HISTORY 497 - History Colloquium
Winter 2022, Section 003 - Christians in the Land of the Samurai: Race, Tigers, Slavery, and Tea
Instruction Mode: Section 003 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


After reviewing the scope of European expansion into Asia and Africa in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the course introduces the intimate voices and actions of the Europeans on the Japanese archipelago who sought to "save" souls, and beat the other rival colonizing forces. Amidst rampant warfare, Japanese samurai were jolted by the arrival of "Europe." After a shipwreck "discovered" Japan in 1543 and introduced guns, the Portuguese Jesuits followed it with the Bible, a tiger and other goods from Asia and Africa. Camouflaging their sovereign's raw political ambition with evangelism and commerce, the priests admired the samurai's strict rule and decried women's mobility and easy lifestyle, though not as much as did the normalized practice of male-male sex. They astutely studied the Japanese language, expressed Christian God in Buddhist terms, won some converts, and took East Asians as slaves along with those from Africa. The supreme warlord Oda Nobunaga welcomed the Europeans but Hideyoshi, his successor, began an anti-Christian move, while taking his own expansionist urge to invade Korea. By the mid-seventeenth century, Christianity was entirely forbidden on the soil of the Japanese archipelago.

This is a seminar-style course for juniors and seniors. Evaluation is based on in-class participation, report on museum artifacts, comments on films, occasional quizzes, analysis of source materials, such as writings by warriors, Korean officials, and European missionary-traders, and a five-page final paper, or an alternative presentation, such as a website on a focused topic. By taking this course, students will become acquainted with a pattern of global expansion that is often skipped over in Europe-centered courses. They will learn about the clash and confluence of cultures and beliefs, and the first-time awareness of visual "racial" differences on the archipelago.

All readings will be uploaded to CANVAS.

Course Requirements:

Occasional quizzes, reports on visual material, commentaries on sources, a final paper or website

Intended Audience:

Upper-level students, both history majors and non-majors (depending on seat availability)

Class Format:



HISTORY 497 - History Colloquium
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
6LSA Jr>
W 3:00PM - 6:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
3LSA Jr>
W 4:00PM - 7:00PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
6LSA Jr>
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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