This page focuses on the course 21G.027 Asia in the Modern World: Images and Representations as it was taught by Professor Shigeru Miyagawa in Fall 2016.
This course explored images that pertain to the emergence of Japan as a modern state. It focused on images that depict Japan as it came into contact with the rest of the world after its long and deep isolation during the feudal period.
A unique feature of this offering was that the instructor used course materials from three concurrent MOOCs to help students learn the subject. These three MOOCs included Visualizing Japan (1850s–1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity (edX), Visualizing Postwar Tokyo (University of Tokyo), and Four Faces of Contemporary Japanese Architecture (University of Tokyo).
- Learn to critically analyze images in their historical and cultural context;
- Understand the meaning of choosing various forms (woodblock, photographs, etc.);
- Become familiar with the creation of various media forms.
- Learn how Japan emerged from a long isolation to become a modern state;
- Understand the role of Western imperialism in Japan, in particular, and Asia, in general;
- Learn how public spaces are used to visualize priorities of the ruling body, the common populace.
- Learn to clearly communicate in writing;
- Learn to clearly communicate orally.
- Learn to work in teams;
- Learn when to lead, when to play a supporting role.
In the following videos, Professor Shigeru Miyagawa describes his roles at MIT and the University of Tokyo. He also shares his role in conceptualizing MIT OpenCourseWare and his perspective on transforming residential education with open digital content.
In the following videos, Professor Shigeru Miyagawa describes various aspects of how he taught 21G.027 Asia in the Modern World: Images and Representations.
Every fall semester
The students' grades were based on the following activities:
Breakdown by Year
1/2 freshmen, 1/2 other undergraduates
Breakdown by Major
Variety of majors
Typical Student Background
1/3 had visited Japan prior to taking the course
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 26 sessions total.
- Sessions were discussion-based, and included opportunities for student presentations.
Out of Class
Students wrote and revised papers, prepared for oral presentations, and completed MOOC assignments.