Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module HIST3111: History and Memory in East Asia, 1895-2008

Department: History

HIST3111: History and Memory in East Asia, 1895-2008

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap 50 Location Durham


  • A pass mark in at least ONE level two module in History.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop a detailed knowledge of East Asian politics in the twentieth century with a focus on Japanese colonialism and the Second World War. To develop a deep understanding of how this history has been remembered in China, Japan and South Korea since the end of the Cold War.
  • To acquire an understanding that the writing of history is not necessarily an independent process nor is it objective. The reemergence of certain issues and the articulation of new interpretations of the past can be closely linked to political developments in the domestic and international arenas.
  • To broaden students’ historical perspective and to give them the opportunity of comparison by focusing on a region that is often understudied. To understand that nationalism and the workings of memory have universal qualities.
  • Contribute towards the achievement of the Department's generic Aims for study at Level 3.


  • This module will examine the interaction of history and memory in contemporary China, Japan and South Korea and the process in which this interaction has shaped the writing of history and has promoted the creation of national identity within these countries, as well as their relation with one another.
  • In the 1980s debates about war memory and postwar responsibility gradually moved to the center of public discourse in China, Japan and South Korea. This module will look at the various issues that have in recent years been “remembered” in these countries: The Nanjing massacres of 1937, comfort women, collaboration during World War II. The module will also probe what are called “realms of memory,” where memories are constantly produced and exposed: archaeology, textbooks, museums, war memorials, religious shrines.
  • We will start the module with a theoretical introduction by examining influential works that deal with the concept of memory (authors such as Halbwachs, Nora, Yerushalmi). We will proceed with the history of Japanese colonialism and the Second World War. Each week, we will cover in depth various issues that have been at the centre of memory politics in the countries in question (There will be some readings on Taiwan and North Korea as well).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To understand the close relationship between memory and nationalism in East Asia, and why particular issues have become part of collective memory in the 1980s and not during any other period.
  • The East Asian example will give students the opportunity to understand why some stories become part of history while others are forgotten, when and why individual memories become collective memories, how nation states use the past to legitimize themselves, how national histories are constructed, how sites of collective memory are created and why they become embedded with emotional and political significance, and how the issue of history and memory shape contemporary relations between China, Japan and South Korea.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific & Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/Index.htm
  • To reflect upon the nature of history as a discipline by analysing the questions historians ask of their primary sources and/or the nature of the debates among historians.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
    • lectures to set the foundations for further study and to provide the basis for the acquisition of subject specific knowledge. Lectures provide a broad framework which defines individual module content, introducing students to themes, debates and interpretations. In this environment, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and reflection;
    • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students' ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals.
    • Assessment:
    • Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge. In addition, seen Examinations (with pre-released paper) are intended to enable Level 3 students to produce more considered and reflective work;
    • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 19 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2 1 hour 19
    Seminars 6 6 - 3 in Term one, 3 in Term two 1 hour 6
    Film Screenings 2 3
    Preparation and Reading 172
    Total 200

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Essay 1 2000 words not inclusive of scholarly apparatus 50%
    Essay 2 2000 words not inclusive of scholarly apparatus 50%
    Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Seen examination [paper to be made available not less than twenty-four hours before the start of the examination] 2 hours 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Coursework essays are formative as well as summative. They are to be submitted in two copies, of which one will be returned with written comments and a standard departmental feedback sheet; Preparation to participate in tutorials; At least one oral presentation or short written assignment.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University