One Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Specialist skills