Asia 201 Gateway to Asia Fall 2012
Ronald P. Loftus,    
Walton Hall 144, 6275    



This course is a survey of 2,000 years of East Asia's cultural and institutional history. The societies of East Asia, especially China, Korea and Japan have rich, complexand multifaceted historical experiences. It will be the purpose of this course to introduce students to the philosophy, religion, literature, art and everyday life of the peoples of this part of the world.

Student Learning Objectives:

1. To acquire a general knowledge of the scope, breadth and contours of East Asian History and Culture.

2. To develop interdisciplinary thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of the societies and cultures of East Asia.

3. To be able to think critically and ask questions that can be answered from a multi-disiciplinary perspective.

Course Requirements

1. Attendance and active participation. 15%

2. In-class group or solo presentations and/or assuming responsibility for leading the discussion for part of a chapter or other specified topic. 25%

3. Short reading reports and five analytical papers as assigned. 60% Please be aware that Willamette University has a strong plagiarism policy. It reads, in part:

Plagiarism and cheating are offenses against the integrity of the courses in which they occur and against the college community as a whole. Plagiarism usually consists of representing ideas that are not your own as your own so the simple solution is to attribute, i.e., provide clear indications of where you obtained your ideas or information. 


Note: I will respect any accommodations authorized by the Office of Disabilities Services. Please tell me about these accommodations as soon as possible.


Required Readings:

1. Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, East Asia: A Cultural Social and Political History 2nd Edition (Wadsworth, 2009)

see student resources at

2. Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, translated and abridged by Edward Seidensticker

3. Selected readings in PDF format available on the WISE site for this course.


Useful Online Primary Materials:

On China

On Japan

On Korea


Class Schedule:

Weeks 1-3: Early or Classical China: History, Philosophy, Culture

August 28 First Class: Introduction to the Course: The Idea of Civilizations  
30 Connections, Xia, Shang (1500-1045) BCE, and Zhou (1045-256 BCE) Dynasties; Life in Ancient China East Asia, 2-19; Early writing system; oracle bones 1 and 2
Sept. 4

Classical Chinese Philosophy: The Six Books including the Book of Changes

East Asia, 20-34,

Mote PDFs on WISE Chs 1-2; Book of Changes PDFs on WISE

Useful Resources; For the I Ching/Yi Jing click here

6 More on Confucius: the Analects; Key Confucian terms Mote PDFs on WISE Ch. 3,
11 Hundred Schools of Thought: Mozi, Mengzi, Hunxi, Han Feizi (Legalism) Fingarette PDFs Chs 1, 3, 4-5;
13 Daoism, Yin Yang Mote Chs. 4-5; PDFs in Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy folder, WISE

Weeks 4-5


Chronology: The Founding of China's Bureaucratic Empire: Qin and Han Dynasties


Qin Conquest


Discuss First Paper Topic

East Asia 35-54

Du Fu

Li Bo or Li Bai

20 Connections: Silk Road; China's Disunity and the Spread of Buddhism East Asia 55-73
25 Sui and Tang Empires in China Chang' An East Asia 74-97
27 Pattern of Japan's Past Kojiki Examination System

Weeks 6-7

Oct. 2 Early Korea to 935 East Asia 98-113; See PDF on WISE on the "KirklandHorseriders.pdf"

Early Japan to 794; Chronology

Myths and Monarchs

the Kojiki and Nihon shoki

Map and Sueki Ware

Manyoshu (758)

East Asia 114-127; Horserider Theory; More on Horseriders; Japanese Artifacts

Hashihaka Tomb


China During the Song "City of Cathay" Scroll and DVD;


East Asia 128-146; see readings from Marco Polo; City of Hangzhou site;

Another Hangzhou site;

see Gernet reading on WISE.

Online details of scroll. See also Harvard site.

Short writing assignment #1

11 "City of Cathay" continued; Heian Japan Connections, the Mongols Readings and Images from theTale of Genji

Weeks 8-9


Discussion,Tale of Genji

Genji Power Point

Paper #2 Prompt

MurasakiNotes on Genji; Reading theTale of Genji

Genji with Kashiwagi's son

East Asia 147-166;

18 Visit with Career Center Staff Tale of Genji Scroll
23 No Class; Continue reading East Asia 167-179 (Koryo Korea)
25 Finish Genji Monogatari; begin to look at China under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty East Asia 194-204; Mongol history

Weeks 10-11

Oct. 30

Koryo Korea and Kamakura Japan 1180-1333:


November 1 The Rise of the Warrior ClassMingJapan to 1600 East Asia 206-220
6 China: the Ming Dynasty; Choson Korea 1392-1800 Ming Era; East Asia 221-261
8 Manchu Empire 1600-1800 East Asia 262-278

Weeks 12-13

13 Edo Japan East Asia 279-303; Edo era Sustainability
15 China and Modernity1800-1900 East Asia 304-323
20 Japan and Modernity East Asia 324-352
Thanksgiving NO CLASS  


Weeks 14-15

27 Rise of Modern Japan East Asia 370-386

Rise of Modern China

East Asia 402-440
Dec. 4    
Dec. 6