Law and the Formation of Transnational East Asia
Law and the Formation of Transnational East Asia: The East Asian Dawn of the American Century
This course explores the visions and historical processes that shaped the political, economic, and legal principles, policies, and practices of a transnational order in East Asia from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth. Its focus will be on the trans-Pacific interactions between the United States, Japan, the Philippines, and China, but always with the rest of East Asia in mind. The discussions will delve into the interplay of law, politics, and economics during the period covered. Through these discussions, this class will explore new ways of understanding the historical developments whereby a coherent transnational order was formed in East Asia. The aim will be to overcome the limitations of the two prevalent narratives regarding East Asian history. The first, known as the “Western Impact” model, looks at modern East Asian history in the context of how each society reacted to Western powers attempting to dominate the area through trade and colonization. The second approach has traditionally been presented as an antithesis to the first, focusing on the internal logic of East Asian societies, and modernization in these societies is explained by referring primarily to domestic political dynamics, avoiding overemphasis on influence from the West. By grounding our analyses on the development of a transnational order among East Asian societies on one hand, but focusing on trans-Pacific interactions on the other, our objective will be to re-assess not just the history of East Asian societies, but the history of the US, and its role in the shaping of a global order that remains crucially important to this day.