History of Tokyo

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 

Sprawling in every direction, Tokyo is a city that burps and flashes with the flow of people and commodities. This three- credit course explores how the Tokyo metropolitan area has been produced and experienced through human and nonhuman movement. Beginning with how the city was built human and natural resources from all over the Japanese archipelago from the early seventeenth century, we will go over how the water-bound landscape of old city influenced the ways in which people built their homes, did business, and amused themselves. We will explore how this city of water was transformed into a city of land, as Tokyo was colonized by parks, statues, and railway systems within the context of empire. We will talk about how different stakeholders imagined, cooperated and contested government plants rebuild the city of Tokyo in the context of foreign occupation. Finally, we will talk about how people’s anxieties about the future of the city have often played out in apocalyptic imaginaries.

Complete Course Syllabus: