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HST 243: The Far East in the Modern World

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



The Far East in the Modern World



Course Description

Studies history of East Asia since 1800. The traditional cultures of China and Japan, the Western impact and the Asian response will be covered.

Topical Outline

  1. Traditional China
  2. Traditional Japan
  3. Western Impact and Transformation of China
  4. Modernization of Japan
  5. Nationalist and Communist China
  6. Twentieth Century Japan and Southeast Asia

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture/discussion
  2. Films 
  3. Overhead transparencies
  4. Map study
  5. Board outlines

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. List and identify the major geographical and political division of China and Japan.
  2. Explain the significance of Chinese prehistory with an emphasis on neolithic cultures.
  3. Analyze the contributions of the Shang dynasty and the earliest historical period, 1751 – 1123 BC.
  4. Apply the Dynastic Cycle to the Imperial Dynasties of China.
  5. Discuss and explain, in detail, the Classical Age of China and the contributions of the Chou Dynasty, 1123 – 256 BC.
  6. Interpret various documents from the dynastic period of Chinese history.
  7. Complete an interpretive document case study analysis.
  8. Explain in detail the origin of the First Empire, 221–207 BC and the contributions of the Chin Dynasty to China’s unification.
  9. Explain in detail how the Han Dynasty formed the Imperial System between 206 BC – 220 AD.
  10. Discuss the six dynasties and explain why the years 1220-589 AD is referred to as the period of Division and Challenges to the Imperial System.
  11. Explain how the Sui Dynasty reunified China and the Chinese Empire between 589–618 AD.
  12. Discuss in narrative form the contributions of the Tang Dynasty and trace the growth of the Imperial System from 618–907.
  13. Compare and contrast the major dynasties of China.
  14. Explain why the Sung Dynasty, 960–1125, is characterized as one of political weakness and cultural splendor. 
  15. Evaluate the impact of non-Chinese dynasties during the post-Sung period.
  16. Explain how the Ming Dynasty restored Chinese rule starting in 1368 and list the contributions this dynasty made to Chinese history.
  17. Explain in detail how the Ching Dynasty under the Manchus consolidated China starting in 1644.
  18. Trace the disintegration of the Imperial System form 1839–1911.
  19. Evaluate the impact of early Western contacts with China.
  20. Discuss the external pressures that led to the breakdown of the Canton system and the imposition of the treaty system.
  21. List and discuss the major uprisings and disorder from 1850–1873.
  22. Evaluate the impact of the Tung Chih Restoration and self-strengthening.
  23. Explain why the Chinese radical reforms of 1898 failed.
  24. Explain how the Chinese monarchy disintegrated between 1898–1911.
  25. List and discuss the causes of the Tai-Ping Rebellion and Boxer Rebellion.
  26. Trace the origins of the Revolution of 1911. 
  27. Explain how China searched for order between 1912–1917 and from 1917–1949.
  28. Discuss the contributions of Sun Yat-Sen to China.
  29. Explain the role of the National Government from 1928–1937.
  30. Discuss the causes of the Sino-Japanese Ware, and World War II, 1937–1945.
  31. Explain the reunification and modernization of China from 1949–1972.
  32. Explain Shinto and Japan’s mythological origins.
  33. Discuss the proto-historical period of Japan.
  34. Explain the contributions of the Yamato or Age of Clans period.
  35. List and discuss the Taika Reform period, 645–710.
  36. List the contributions of the Nara period, 710–794.
  37. Evaluate the Heian period, 794 – 1185.
  38. Discuss the Kamakura period, 1185–1333, and the transition to medieval society.
  39. Explain the Keemu Restoration.
  40. Evaluate the contributions of the Ashikaga period.
  41. Discuss the period of unification, 1573–1600.
  42. Explain how the Tokugawa’s unified Japan.
  43. List and discuss the economic and cultural developments of the Tokugawa’s.
  44. Trace the decline and destruction of the Tokigawa system.
  45. Explain the origin of the Meiji Restoration.
  46. Identify the foreign relations in the early Meiji period.
  47. Explain the opposition to Meiji oligarchy.
  48. Trace the military rise of Japan from 1868–1941.
  49. Explain the origins of World War II and Japan’s involvement from 1930–1945.
  50. Discuss the occupation of Japan after World War II.
  51. Explain the economic revolution in Japan from 1945–present.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Four (4) essay examinations
  2. Two (2) written reports: one dealing with a topic of the pre-1900 period, the other dealing with the post-1900 period.


Harkins, Window to the World of Imperial China, McGraw Hill, 2002.

Schirokauer, Brief History of Chinese & Japanese Civilization, 3rd edition. Harcourt, 2006.

Willis, Mountain of Fame, Princeton, 1994.

Prepared by: Michael Harkins, Fall, 2008