Aims/Description: The idea that the 'East' and the 'West' are fundamentally different in their thinking and values and are locked in a mutually antipathetic 'clash of civilizations' is an age-old one. It has been argued by European and Asian politicians and writers alike, by imperialists and anti-imperialists, 'orientalists' and their critics, and has been manifested in a range of approaches and ideologies, including 'Orientalism', 'Occidentalism', pan-Asianism, pan-Islam, and Samuel Huntington's notorious 'clash of civilizations' thesis. It has fed into both colonialist and anti-colonialist thought. This course is intended as a case study in the history of ideas. We will investigate how ideas of a division between 'West' and 'East' have been expressed and developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries and how they have been deployed by politicians in a range of different countries and contexts. We will also examine some of the more subtle, alternative formulations of East/West cultural difference, assimilation and appropriation that have been articulated in the same period. The course will encourage you to rethink how cultures relate to each other, and about what is distinctively 'Western' or 'Eastern' about political and economic organization, human rights, democracy and secularism. Can we really talk about 'East' and 'West' as meaningful categories, and if not, when and how did people start using these terms and why, and what does that tell us about how we should understand the world and write about it? In semester 1, after an initial introduction of the themes and questions of the course, the next 4 weeks ('the West looks at the East') will analyse Western accounts of the East. The second half of the first semester ('the East looks at the West') then undertakes a chronological and thematic analysis of the different ways in which Asian governments and writers have understood, analysed and critiqued the West and its values. The second semester ('the East looks at the East') concentrates on how Asian governments and thinkers have understood the East, and their views of how far it can be said to enshrine coherent non-Western values. As well as studying transnational movements (pan-Asianism, pan-Islam and the Non-aligned Movement), we will also study selected Asian writing on democracy, human rights, nationalism, and secularism up to the present day. During the course we will be using a wide range of documents in translation - from constitutional debates, political tracts, government declarations, policy documents and educational literature, to travel accounts, speeches, letters, poetry and images. The course is intended to help you to rethink how you understand Western and non-Western cultures and to provide you with a more informed sense of the roots and nature of current global geo-political and cultural tensions.

Restrictions on availability: Students must have taken 40 credits from HST202 - HST2999.

Teaching Methods: Seminars, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Project/ portfolio

Information on the department responsible for this unit (History):

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The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK