As I read through the chapter I realized the many systems and traditions that surrounded the East Asian population in the several dynasties noted in the chapter are ones that are still present in some cultures today. To think that some of the systems, machines and ideas of such stability and efficiency were created during these times (approx 1720’s) without the present day technologies is incredible. On page 650, the size of Japan during the 1720s approximated at around 33 million people. For that time in history 33 million is an extremely high number of people to be feeding. However, as described in the the short paragraph on page 650, they managed to do so without too much trouble with their amazing agriculture system and Tokugawa policies and tax structure. This all leading to rise in “banking and credit infrastructure.”
Through history courses taken in high school and in college, it has been noted that there is a lot of focus on Western European history. This is even true in classes that are meant to focus on world history. It was always assumed that this was because of whitewashing history courses. Although whitewashing is probably a large reason Chinese history is not a primary focus in American world history courses, this chapter showed how much China attempted to keep foreign culture out of its borders. Through banning Christianity and attempting to isolate the culture in the 1500s,it makes more sense now as to why there may be fewer accounts of the impact of Asian history. Maybe today there less focus because of these attempts of isolation.
However, this is not to say Chinese culture did not impact history. Clearly, there was technology and techniques,like firearms and other machines, that made their way into European culture and are still used in present day. Asian cultures were extremely advanced throughout history in areas like technology and education. This chapter did provide alternate ideas as to why there may be more of a western focus in world history classes, however it did not fully answer the question, and this is just the experience of one single student.
Reading through this information makes people wonder if other people have found Asian history to be glossed over in world history courses, or if this is something unique to my own education. If so, do others feel this is because of times of isolation or because of America/Western European’s curriculum development. Discuss
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