• Academic Credits: 3
  • SAS Core: HST, SCL
  • Mode of Instruction: Lecture
  • Course Description

    This course will focus on death as a problem in the history of Europe and Japan from the moment these territories constituted themselves as autonomous civilizations, beginning with the eighth century, and continuing to the present. Of all the Old World’s civilizations, the two in least direct contact until the modern era were Europe and Japan, for they were separated geographically and culturally by Islam and China. That there should have been significant differences in the ways these two civilizations dealt with death needs less explanation, therefore, than the fact that there were amazing similarities between them. How do we explain these similarities? What do they tell us about the process of historical explanation? To what extent may our introductory exploration of Japanese and European civilizations enrich our understanding of other societies, and of humanity in general?