How the presence of the West brought into sharp relief the political and cultural issues between China, Korea and Japan.
We will gain a better understanding of the political and cultural relationship between China, Korea and Japan during a crucial period in their histories. This course will use material culture to understand each culture and explore the political relationship between the three and how that was altered with western interventions.
In 1793, the Qianlong Emperor expelled British merchants and diplomats who were pressing for a trade agreement, explaining that there was nothing the west had that China needed. By 1912, the Qing dynasty had unravelled and China was a fledgling republic.
As a waning power China was, in the second half of the nineteenth century, increasingly threatened by Japan. Japan, in turn, had been viewed by the west as a fascinatingly artistic country newly opened to trade in the 1850s.
Caught between the two was Korea, a country that had been so secretive towards the west that it was dubbed ‘the Hermit Kingdom’. By 1912, the Korean Queen had been assassinated by Japanese agents and the country was annexed by Japan as part of its consolidation of influence in East Asia.
This course will use material culture to understand each culture and explore the political relationship between the three and how that was altered with western interventions.
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