Fall 2007

Japan as Empire, 1895-1945

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-45  |  History, as HIST-55


Trent E. Maxey (Section 01)


(AS) (Also Asian 45.) As Japan pursues a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council today, its past as a multi-ethnic empire looms large in East Asia. Japan acquired its first colonial territory following the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, and until its defeat in 1945 the acquisition and administration of a colonial empire shaped Japanese life at all levels. Post-1945 history has tended to sequester the experience of empire as an aberration that belonged only to the domain of international relations. Challenging such a view, this course asks how imperialism was intimately related to Japan's modern politics, economic development, and cultural production. We will first consider the origin and acquisition of an empire, then examine how securing and administering that empire produced its own logic for expansion. Throughout, we will ask how a colonial-empire, with its complex identity politics, shaped the Japanese experience. Course materials will include literature and film, as well as scholarship and primary documents. Two class meetings per week. First semester. Professor Maxey.