Melanie King and Tracy Lai
Institution: Seattle Central College
Course Title: History of East Asia
Description: In this course we will consider the visual and literary, responses to the history of colonialism and imperialism in East Asia, beginning with the arrival of western imperial and religious powers in the mid sixteenth century, through the Canton Treaty System, the Opium Wars, designation of treaty ports and “opening” of Japan in the nineteenth century. As these countries worked to find their place in the modern world, while simultaneously fending off foreign incursions, Japan took over the role of colonizer as they moved into occupy areas of East and Southeast Asia under the banner of the “Greater East Asia CoProsperity Sphere.” Japan’s occupation and brutal treatment of the people and land they invaded during the twentieth century has led to a history fraught with tension that still plays out today. We’ll also examine various movements that emerge within China, Korea and Japan, as people struggle over the meaning and direction of self determination. This is a complicated history that we will explore by examining a multitude of perspectives, seen in first person narratives, visual and literary sources that provide a deeper understanding of that which constitutes East Asia in the early twenty-first century.