Prof. Thomas Wilson
Hamilton College
History 360
Spring 2005
Class time: Mon. 1-4:00

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Since myth is usually construed as a form of fabrication and history is typically understood as a record of facts, the term “mythical histories” may seem like an oxymoron. The term recognizes, however, the most pervasive “fact” about history: that the past and the written record of it is used to explain, justify, or critique the state of things in the historian’s (or reader’s) own time. Such uses of the past are rarely innocent; history is rarely written and read without motives that are external to the historical facts themselves. The pervasive use of history in this way is to “mythologize” the past. This does not mean that we can only write and read history tendentiously. Nor does it mean that we, as readers of history, should reject historical accounts as merely biased renderings of objective historical truths. To the contrary, this poses an interesting challenge for us to read histories from a variety of perspectives in order to uncover the manifold ways that the past continually resonates in the present: in the present of the writers of history as well as the readers of it.

1. Introduction (1/17)

2. Myth & History (1/24)

Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History , 1-103

* précis (2 pp., or approx. 600 words; send to me as an email attachment by 10:00 AM)

Further Readings:

Gabrielle Spiegel, “Genealogy: Form and Function in Medieval Historical Narrative,” History and Theory 22 (Feb. 1983) 1: 43-53 (JSTOR)

3. Origins: China (1/31)

“Sheng min”, Book of Odes, 198-202 (Bernhard Kalgren trans.)

“The Chou Book,” The Grand Scribe’s Records (aka Record of the Historian), 55-86

K.C. Chang, Art, Myth, and Ritual , 9-55

Conrad Schirokauer, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, 4-26

Further Readings:

Wu Hung, “Ancient Sovereigns,” The Wu-liang Shrine , 244-52

Richard Strassberg, A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas

4. Origins: Japan (2/7)

Record of Ancient Matters ( Kojiki ), 37-92

Chronicles of Japan ( Nihonshugi), 1-63

Sources of Japanese Tradition , 12-33

Conrad Schirokauer, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, 130-154

Further Readings:

Robinson, G. W. “Early Japanese Chronicles: The Six National Histories,” Historians of China and Japan , 213-228

Anne Birrell, Chinese Mythology: An Introduction

5. The Sovereign (2/14)

China : Son of Heaven, Mandate of Heaven, Legitimate Succession

Yang Wei-chen (1296-1370), “Polemics on Legitimate Succession,” 51-72

Richard L. Davis, “Historiography as Politics in Yang Wei-chen’s ‘Polemics on Legitimate Succession’,” 33-51

* précis

Chan Hok-lam, Legitimation in Imperial China: Discussions Under the Jurchen Chin Dynasty (1115-1234) , 3-48

Japan : Divine Emperor

Kitabatake Chikafusa (1293-1354), A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns, 1-41, 49-129

Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801), “The Way of the Gods,” Monumenta Nipponica 46.1: 21-41

Further Readings:

Susan Burns, Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan

Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725), Lessons from History ( Tokushi yoron)

G. W. Robinson and W. G. Beasley, “Japanese Historical Writing in the Eleventh to Fourteenth Centuries,” Historians of China and Japan , 229-244

Ssu-ma Ch’ien (d. ca. 85 B.C.), “The Five Emperors,” The Grand Scribe’s Records , 1-17

6. Truth (2/21)

Chu Hsi (1130-1200), Reflections of Things as Hand , 279-308

Wing-tsit Chan, “Chu Hsi’s Completion of Neo-Confucianism,” 103-138

Thomas A. Wilson, Genealogy of the Way , 72-111

Chang Hsüeh-ch’eng (1738-1801), “On the Tao”

Ogyû Sorai (1666-1728), “Bendô : A Discourse on the Way,” Tokugawa Political Writings , 1-33

Tetsuo Najita, “Interpreting the Historicism of Ogyû Sorai,” Tokugawa Political Writings , xiii-liv

Maruyama Masao, “Orthodoxy and Legitimacy in the Kimon School,” Journal of Sino-Japanese Studies , Pt. 1: 6-49; Pt. 2: 4-33

Yamazaki Michio, “The Tradition of the Way in Japan,” Chu Hsi and Neo-Confucianism , 584-594

Further Readings:

Liu Shu-hsien. “The Problem of Orthodoxy in Chu Hsi’s Philosophy,” Chu Hsi and Neo-Confucianism , 437-460

David S. Nivison, “History and the Tao,” The Life and Thought of Chang Hsüeh-ch’eng

Herman Ooms, Tokugawa Ideology: Early Constructs, 1570-1680 , 3-62

Kate Wildman Nakai, “Tokugawa Confucian Historiography: The Hayashi, Early Mito School, and Arai Hakuseki,” Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture , 62-91

W. G. Beasley, “Japanese Historical Writing in the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868),” Historians of China and Japan , 245-263

H. D. Harootunian, Toward Restoration: The Growth of Political Consciousness in Tokugawa Japan

Peter Nosco, “Neo-Confucianism and Tokugawa Discourse,” Confucianism and Tokugawa Culture , 3-26

