HIST 363. Seminar: Imperialism, War and Visual Culture in East Asia, 1874-1945 (crosslisted with FAMS 363)

In light of the radical impact the war had on Americans and Asians in the 1940s, it is understandable that Japan’s military adventurism is often viewed from the perspective of combatants and victims. Nonetheless, an overly simplistic view of Japan as a fundamentally predatory and martial state—”Japan as villain”—is unsatisfactory from an historical standpoint. Such demonology fails to explain why a country that fought no foreign wars between 1600 and 1895, and again from 1945 to 2010, joined in the great EuroAmerican scramble for colonies of the Victorian era and mobilized itself for total war from 1931-1945. In this seminar, we shall probe the motivations, sentiments, and political views of the Japanese aggressors to ask ourselves just how exceptional they were in light of global trends in nationalism, imperialism, and diplomacy in the first half of the twentieth century. [GM2, W] [W] Prof. Barclay
Prerequisites: One of the following courses: HIST 206, 236, 237, 244, 248, 249, 250, or 261 or permission of instructor