01:098:242 East Asian Civilizations: Modern Era

What is modernity? What traits contribute to defining a society as a “modern” one? More specifically, in the collision between tradition and modernity, and between the East and the West, how did East Asian countries interact with changes and challenges from within and without? This course addresses these issues and familiarizes students with major historical events, figures, and ideas that have had far-reaching influences on China, Japan, and Korea. By discussing a wide range of topics on politics, religion, literature, as well as women and gender studies, we see the influence of cultural traditions on East Asian countries. We also illuminate how outside forces challenged and altered these societies. Last but not least, we will reflect upon how the West has perceived East Asian cultures. This course is conducted online, asynchronously. Students are required to actively participate in Canvas discussions and submit a final research paper. Readings are all in English. No knowledge of East Asian languages and cultures is required.

Upon completing this course, students are expected to achieve the following learning goals:

1) Analyze the degree to which forms of human differences and stratifications among social groups shape individual and group experiences of, and perspectives on, contemporary issues. Such differences and stratifications may include race, language, religion, ethnicity, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, abilities, or other social distinctions and their intersections.

2) Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective.

3) Explain the development of some aspect of a society or culture over time.

4) Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.

5) Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written English, to a general audience, and respond effectively to editorial feedback from peers, instructors, and/or supervisors through successive drafts and revision.

6) Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry; evaluate and critically assess sources and use the conventions of attribution and citation correctly; and analyze and synthesize information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights.

The instructor uses PowerPoint as a tool to deliver lectures. In most weeks, there will be a PowerPoint file uploaded to Canvas. The file contains texts, images, and the recorded voice of the instructor.

Every week, we will hold a discussion section in written form on Canvas. The instructor will raise questions. Students will respond to those questions with one or two paragraphs (400 words minimum) that reflect your understanding of the topic. All the postings will be graded carefully. Altogether they constitute 35% of your final grade.

The midterm paper is a paper proposal (2-3 pages, double space). The purpose writing this proposal is to give the instructor or TA an opportunity to provide feedback on your final paper topic, argument, and research goals. The proposal should consist of the following parts:

1) Description of the topic
2) Main argument
3) Methodology
4) A brief summary of each section
5) Main sources

Based on the midterm paper proposal and the instructor’s feedback, each student should compose a final research paper (8 pages, double space, with one page of references). The final paper should contain a clear argument and substantive evidence to support your argument. When writing the paper, please combine primary and secondary sources and dissect texts thoroughly. Students should include footnotes and a bibliography according to the MLA Style Manual or Chicago Manual of Style. Please submit an electronic copy of the paper via e-mail.

Grading: Canvas postings – 25 %, Your response to other students’ postings – 10 %, Midterm paper (2-3 pages) – 25%, Final paper (8 pages) – 40 %

As a member of the Rutgers community, you are expected to demonstrate integrity in your academic endeavors. Your paper should be your own original work. If you want to use words or ideas from other sources, please make sure you identify the sources and provide footnotes. If you quote a passage from a book, an article, or a website, please indent the quoted passage and use single spacing. Any work that has been submitted in another course is generally not allowed to be submitted in this course unless you have the permission from your instructor.

It is the policy of Rutgers to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. If you have a disability and wish to request accommodations to complete your course requirements, please contact the office of disability services and ask to speak with a coordinator (848-445-6800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) about accommodations.