The Western Powers and East Asia, 1839-1945
Value: half unit
Tutor: Dr Chi-kwan Mark
Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars
Best of 2 coursework essays (30%); 2-hour exam (70%)
This course deals with the involvement of the two principal Western powers – Britain and the United States – in East Asian affairs during the period 1839-1945. It examines the way Britain and America established their power and influence in the region, and how their predominance was challenged by the local forces of nationalism, communism and militarism. While providing a comparative study of British and American policies, the course will also consider the perspectives and responses of Asian countries, especially China and Japan, as well as the wider regional and international trends. Topics covered include the establishment of Britain’s and America’s formal and informal empires in the Asia Pacific, the Anglo-Japanese alliance and its demise, the challenges of Chinese nationalism and Soviet communism, and the rise and fall of the Japanese empire in East and Southeast Asia.