East Asia in the Age of Imperialism, 1839-1945
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Professor Antony Best, SAR 3.14
This course is available on the MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MA in Modern History, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and Asian History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
There are no formal pre-requisites for this course, but some knowledge of the international history of East Asia would be useful.
The course looks at the origins and the political, strategic, economic and cultural consequences of the arrival of Western imperialism in East Asia. Subjects covered by the course include the clash between the Westphalian and Sinocentric international orders; the opium wars; the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate; the Japanese, Korean and Chinese responses to the arrival of the West; the history of Western imperialism in China and the rise of Chinese nationalism; the rise of Japanese imperialism; the Russo-Japanese War and its consequences; pan-Asianism, race and immigration; the Chinese revolution of 1911-12; the rise of intra-Asian trade; the effect of Wilsonian and communist internationalism; Japan's move towards aggressive expansion in the 1930s; the outbreak of the Pacific War.
The School aims to run in-person seminars, 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 write three essays over the academic year. The second essay will be assessed and the third essay will be a mock examination.
A detailed reading list will be issued at the start of the course, but the following provide a useful introduction to the themes, events and historiography:
- Shigeru Akita (ed.), Gentlemanly Capitalism, Imperialism and Global History (Basingstoke, 2002);
- Warren Cohen, (ed), Pacific Passage: The Study of American-East Asian Relations on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century (New York, 1996);
- Merle Goldman & Andrew Gordon, (ed.), Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asia (Cambridge, Mass. 2000);
- Akira Iriye, Japan and the Wider World: From the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present (London, 1997);
- Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China (1999);
- Chushichi Tsuzuki, The Pursuit of Power in Modern Japan 1825-1995 (Oxford, 2000).
Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the LT.
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: 11
Controlled access 2020/21: No
Value: One Unit