Fall 2018 - HIST 390 D100

Studies in History I (4)

Ethnicity and Identity in East Asia: Taiwan, Ma

Class Number: 5065

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 10031, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2018
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 3005, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Special topics.


This course explores the history of how peoples became who they are in culturally diverse East Asia. We invite those interested in Asian culture and history to explore the intriguing story of East Asian identity and ethnicity. During the past two centuries, the idea of the nation swept across East Asia, and opposition to imperialism and colonialism intersected with a series of socio-political movements and the modernization process. Cultural demarcation took place in every region. This was particularly the case in the borderlands, where political regimes, settlers, and indigenes constantly negotiated local order and ethnic relations. This course uses two borderlands—Taiwan and Manchuria—to explore the evolution of ethnicity/identity and its impact on modern East Asia. We will first discuss early modern developments in both regions, including the rise of the Manchus and the settler-indigene dynamics in Formosa. The two borderlands were then incorporated into the multiethnic Qing empire, in which ethnic relations played a significant role in both empire-building and local governance. These developments were challenged by the nationalist campaign and Japanese colonialism, and then the devastating wars that restructured the order of the entire world. This course uses films and literary sources to examine how frequent changes in political ecology shaped ordinary people’s lives and cultural/social identity. We will seek to understand how identity construction continuously impacted East Asian society in various ways.


  • Attendance 10%
  • Class participation 15%
  • One reflection paper 20%
  • Mid-term examination 25%
  • Final examination 30%



Pamela Kyle Crossley, Helen F. Siu, and Donald S. Sutton eds., Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).


C. Patterson Giersch, Asian Borderlands: The Transformation of Qing China’s Yunnan Frontier (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).

Mark C. Elliott, The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

Prasenjit Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003).

Emma Jinhua Teng, Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683–1895 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

Leo Ching, Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Ji-Young Lee, China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).

Emer O'Dwyer, Significant Soil: Settler Colonialism and Japan’s Urban Empire in Manchuria (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2015).

Registrar Notes:

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