HIS21330 Global Asia

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course introduces Asia’s quest for nation-building and global modernity to students without prior knowledge of the region and its people. How did Asia since the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries pursue modernity on national and global levels? How and why did those pursuits connect Asian societies and states to the wider world?
What motivated Asians to situate themselves within worlds beyond than the family, the village, the city, the nation, the empire or the region? What were the professional channels that connected the emergence of modern Asia to developments overseas?
Themes involve systematic comparisons of a wide array of nation-building programs in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and India. Case studies include how Asian pioneers such as Sun Yat-sen, Ho Chi Minh and many others embraced global connections as a necessity for their professional work, their personal identities and their political causes. Thinking through global Asia since the 1870s ranges across social history, cultural history, political history, economic history, the history of religions, the history of mobility, institutional history and global history.
The course will feature classic readings on these topics as well as brand new publications of 2022.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

-a sensibility toward social and cultural differences between Atlantic and Asian societies & legacies
-the skill set to distinguish across time, place and scale. Asia never was one and the same.
-a understanding of how Asian modernisations affected individual lives, group identities and international aspirations
-an appreciation of how the long global past continues to shape Asia and supplements living memory

Indicative Module Content:

Our module will explore and cover by week:
1) Values and the state in modern Asia
2) Confucianism, hierarchies and Asian cultures of advancement
3) For the nation’s sake: self-cultivation and the politics of progress
4) Universities as drivers of modernity in Asia
5) Still imperialism or already internationalism? Modern professions and a changing Asia
6) Frying pan into the fire? Postgraduates in wartime
7) Global impact: Asian pioneers abroad
8) Technologies of the ascendant state: science, engineering, industry
9) Law for Asia and the World
10) Teaching America about Asia
11) Ambition for what? Generational history and Asia’s knowledge of the world

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module combines large-group and small-group teaching, through a weekly
lecture and seminar. Weekly lectures provide overviews of weekly topics, with focus
upon key historical trends, debates and events of Global Asia. Weekly seminars focus on small-group active learning using both secondary and primary sources related to the
weekly topic covered in the lecture. Autonomous learning is nurtured through
required preparatory reading each week, a continuous learning journal, a midterm essay analysing a primary source and an final essay. Key research, writing and citation skills are explicitly incorporated into seminar work and are assessed and advanced from the formative (midterm) to the summative (final) assignments.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Midterm essay is a document analysis of primary source. Will enhance student skills of accurate, close reading, source criticism, interpretive clues and the relevance of context. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Final essay. Will showcase the student’s capacity to develop an original, coherent and persuasive interpretation of a historical puzzle or question or problem.

Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the mid-term Essay Assignment is given in writing. Feedback on the end-of-semester Essay Assignment is given in writing.

Name Role
Ms Laura Brennan Tutor
Dr David Nicoll Tutor
Dr Chiara Tedaldi Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Once Off Offering 1 Week(s) - 31 Fri 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 12:00 - 12:50
Seminar Offering 2 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 3 Week(s) - 24, 25, 26, 29, 31, 32, 33 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 4 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 12:00 - 12:50
Seminar Offering 5 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 6 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 10:00 - 10:50
Seminar Offering 7 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 14:00 - 14:50