Featured module: Middle Kingdoms

  • Little Bird, if you won't sing, I'll make you - Oda Nobunaga
  • Little Bird, if you won't sing, I'll persuade you - Hideyoshi Toyotomi
  • Little Bird, if you won't sing, I'll wait - Tokugawa Ieyasu

And with those guiding words, Japan's warring states were pacified in the 16th century to bring about the rise of the Tokugawa Shoguns, the 'barbarian quelling generalissimo'. Meanwhile in China, a golden age of Chinese civilisation was about to commence, led by non-Chinese. Explore key questions - political, social, cultural, intellectual, gender/sexuality, and religious - which define the 'Early Modern Period' of East Asia. Consider to what extent globalisation emanated from East Asia to shape the world long before the 19th century emergence of European predominance. Think about the encounters of East and West, and in the process de-exoticise the Orient to understand the roots of the rise of the East in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Japanese and Chinese language ability not required.

Topics covered by this module include:

  • What is 'Early Modern' East Asia
  • Imagining the Middle Kingdom - Japan
  • Imagining the Middle Kingdom - China
  • Martial Tradition: 居合道 (The Art of Sword Drawing - Iaido)
  • Tokugawa - shi no ko sho (Class Structure): Urban Life and the Chonin (merchants)
  • Styles of the Middle Kingdoms - Qing China
  • Early Modern Asia in Demise - China in the 19th Century
  • Early Modern Asia in Demise - Japan