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HIST 3760A Modern Japan- "Modernization" and "Modern" Japan

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York University
HIST 3760
Joshua Fogel

1thMonday January 16 2012HIST 3760AMODERNIZATION AND MODERN JAPANFour main themes discussed in this course 1 to place Japan first their development in the wider world context 2 historiography how historians look at Japanese history how different historians assess it differently 3 chart Japans economic development involves a much longer time frame of Japan 4 stress the modern style state in Japan nationalism in JapanWe will look at the historiography of Japan in this lectureIdea of ModernIdea of modern is a fairly recent phenomenonPeriodization how we look at a period of time in historyoCan be short or long period of time and how we break it up into periodsoThe breaking up of history into meaningful chunksIt is historians who assess meaningfulness to those and depict the criterion that underscore what meaningfulness is may be biased in ideological cultural beliefsoWhich means that periodization may be arbitraryoHopefully a periodization is widely accepted by many historiansoFor exampleTraditional Chinese historians divided up periods by dynasties how a family took over power and then ultimately was triumphedNonMarxist historians may look at revolutions in agriculture productivity changes may be labeled as a meaningful changeTraditional Christian historians used BC and AD even though they are no longer emphasizedCenturies are only meaningful because they track time they do not actually tell us a great deal about the timeSome disputed whether the time was better in the age of Aristotle and Plato the Golden Age or in modern dayoThe concept of modern is closely associated in our minds with progress as opposed to the medieval timesoWe tend to believe that modernity and progress go hand in hand that things get better more opportunities are made society improvesoThe term modern is therefore construed as a good thing better than what came before itTokugawa period was seen as early modern but also feudaloIf Meiji period was modern then Tokugawa was premodernearly modernWhat kind of revolution took place Does it end in 1868 Does it end in 1871 Was it a political changeoWhatever the change was it modernity How do we measure it
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