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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST1065 China in East Asian History

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr David Pattinson
Email: David Pattinson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces the history of China, Japan, and Korea, with some reference to other parts of East Asia, from early times up until the nineteenth century. The focus is on China both as the dominant political power in the region across the centuries, and also as a major source of political, philosophical/religious/ethical and cultural ideas. However, the module will also look at aspects of the indigenous political, religious, social and cultural forms of Japan, Korea and some other parts of East Asia, and consider how these states absorbed and adapted Chinese culture to their own needs, or indeed rejected aspects of it. Some consideration will also be given to how non-Chinese cultures influenced China. This module assumes no previous knowledge of East Asian history, and is taught in English.


The objectives of this module are:
- To introduce students to the pre-modern history and cultures of East Asia generally;
- To explore the emergence of China as the major regional political and economic power, and its relations with neighbouring countries;
- To understand the major political, philosophical/religious, and cultural traditions in China;
- To examine how these Chinese traditions influenced neighbouring states, especially Japan and Korea, and how these states adapted Chinese ideas to their own traditions, or developed in their own way;
- To make students aware of the range of primary documents and other visual material that inform our understanding of the pre-modern history and culture of East Asia, and to begin to learn how to analyse them.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should:
1. be able to demonstrate knowledge of the major features of China’s history and culture in pre-modern times;
2. be able to demonstrate knowledge of features of the history and culture of China’s neighbours in East Asia, principally though not exclusively Japan and Korea;
3. be able to make informed comparisons between the political institutions, societies, religions and cultures of East Asian states in history, demonstrating awareness of indigenous cultural forms and cross-cultural influences;
4. have acquired a familiarity with some types of primary sources used in studying these histories, and be aware of the potential for, and problems in, using these sources in scholarship;
5. have developed foundational skills in critically assessing modern scholarship on East Asian history;
6. have begun to develop essential skills in researching and writing clearly on questions in history.


A typical outline may include: the early formation of states in China and the emergence of Chinese written culture – the emergence of Chinese traditions of governance, law, philosophy and religion, including Confucianism, Legalism and Daoism – aristocratic society, political turbulence, and the coming of Buddhism to China – the early histories of Japan and Korea and their indigenous traditions – the flowering of Chinese culture during the Tang and Song dynasties – the patterns of cultural and ideological borrowing from China by Korea, Japan and other neighbours, and how these were adapted for local conditions – political and cultural relations with other non-Chinese polities and cultures in East Asia – trade and economics across East Asia and beyond – the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, and political and cultural developments in Japan and Korea during the same period.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours171.00
Total Contact hours29.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours preparing for each of the seminars through reading or other set activities, and do some of the suggested readings for each of the lectures. Time will also be spent on the literature review, and preparing material ready to answer the questions on the final exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In Semester 1 the students will be given the opportunity to write a book or article review as an introduction to reading and responding to an academic study of a topic related to this module. This will serve as preparation for the assessed literature review which will require discussion of at least two different sources about the same topic. Other formative feedback will be through class exercises, some of which may require the submission of short written group responses to topics under discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature Review1,500 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:39:00


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