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History 141/EAST 141                                              Instructor: Barry Keenan  406 Fellows
Fall, 2010                                                                   Office Hrs: MW 2:30-3:30; and
Class Meetings:  MTWF 1:30                                     R 1:30-2:30, or by appt.
Classroom: 205 Fellows                                              Email: <keenan> or x6253.
Discussion Sections: Monday and Tuesday
in 209 Fellows

This course shall be divided into three parts:

            I   CHINA'S ALTERNATIVE TO FEUDALISM: 500 B.C.E. TO 1600 C.E.            

In the 1590s the East Asian world experienced an unprecedented event: Japan invaded mainland East Asia. The Japanese invasion envisioned going up the Korean peninsula and then conquering China.  But the Koreans resisted firmly, and were joined by their allies, the Chinese. The invasion was restricted to the Korean peninsula, stretched over seven years, and included a new source of military technology the Japanese had recently acquired: guns from Europe.  Japan was repulsed.  Although from that time forward the status of Korea was to remain a bellwether of the relative strength of its neighbors China and Japan, East Asian history before the 1590s was primarily a story of the modeling of the northern Steppe states, Korea, and Japan on the strengths they saw in Chinese civilization.
Our analysis of major themes in East Asian history in the period up to 1600 C.E. will include: (l) the earliest Chinese schools of social and political thought; (2) the genius of political and economic organization which accounted for the unusual longevity of Chinese dynastic institutions; (3) the Khitan, Jurchen, and Mongol peoples; (4) the political unification of the Korean peninsula; (5) the Neo-Confucian state in Korea; (6) the cultural origins of early Japan; and, (7) the adaptation of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto to conditions in different eras of Japanese history.

Required Books:

A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Third Edition (2006) Shirokauer (Harcourt)
[abbrev. Brief]
Chushingura:Treasury of Loyal Retainers, Keene (Columbia)
Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, Van Gulik (Dover)
DeBary, William Theodore, ed. Sources of East Asian Tradition, (2008),Volume One (Columbia) [abbrev. SEAT]


Course Work
You will meet either Monday or Tuesday for discussion in a small group.  Your willingness to interact with the ideas in the readings and videos, as well as learn from one another, will contribute to this component of your semester’s work.  Attendance in discussion groups is mandatory. 
Occasionally there will be discussion questions to prepare. A “Q” (question) paper is a question analyzed by you from the readings.  It will not be graded by a letter grade, but should be brought to class on the day the question is asked on the syllabus.  One page is usually enough to analyze a Q paper topic.  Some of these will be turned in and given my written feedback, others will receive in-class comments from fellow students.

Your personal interests decide what you will study in this part of the course.  The topic you select for this essay must concern China, Korea, or Japan before 1600 C.E., and should be as specific as possible. To define a topic, begin from a theme you find in the syllabus, or an interest you had when your signed up for the course.  Then explore tentative interests through reference books in the library like encyclopedias to make your topic more concrete.  Consult the following online research guide which lists reference books at Denison as well as online databases for generating a bibliography on your topic: “East Asian Studies Research Guide” at:
The essay will be five typed pages in length, and will use at least four sources that go beyond course readings.  Do not use encyclopedia articles or non-footnoted internet sources to substitute for the minimum of three books or articles you must find yourself in the library. Your own footnotes and bibliography should follow the Chicago style guide.  Go to the library home page (click Search and Find, then click Citation Help) and refer the Bedford St. Martin’s entry under History; then click “documenting Sources” to find examples of footnote and bibliographic entries.

(l) On  Friday, October 8, 2010 there will be an hour exam covering the material on China. The blue-book one-hour examination will consist of 30% historical significance identification questions. There will be five events from which to choose. Three events will be chosen by each student and placed in their historical context by analyzing their causes and consequences. The other 70 % of the examination will be an essay question.  Two choices of essay questions will be offered.
(2) The final exam will be a take-home essay examination.  It will focus only on material covered in the second half of the course on Korea and Japan.  The take-home exam will consist of a choice of analytical essay questions on which all notes and books can be consulted. The take-home essay examination will be distributed the last days of formal class, on December 15, 2010.  The typed essays must be turned into my office, 406 Fellows, by Friday December 17, 2010 at 4 P.M. in hard-copy only please.  

FINAL GRADE:  Your final grade will be composed as follows:
In-class learning 20%; Independent study papers 20%; Two examinations 60%.




