History of Asia

Number of credits: 6 ECTS Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus

Teaching Period: 15 July to 2 August

Contact: summer@uab.cat

Professor: Chiao-In Chen

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Enrolment guidelines


Chiao-in Chen, PhD in Comparative, Political and Social History from the UAB; Associate Professor in the Department of Modern History and Contemporary of the UAB. She is specialized in contemporary political history, with special emphasis on Chinese nationalism and fascism of the interwar period, as well as Chinese and Taiwanese political, social and economic history of the 19th and 20th centuries. She is also specialized on the political history of the Nationalist Party of China (Kuomintang).


Contents overview

This subject is part of the UAB's East Asian Studies bachelor's degree programme and is worth 6 ECTS credits. It focuses on historical and cultural interaction between Europe and Asia and the main social and cultural processes derived therefrom.

Subject content: 1) Asia? Europe? The relativity and history of the geographical and political concepts; 2) Great Asian cultures and civilizations before the awakening of Europe; 3) The European assault on Asia: colonialism and imperialism (18th-19th centuries); 4) Asian resistance to assimilation (19th and 20th centuries); 5) Reviewing the 20th century: today’s Asia.

Students' work will mainly consist of reading and discussing academic papers, participating in class discussions and carrying out assignments.


Week 1


  •     Introduction: Asia, A definition.
  •     Ancient and Classic: China.
  •     Ancient and Classic: India.
  •     Silk Road and culture exchange.
  •     Islam and Asia.

Week 2
  •     The Mongols: The First Eurasia Empire.
  •     How Asia Trades: Spice Trade and the Silk Road.
  •     Oceanic Economic and Colonial Societies: European Maritime Empires in Asia.
  •     Modern Colonialism and Asia: British Raj.

Week 3
  •     China: Ming and Qing Dynasty.
  •     Colonialism Intensified: British India and Opium War in China.
  •     A new empire born: modern Japan.
  •     New China: born of arepublic and its struggle.

Teaching / learning activities

Week 1
  •     Class attendance.
  •     Discuss: Asia in Maps, Ancient Asia: religion and philosophic influence in Asia, empire and commerce.
  •     1st Quiz and course reading material.

Week 2
  •     Class attendance.
  •     Discuss: Mongol Empire and Pax Mongolica, oceanic Power in Asia, the Great Divergence, European Colonialism in Asia.
  •     Course reading.

Week 3
  •     Class attendance.
  •     Discuss: Chinese Modern Empire and its failures, Mughal Empire and British India, the construction of Chinese and Japanese nationalism.
  •     2nd Quiz.


Class attendance                                           30%
Moodle discussion participation                   30%
Quizzes (two, equally weighted)                   40%     

Class attendance: Students are expected to attend all lectures for this course. Attendance will be taken and will account for 30% of the overall course grade. Students are also expected to participate in all classroom-based and Moodle discussion activities, arrive on time, bring a notebook and the weekly reading material to class, ask questions and contribute to discussions, listen attentively to others, and help generate a positive atmosphere in which everyone can contribute.

Moodle discussion participation: The lecturer will create a Moodle discussion forum accessible to all students. Discussion in the forum is the course's main activity and students are encouraged to participate every day after studying the relevant reading material. Topics for discussion will be proposed at the end of each unit. Participation will account for 30% of the overall course grade.

Quizzes: Students will take two short quizzes (one in class and one at home), which will account for 40% of the overall course grade. The quizzes will cover subject matter dealt with in lectures, reading/viewing material and discussions. Students will be allowed to refer to all material, books, notebooks and class notes when taking the quizzes.

Links and references
  •     Tamim Ansary: Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, Public Affairs, 2010.
  •     Odd Arne Westad: Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750, Basic Book, 2012.
  •     Jane Burbank & Frederick Cooper: Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, Princeton University Press, 2011.
  •     Peter Jackson: The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410, Routledge, 2014.
  •     James L. McClain: Japan, a Modern History, W. W. Norton & Company, 2002.
  •     Barbara D. Metcalf & Thomas R. Metcalf: A Concise History of Modern India, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  •     Kenneth Pomeranz & Steven Topik: The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present, Routledge, 2014.
  •     Jonathan Spence: The Search for Modern China, Norton, 1990.

Online Sources
  •     Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.). https://www.britannica.com
  •     JSTOR. (n.d.) [database]. https://www.jstor.org/
  •     OMNIATLAS. (n.d.). http://omniatlas.com/maps/