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Asian History: An Introduction

Course Code: HIST 1155
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.  Settings: The regions of Monsoon Asia
  2.  Ancient to Mughal India
  3.  Ancient to Classical China
  4.  Diffusion: Japan and Korea
  5.  Diffusion: South East Asia
  6.  Nomadic and Oasis Societies in Central and Inner Asia
  7.  The West Arrives / Qing China
  8.  Imperialism: British India / Netherlands East Indies
  9.  Two Models of Self Determination: Meiji Japan, and India and Congress
  10.  China’s Two Revolutions
  11.  The Pacific Rim since 1945: Japan and the NICS (Korea/Taiwan/Singapore)
  12.  India and Pakistan-Bangladesh after Partition
  13.  South East Asia: Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines
  14.  Western Re-Orientation: American Pivot and Australian Integration
  15.  Review – Asia in the twenty-first century

Methods of Instruction

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Specific components of evaluation may include the following: mid-terms and final exams consisting of short answer questions and essay questions; in-class written work; quizzes; research papers; seminar presentations; short debates; position papers; participation in class and online discussions.

Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Any combination of the following totalling 100%:

  • Essays (one to four) 20%-60%
  • Tests (at least two) 20%-60%
  • Instructor’s General Evaluation (Participation, quizzes, etc.) 10%-20%

No single essay or test will constitute less than 10% or more than 35% of the grade

The total value of all essays will not be less than 20% or more than 60%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically (reading history). These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history). Forms for communication of personal interpretations include medium-length essays (from 1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, short interpretive essays, primary source studies, and final examinations.
  3. Independently analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).

course prerequisites




curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.