Introduction to East Asia
Final Exam

Part I: Quiz-Style Questions
25x1=25 points

A combination of multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and other quiz-style questions based on material that is on the course web pages and was discussed in class.
Part II: Identify & State the Significance
5x5=25 points

Identify and state the significance of 5 out of 8 items, all of which are prominently featured on the web and were discussed in detail during class.

Part III: Essay Questions
2x25=50 points

Answer both of the following questions:
A. Modernity
As a historical category, modernity refers to a period marked by a questioning or rejection of tradition; the prioritization of individualism, freedom and formal equality; faith in inevitable social, scientific and technological progress and human perfectibility; rationalization and professionalization; a movement from feudalism (or agrarianism) toward capitalism and the market economy; industrialization, urbanization and secularization; the development of the nation-state and its constituent institutions (e.g. representative democracy, public education, modern bureaucracy) and forms of surveillance (Foucault 1995, 170–77). Some writers have suggested there is more than one possible modernity, given the unsettled nature of the term and of history itself. (Wikipedia/Modernity)
Discuss the transition of China, Japan, or Korea from a “traditional” society to a “modern” nation (or modern nations). Be sure to highlight specific events, movements, ideas, etc. that represent key moments in the transition. Conclude with a reflection on how the contemporary nation(s) was/were shaped by the modernization process.
B. Contemporary East Asia
East Asia may not be as cohesive and distinctive a region as it once was, and perhaps there is no longer any definable “East Asian civilization.” Modernization and Westernization shredded many East Asian traditions beginning as early as the late nineteenth century, and the mid-twentieth Cold War divided East Asia between competing outside ideologies and power blocs, whose legacies linger still. Recent East Asian economic takeoff, meanwhile, might be interpreted merely as an extension of a universally successful modern model. … Yet, over the whole of East Asia, the ghost, not so much of Confucius as of the entire East Asian past, still hovers, often invisibly but nonetheless powerfully, especially in the form of the extensively shared vocabulary among the East Asian languages. China (including Greater China), Japan, [and] Korea … are all very different places, but they also literally share many of the same words and ideas. And, if there is any one thing that does seem fairly certain at the start of the twenty-first century, it is that East Asia is once again, as it had been for much of human history prior to the nineteenth century, a major world center. (HEA, 400)
According to, the term civilization can be defined as “The society, culture, and way of life of a particular area.” Halcombe sketches out arguments both for and against the proposition that it is still meaningful to speak of “East Asian civilization.” Which argument do you find more convincing? Using specific examples from the course, explain why contemporary East Asia does or does not continue to share a sense of society, culture, and/or way of life that is sufficient to warrant the label “civilization.”