MAS Applied history course: “East Asia – Making the Past in Asia”

Representations of the past – as tradition, memory, heritage, and myth – play a central role in the self-definition of cultures, nations and societies. This course analyses how such representations were formed, reshaped, and contested in modern and contemporary East Asia. Our aim is to disentangle the interests, concerns, and anxieties that informed Chinese and Japanese answers to the question of historical continuity since the age of the European expansion. In our joint investigations, we will scrutinize representations of the past in scholarly works, including histories of thought, science, and literature; explore sites of memory and analyze depictions of historical events and personalities. Our discussions will interrogate the different means and media of representing the past, the interests involved in appropriating certain versions of past events or ideas and not others, and the implications of such choices for our understanding of both the past and the present. For more information, see here.