7. Student planning session (2/28)

(1) description of topic and central problem; (2) historical background to topic & problem; (3) statement of interpretation, thesis; (4) plan for session

8. Geography (3/7)

Marcia Yonemoto, “The ‘Spacial Vernacular’ in Tokugawa Maps,” JAS 5 (Aug. 2000) 3: 647-666

Kazutaka Unno, “Cartography in Japan,” Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies : The History of Cartography Vol. 2, Book 2: 346-455

Carol Gluck, “The Invention of Edo,” Mirror of Modernity

Benedict Anderson, “Census, Map, Museum ,” 243-58

Thongchai Winichakul, “The Presence of Nationhood,” Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation , 1-19

Further Readings:

Hashimoto Mitsuru, “Chihô: Yanagita Kunio’s ‘ Japan,’” Mirror of Modernity

Partha Chaterjee, “Whose Imagined Community?,” The Nation and Its Fragments , 3-13

9. State & Nation (3/28)

Carol Gluck, Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period , 3-101

Julia Thomas, “Naturalizing Nationhood: Ideology and Practice in Early Twentieth-Century Japan,” Japan’s Competing Modernities , 114-32

Itô Kimio, “The Invention of Wa and the Transformation of the Image of Prince Shôtoku in Modern Japan,” Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan

Kevin Doak, “Culture, Ethnicity, and the State in Early Twentieth-Century Japan,” Japan ’s Competing Modernities: Issues in Culture and Democracy, 1900-1930 , 181-205

Further Readings:

James Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs , 3-135

Theresa M. Grew, Construction of Ethnicity and Minorities in Japan: An Examination of Nation-building and the Japanese Myth of Homogeneity

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Afterword: Revisiting the Tradition/Modernity Binary,” Mirror of Modernity 

10. Colonialism & Empire (4/4)

Louise Young, “Colonizing Manchuria: The Making of an Imperial Myth,” Mirror of Modernity

Takashi Yoshida, “A Battle Over History: The Nanjing Massacre in Japan,” The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography , ed. Joshua Fogel

Tomiyama Ichirô, “Colonialism and the Sciences of the Tropical Zone: The Academic Analysis of Difference in ‘the Island Peoples,’” positions 3 (Fall 1995) 2: 367-391

Daqing Yang, “The Challenges of the Nanjing Massacre: Reflections on Historical Inquiry,” The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography , ed. Joshua Fogel

Further Readings:

Prasenjit Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern

Hyun Sook Kim, “History and Memory: The ‘Comfort Women’ Controversy,” positions: East Asia Critique 5 (Spring 1997) 1

Sean Reedy, Mechanisms of State Control:An Historical Study of the Treatment of the Pacific War in Japanese High School History Textbooks from 1945 to 1995

Peter Duus, The Japanese Informal Empire in China, 1895-1937

Ramon Myers, The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945

Bruce Cumings, Japanese Colonialization in Korea: A Comparative Perspective

11. Women, Gender, & Sexuality (4/11)

Hosoi Heishu, “A Sermon,” 400-413

Miriam Silverberg, “The Cafe Waitress Serving Modern Japan,” Mirror of Modernity

Jordan Sand, “At Home in the Meiji Period: Inventing Japanese Domesticity,” Mirror of Modernity

Gregory Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950

Sabine Frühstück, “Managing the Truth of Sex in Imperial Japan,” JAS 59 (May 2000) 2: 332-58

Jennifer Robertson, Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan

E. Patricia Tsurumi, “Visions of Women and the New Society in Conflict: Yamakawa Kikue versus Takmure Itsue,” Japan ’s Competing Modernities: Issues in Culture and Democracy, 1900-1930 , 335-57

Further Readings:

Rayna Rapp, “Gender and Class: An Archaeology of Knowledge Concerning the Origin of the State,” 309-316

Tani Barlow, “Theorizing Women: Funu , Guojia , Jiating [Chinese Women, Chinese State, Chinese Family],” Genders 10 (Spring 1991), 132-160

Pan Chao, “Lessons for Women,” 82-99

Susan Mann, “‘Fuxue’ (Women’s Learning) by Zhang Xuecheng (1738-1801): China’s First History of Women’s Culture,” Late Imperial China 13 (June 1992) 1: 40-62

Tsuneo Watanabe and Jun’ichi Iwata, The Love of the Samurai: A Thousand Years of Japanese Homosexuality

Mishima Yukio, Confessions of a Mask

Jeffrey Nunokawa, “Oscar Wilde in Japan: Aestheticism, Orientalism, and the Derealization of the Homosexual,” positions 2 (Spring 1994) 1: 44-56

12. paper sessions (4/18)

* draft of paper due

13-14. Student presentations (4/25-5/2)

*final version of paper due on May 5


final course grade determined on the basis of the following :

participation 30%

précis (two assigned; one of student’s choice) 30%

final projects 40% (draft, final version, presentation)