Asian History: An Introduction

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
Hist 1155
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 1155 Asian History: An Introduction, is a survey of the major civilizations of Monsoon Asia (South, South East, North East, and East Asia) from earliest times to the present day, focusing on key political, social, and cultural developments. Course topics include an overview of the region's physical, environmental and cultural diversity; the religious cultures of Hinduism and Buddhism; the emergence of states and empires, including the Mughal and Khmer empires in India and Cambodia; the evolution of dynastic China, Japan and Korea and their mutual interactions; encounters with the west; twentieth-century struggles for self-determination; the development of the region into a global market centre; and contemporary Pacific Rim issues.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics:

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1.  Monsoon Asian Civilization
  2.  Ancient to Mughal India; Ancient to Classical China
  3.  Diffusion: Japan, Korea, Vietnam and adaptive sinification
  4.  Diffusion: South East Asia and Indianization (or adaptive Southernization)
  5.  Nomadic and Oasis Societies in Central and Inner Asia
  6.  The West Arrives / Netherland East Indies - Spanish Philippines
  7.  British India / Modern India
  8.  The Other South Asia: Pakistan-Bangladesh; The Maldives and Sri Lanka; Mountain Kingdoms
  9.  Modern China’s Two Revolutions
  10.  Socialist or National Revolution: Mongolia; North Korea; Myanmar (Burma) to Indochina
  11.  Japan and Modernization: Imperial or Export Oriented Japan
  12.  NICS (Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong)
  13.  Cubs or Social Volcanoes: Middle to Low Income South East Asia (Malaysia / Indonesia)
  14.  Global Asia: Diasporas - Belt and Road - American Pivot?
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

 Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation 10%

Seminar Presentation 10%

Primary source analyses 10%

Short essay assignment 10%

Midterm Exam 20%

Major research essay 20%

Final Exam 20%

TOTAL: 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Textbook Materials

Texts can be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

Cumings, Bruce. Korea's Place in the Sun. New York: Norton, 2005.

Hansen, Valerie. The Open Empire: A History of China to 1800. 2nd ed. New York: Knopf, 2015.

Lockard, Craig A. Southeast Asia in World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Metcalf, Barbara D. and Metcalf, Thomas R. A Concise History of Modern India. 3rd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Murphey, Rhoads, with Kristin Stapleton. A History of Asia. 8th ed. New York: Routledge, 2019.

Schoppa, Keith. Revolution and Its Past: Identities and Change in Modern Chinese History. 4th ed. New York: Routledge, 2020.

Stalker, Nancy. Japan: History and Culture. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018.

Trautman, Thomas R. India: Brief History of a Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

An instructor’s Course Reader may be required.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 1155
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 1XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HIST 114 (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN HIST 1XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 1XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 1XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ASIA 1XXX (3) or LANG HIST 1XXX (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC HIS 1XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 1XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 1XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 1st (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023