For the next 3-4 days, we will focus on Japan in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Our examination of Japan will include (but is not limited to) the following questions:
- What factors shaped Japanese society and politics?
- Why did the chaos and expansionism of the 16th century give way to the stability and the internal focus of the 17th century?
- Why is the food of Japan, Korea, and China so amazing? (sadly, we cannot tackle this question in class. You will have to figure out the answer on your own, kids. I suggest starting with Korean food; it will change your life).
We will begin with a short lecture that should (hopefully!) provide you with some context. After the lecture, I will break you off into groups to examine a specific topic. The topics are directly linked to your Historical Schools. Remember, however, that our goal is to understand the basic realties of Japan in the 16th century; tremendous depth is not required:
Great Man Theory: Was Oda Nobunaga a Great Man?
Great Forces: How did Confucianism shape Japanese culture?
Marxism: What was the class structure in Japan? (Your focus is the Sengoku Period, the 16th century, but you can also look at the Edo period if necessary)
Radical School: How did Japan view outsiders, especially Christians?
Hegelian Dialectic: What factor caused the Onin War, and what was the outcome?