During the Edo period (1600 – 1867), Japan closed its doors to other countries for about two hundred years, and this isolation helped Japan develop its own unique culture. It, however, ended in 1867 when Japanese culture was introduced to the Western world at an International Exposition in Paris. On the contrary to the Edo period, the next era, Meiji, brought rapid westernization to the Japanese society.
In this course, students will study the historical events of the Edo and Meiji periods using paintings to analyze how one event in history can have reverberations both within Japan and throughout the world. As students examine the western influences on Japanese society and the Japanese influences on Western society in the 19th century, they not only will practice linguistic skills, but also will obtain a deeper understanding of the Japanese history and society.
As the final project of this course, students are required to present their understandings of 19th century Japan and of how ideas and concepts specific to one culture travel and get adopted by another culture.