Electronic Reserve (ERes) and Blackboard:  Some readings on the syllabus below are accessible on any computer through electronic reserve.  These are used for the first time in this course.  To get Eres sources on your computer screen, and download hard copy if you desire, follow these steps:  (1) Library Home Page; (2) click on Services; (3) click Reserves (search); (4) click on Connect to ERes (electronic reserves);  (5) click on Electronic Reserves & Reserve Pages; (6) click on Course Pages by Instructor; (7) scroll down to Keenan, and click on search; (8) click on hot-linked words: DEN-EAS 141, and all electronic reserve document title for the course will appear. [If a password is requested as you search for ERes, use the word distributed in class.]
Blackboard entries can be accessed from Denison’s homepage.  Look under Course Documents and find the titles indicated as Blackboard on the syllabus, and bring them to your screen by two clicks of the mouse.
Supplementary readings on the syllabus are available on hard-copy reserve,  and will deepen analysis of the material covered on that session.

Any student who feels she or he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately as soon as possible to discuss his or her specific needs.  I rely on the Academic Support & Enrichment Center in 104 Doane Hall to verify the need for reasonable accommodations based on documentation on file in that office.

Academic Honesty
Students must clearly cite any sources used – for all quoted passages but also for ideas and information that are not common knowledge.  Masquerading the words of others as your own can result in expulsion from Denison for plagiarism.  Consult me if you need an extension to finish your independent study paper.





Opening Class: Course objectives for the semester, Monday, August 30, 2010.

Second Class: Tuesday August 31, 2010:  De-mystifying the Nature of the Chinese language Exercise (Distributed)
Read: Brief History, preface and Ch.1, pp. 8-13.


                                                                       PART I

                                                            500 B.C.E.-1600 C.E. 



(1) Background: Shang and Early Zhou Civilization (9/1)
Brief History (hereafter Brief), Ch.1.
Sources of East Asian Tradition (hereafter abbreviated SEAT), Chapter 2.
Materials distributed: Selected Chronology, Four Schools, Myths and Legends.

(2) The Daoists (9/3)
SEAT, Ch. 5
Note the satirical Daoist, Zhuangzi, pp. 60-68, and the Daoist advice he fabricates as the supposed teachings of Confucius to his disciple, Yan Hui.  Note also that the Daoist philosophy is in many ways a defense of anti-state village values.

(3) Master Kong or Confucius (9/6-7).
SEAT, Chapter 3.
Q: Read each of the selections or sayings of Confucius and his immediate disciples.  Those sayings which seem to hold specific insight to you, single out and analyze in a written paragraph.  How is the insight relevant to your life?  Bring two such paragraphs to class on a separate sheet of paper to comment on to the class.

(4) The Legalists (9/8)
SEAT, 106-119.  (skip the military texts)
Q: Decide which of the schools, Daoist, Confucian, or Legalist, appeals to you the most.  Write one page to bring to class addressing the defects of the other two schools.
Supplementary: Brief, Ch.2.




(1) The Rise and Fall of the Qin Dynasty   (9/10)
Brief, 51-56 (Ch. 3, Part I)
SEAT,Ch. 8, 126-130 Jia Yi, and Sima Qian
153-157, Lu Jia, and Jia Yi
Q : What lessons did the Han Dynasty advisers argue should be learned from the fall of the Qin Dynasty ?


(2) The Syncretic Mix of Three Schools in the Han Dynasty (9/13-14)
Brief, pp. 56-82, Ch. 3, Part II
SEAT,  Background: Xunzi, 92-104.
The Writings of Dong Zhongshu, 157-167;
Codyfying the Confucian Canon, 167-170.
Q: In what ways are Dong’s theories reformist?  Who, do you think, gets added protection
from them?

(3) Ethical Thought in the Han (9/15)
SEAT,  Background: Mencius, 82-92.
174-188, 205-210.
Q: In the Mean, Ch. 13 there is a poem cited from the Book of Odes (also called the Book of Poetry or Book of Songs) on p. 182. Do your best to explain the deep moral meaning of this three-line poem, including the significance of the reiteration of one line.


(4) Chan Buddhism and the Non-Objective World (9/17)
Historical Background: Brief, Ch.4.
SEAT, Chapter 17.

(5) Re-unification, 581-907 C.E.  (9/20-21)
Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, 1-112. (A Chinese historical novel)
Brief, Ch. 5 begin.

