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HIS 372 / 572,
THE HISTORY OF EARLY MODERN JAPAN


JOURNAL ASSIGNMENTS

The following series of specific assignments is to be completed in journal form and submitted for instructor evaluation at those points designated in the syllabus. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED BY THE INSTRUCTOR AFTER THE LISTED DUE DATE HAS PASSED.

Your completed journal will be reviewed with the following criteria in mind:

  • the intelligence with which the topics covered are addressed;
  • the thoroughness with which the assignments are completed;
  • the depth of insight expressed in your confrontation with the subjects considered;
  • the thoughtfulness with which the assignments are approached.

The exercise has been designed to provide an informal forum within which to demonstrate your mastery of the course content -- paticularly, lecture and discussion materials, assigned readings and independent outside investigations of topics of personal interest -- as well as your ability to organize your thoughts effectively and convincingly.

As long as the above criteria are addressed, there is no required page length requirement for your journal submissions. If you can convince me that you have dealt with the assigned topic possibilities "intellegently", thoroughly, with insight and thoughtfully in a couple of pages, all the better; on the other hand, pages and pages of unrelated ramblings which fail to consider the suggested topics will earn no higher an evaluation.

Journals may be recorded in a single bound set of dated, hand written entries or submitted assignment by assignment, either in handwritten or word-processed format.

Although effective written communication is essential, the journal WILL NOT be evaluated with respect to "correct" English and/or punctuation -- the ideas (and the organization thereof) , in this instance, are the most important ingredients, not the form in which they are expressed.

The result of this series of assignments is meant to be an informal JOURNAL, not a classroom exercise nor a series of answers to the specific questions posed below. Therefore do not merely "answer the questions" or "follow the directions" indicated; do not number your responses as if completing a "fill-in-the-blanks" exercise.

With respect to the opening set of assignments for Journal Assignment One, do not try to complete the entire series of assignments at one sitting -- instead tell me (in dated entries spaced over several days) about what peaks your interest about Japan and Japanese history as you examine the material assigned for the course and as you listen to the opening series of lectures. Then continue through the semester to keep me informed about your mastery of the material covered in your quest for answers to the questions raised by your interests as suggested in each of the subsequent assignments.

Your goal throughout the coming semester is to convince the instructor that you have completed the assigned reading for the course, that you have mastered the content of the course lectures and that you have taken the initiative to follow up on your identified personal interests in the subject matter of the course. Your ability to organize your insights in an effective and convincing manner should also be demonstrated.

In essence the assignments posed below are meant to focus your attention on a particular stimulus, a topic for your consideration; in each instance, I am more interested in how that particular stimulus excites your interest in the broader subject matter, the history of Early Modern Japan. The directions given and the questions asked, then, are merely meant to stimulate your thoughts about the topic or information source raised in the assignment. Your may choose to ignore these questions or directions entirely (in many cases they are very repetitious anyway!), as long as you write about what the assignment asks you to consider and organize your thoughts coherently and with adequate supporting examples and illustrations.

This overall journal assignment grows out of a conviction that learning is an active (not a passive) process; that learning involves remembering what interests you; and that learning is both goal oriented and concept centered. Therefore, to enable learning to occur, you, the student, must start with what you know, admit ignorance about what you don't know, identify interests growing out of that ignorance, then ask questions and seek to establish connections, building on current knowledge to achieve a new level of understanding, then present your insights in an organized, coherent and supported analysis.

This series of assignments, then, is designed to give you the opportunity to describe your interests, to relate what you don't know to what you know already, to expand your interests, to refine and reinterpret them and ultimately to restate and formulate them into appropriate analytical sttaements demonstrating amstery of the content studied.

Approach the writing of your journal with these criteria in mind and you should find the experience serves both to enlarge your interest in Japan and to focus your attention on specific topics and questions you would like to delve into in greater detail over the weeks ahead.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON EACH JOURNAL ENTRY, CLICK ON THE ASSIGNMENTS LISTED BELOW

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT ONE
(due Tuesday, January 29, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT TWO
(due Thursday, February 7, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT THREE
(due Thursday, February 21, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT FOUR
(due Thursday, March 6, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT FIVE
(due Thursday, April 3, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT SIX
(due Thursday, April 24, 2008)

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT SEVEN
(due Tuesday, May 6, 2008)


This site has been prepared by Lee A. Makela (l.makela@csuohio.edu) for the use of students at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, who are enrolled in HIS 372/572, The History of Early Modern Japan during the Spring Semester of the 2007 - 2008 Academic Year; please contact him with any comments.  
 Last revised: January 15, 2008