Featured Course: Japan Since 1800


By Anjali DasSarma


“I think it is the responsibility of anyone involved in politics to always think of what Japan can do to contribute more to the peace and stability not just of Japan and the region but of the entire world.”

– Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

HIST 459 – Japan Since 1800 begins with the tumultuous end of the Japan’s last shogunate, which was followed by an era–the Meiji period–where the country’s leaders made studied efforts to modernize (and at times, westernize) the once insular nation. What emerged by the first decade of the 20th century was a Japan that was primed to compete on the international scene. The rest of our course will explore Japan’s involvement in the two world wars, its occupation by MacArthur and the U.S. forces, its astounding economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s (and subsequent recession), and finally its internationally renowned popular culture.

HIST 459 fulfills the Culture and Social Sciences GEP credits, as well as the upper level non-western history requirement for History majors. HIST 459 meets TuWeTh 1 – 4:10 p.m. on the UMBC-Shady Grove campus during UMBC Summer Session II. 

HIST 103 or an equivalent East Asian Civilizations class is helpful before taking HIST 459.

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julie oakes


HIST 459 is taught by Professor Julie Oakes, who received her PhD from the University of Chicago. She published in Looking Modern: East Asian Visual Culture from the Treaty Ports to World War II in 2008.


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