(6) Justice in County China (9/22)
Celebrated Cases, finish, including translator’s postscript
Brief, Ch. 5, finish.



The Song and Yuan Dynasties 1000-1400 C.E.

(1) The “Learning of the Way” (Daoxue) Neo-Confucianism in the Song Dynasty (9/24)
“The New Leadership and Civil Society in Song China” [For this source google the following title: “Nobility & civility: Asian ideals of leadership and the common good,”] by Wm. T. de Bary and read Pp. 119-146.  Also available on Blackboard.    

(2) Song Texts Become the Norm (9/27-28)
“The Great Learning” in SEAT, 361-368, 402-410.
“The Articles of White Deer Academy” SEAT, 374-376.
The Yuan Dynasty Adopts the Learning of the Way School, SEAT, 387-394.
Supplementary: Brief, Ch. 9


(3) Reverence and Self-Cultivation (9/29)
The Mean, SEAT, 372-374.
Zhang Zai, SEAT, 344-346.
The Cheng Brothers, SEAT, 349-351.

The Ming Empire: From about 1400 to 1600

(4) The Genius of the Dynastic Political Structure, and Elite Women’s Education (10/1)
Brief, ch. 10
SEAT, 394-401, 437-441, 455-458, 410-427.

(5) Local Society (10/4-5)
Brief, ch. 15
SEAT, 376-387, 455-463.
 “The Role of Religion in Chinese Society” [Blackboard}
Read this document and turn in a reaction paper in class answering the question:
Q Paper: “How did the Confucian state maintain law and order in villages without relying                            upon formal law as would be common in the modern Western state?”

(6) The Thought of Ming Confucians (10/6 Wednesday)
Wang Yangming
SEAT, 428-445, 463-69.
Supplementary: SEAT, 446-451.

 HOUR EXAMINATION  Tuesday, October 8.
            See description of the examination format on page two of the syllabus.
No discussion groups this week.



                                            PART II. KOREA 57 B.C.E.- 1600 C.E.


(1)  THE EURASIAN STEPPE CULTURES: THE KHITAN AND THE JURCHEN PEOPLES                (10/11-12 Discussion groups)

The Liao and Jin States and Relations with Korea
Readings:  Frederick Mote, Imperial China ERes, Chapters 3-4, Pp. 49-91.


SEAT, Chs. 26, 28, 29.


Brief, 292-294, 237-247.
SEAT, Chs. 31, 32, 33.




NO CLASS MEETING ON THIS DAY.  If you want to write an independent study topic on China or earliest Korea, write your 5-page independent study paper now, utilizing a minimum of three library sources beyond what we have read together as a class.   See instructions on page two of the syllabus. Bring your paper to discussion group to share on October 25 or 26.  Prepare a three-four minute oral summary of your findings to present in class.
To locate sources and define your topic, go online to the “East Asian Studies Research Guide” at the following homepage: <www.>.  Note especially the following two online sources: A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, and Korean History: a Bibliography.  Copy the call numbers of reference works and leaf through them in the Reference Section of the library.  You can also click on hot-linked data bases from which you can generate an initial bibliography of articles on topics you might choose for your independent study.  Tentatively select a topic of interest to you on China, Korea or Japan before 1600 C.E..  The paper itself is due when you present orally in class.  See Dr. Keenan as needed on this day.

NO CLASS (10/22)  Dr. Keenan at a conference


(5)  INDEPENDENT STUDY REPORTS  DUE  (10/ 25-56 Discussion groups).   Present orally for 3-4 minutes, and turn in your five-page paper.


  1. The Political Culture of the Choson State (10/27)

SEAT, Chs. 35, 38
Deuchler, The Confucian Transformation of Korea, 89-128  ERes

  1. Choson Ideology and Ritual (10/29)

SEAT, Ch. 36, and pp. 582-584.
JaHyun Kim Haboush, “The Education of the Yi Crown Prince: a Study in Confucian Pedagogy,” in deBary and Haboush, The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea, pp. 161-177 ERes.

  1. Neo-Confucian Thought in Choson Korea (11/1-2)

Google,  “Introduction,” to To Become a Sage, Michael Kalton, trans. 28 pp.   This online web source discusses ten diagrams that outline the meaning of Neo-Confucian classics.  [Available on Blackboard]
SEAT, Chs. 39-40.

