In this course, topics that hark back to the distant past but are still relevant to modern times will be analyzed using the methods of comparative economic analysis. A range of topics that have broad applicability, including various aspects of the development of civilizations, the reasons for global inequality, the Malthusian trap and the Industrial Revolution, the necessity of nationalism, and the clash of cultures, will be covered. In addition, the Edo Period, which is the course instructor’s specialization, will be used as an example in describing historical system analysis methods and showing how primary historical sources can be used to construct data, which can then be analyzed to develop concrete images of historical periods.
In this way, students will gain an understanding, from a historical perspective, of how the variety of social systems have encouraged and constrained human activity over time and will gain experience in the practical application of a variety of economic viewpoints and analysis methods to real historical examples.
The main learning outcome from this course is for students to deepen their understanding of both world history and Japanese history and to become able to analyze historical phenomena from the perspective of economic history. As a result, students will learn key considerations for the design and improvement of institutions and will gain the ability to understand society in broad terms of time and space rather than being limited to what is in front of their own eyes.
History, Comparative Institution Analysis
|Intercultural skills||Communication skills||Specialist skills||Critical thinking skills||Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
After covering historical examples through presentations and handouts, the class will progress, with participants providing feedback on how to understand such examples. The last 15 minutes of each class session will be used to consider a small problem.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||Guidance||Understanding the world through graphs.|
|Class 2||Black Swan||The qualities of humans that make them unable to recognize abnormal events as abnormal.|
|Class 3||The birth of civilizations||Continental distribution determined the development of humanity.|
|Class 4||The fall of civilizations||Easter Island and Greenland as examples of civilizations that have crumbled as a result of environmental destruction.|
|Class 5||New insights in game theory||Explanation of European merchant incentives.|
|Class 6||After the Industrial Revolution||Why did the Great Divergence occur?|
|Class 7||Nationalism||The tragedy in which the necessity of education leads to conflict for the nation.|
|Class 8||The Bottom Billion||The poorest billion people live in the continent of Africa.|
|Class 9||China or India?||The economic state of the countries that are regarded as being the next world leaders after the United States.|
|Class 10||The future of capitalism||Facts about the latest buzzword, “steady state society.”|
|Class 11||Looking at Japan||The order that emerged from the Sengoku Period.|
|Class 12||Exploring Edo I||Financial policy of the Imperial Court.|
|Class 13||Exploring Edo II||Survival strategies of the merchant class.|
|Class 14||Exploring Edo III||Things passed down to the Meiji Period.|
|Class 15||Course Summary||The methods and effectiveness of comparative economic analysis.|
There is no textbook. Instead, photocopied materials will be provided for each session.
Book list will be provided as needed.
During each class session, a small problem related to the course content will be presented. This small problem is for the development of students’ understanding of the various historical phenomena, analysis methods, and creative powers. Generally, the problem will be of a scale that can be solved during class time, but several homework assignments will also be given. Achievement levels for the small and medium problems will be graded and the total of those points will constitute the final grade for the course.