Supplementary: Michael Kalton, trans., To Become a Sage, Chapter 3.

Q: After reading the Section 3 and Section 4 diagram descriptions (pp. 600-602 of SEAT), draw a metaphorical diagram of your own illustrating Yi Hwang’s (d. 1570) understanding of the role of mindfulness (reverent seriousness) in the Elementary Learning and the Great Learning.  Add a brief commentary explaining your metaphorical diagram.

  1. Gender and Culture Issues among the Common People in Choson Korea (11/3)

SEAT, 584-590
Boudewijin Walvaren, “Popular Religion in a Confucianized Society,” in Haboush and Deuchler, eds. Culture and State in Late Choson Korea, 160-198. ERes

  1. The Imjin War, 1592-1598 and the Manchu Invasion, 1636-1637 (11/5)

Book of Corrections, 42-54, 218-229. ERes
Record of the Black Dragon Year, 57-78 ERes


                      PART III JAPAN: NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENTS TO l600 C.E.


(1) THE CULTURAL ORIGINS OF EARLY JAPAN (11/8-9 discussion group)
Brief, 134-156.
Michael Como.  Shotoku: Ethnicity, Ritual, and Violence in the Japanese Buddhist Tradition  (2008) Chapter 1.  ERes.

            Supplementary: J. Marshall Unger. The Role of Contact in the Origins of the Japanese and                 Korean Languages (2009)
Michael Como, Weaving and Binding: Immigrant Gods and Female Immortals in Ancient                 Japan  (2009)

(2) THE NARA PERIOD, 710-794 (11/10)
Brief, ch.6, pp. 156-173.
SEAT, CHS. 43,44,45.

(3) THE HEIAN PERIOD Ca.800-1200 C.E. (11/12)
Context: Brief, Ch.7
SEAT, Chs. 46,47.



(4) The Inception of the Bushi Class (11/15-16)
Brief, Ch. 11, 287-292.
SEAT, 754-765, 829-832.

(5) Kamakura Buddhism (11/17)
Brief, 294-307.
SEAT, Chs. 48, 51, 55.



(6) Personal Loyalties  I :  (11/19)
Chushingura, Complete
Q.  Why do you think Kampei in Chushingura commits suicide?


THANKSGIVING BREAK    11/20-11/28, 2010

(7) INDEPENDENT STUDY PREPARATION  (No Class November 29-30)
Those writing their independent study topics on Korea and Japan take this day to define your topic and gather bibliography.  
Write your 5-7 page independent study paper, utilizing a minimum of three library sources beyond what we have read together as a class. See instructions on p. 2 of the syllabus. Bring your paper to discussion group on December 6 or 7.  Prepare a three-four minute oral summary of your findings is the discussion group.  We do not meet as a group for the other three sessions.  Dropping in during office hours to talk about your topic is encouraged.
Go online to the “East Asian Studies Research Guide” at the following homepage: <www.>.  Note especially two online sources: Korean History: A bibliography, and Stanford Guide to Japan Information Resources.   Copy the call numbers of reference works and leaf through them in the Reference Section of the library.  You can also click on hot-linked data bases from which you can generate an initial bibliography of articles on topics you might choose for your independent study.  Tentatively select a topic of interest to you on Korea or Japan before 1600 C.E


(8) Personal Loyalties II:  (12/1)
Chushingura,  Introduction
Ikegami, Eiko. The Taming of the Samurai, Chapter 2  ERes
Brief, Ch. 12.


(9) The Muromachi Shogunate and Its Termination (12/3)
SEAT, 765-772, 832-844; 849-853.


(10) INDEPENDENT STUDY REPORTS DUE   ( December 6-7 discussion sections)
            Present orally for three-four minutes a summary of your paper, and turn it in.


(11) Zen and Shinto in Medieval Japan  (12/8)
SEAT, Chs. 52,53.


(12) UNIFICATION  (12/10)

            Brief, ch.14, pp. 345-353
SEAT, Ch. 57 (complete)







TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAMINATION Due Friday December 17, 2010.

            The final exam is a take-home examination.  It will cover only the material on Korea and Japan in the second half of the course, following the hour examination on China.  The take-home exam will consist of a choice of analytical essay questions on which all notes and books can be consulted.
Turn in take-home final examination to 406 Fellows (office of Dr. Keenan) by 4 P.M. on Friday,  December 17, 2010.  Hard copy only accepted.