Panel 5 (C): Approaches to Teaching History in the Globalizing World

Panel Coordinator:Takao Fujikawa (Osaka University, Japan)


Panel Abstract:


New programs, tools, and ways of teaching history are important, even more so in an environment where digital technologies are constantly revolutionizing communication and data processing; the presentation of historical materials and sources accumulated over centuries is also rapidly changing. On the other hand, globalization is having an enormous impact on our daily lives which inevitably changes our perspectives of history. Ignoring such a tremendous change may amount to a negligence of duty on the part of historical researchers and history teachers.

However, simply adopting new technology or positing global history as the antithesis of national history as such may not enrich history teaching. A new technology or a new global history is not a value-free or value-neutral entity. Revisionist history over the last several decades has revealed the importance of viewing race, gender, and class as critically important, and of making history as inclusive as possible. Post-modernist history has showed us how futile and closely related to power relations binary oppositions are in society as well as in academic thinking. The globalizing world is not a paradise without race, gender, and class distinctions; instead, it is expanding and inflating these distinctions on a much larger scale. Thus, historical research and teaching should be informed of such aspects as well as global history perspectives.

In this session we will focus on practical teaching methods and the use of new technology. History teaching is now faced with many problems in the globalizing world with its advanced communication and data processing technologies. How to teach history in class and to make it more relevant to contemporary society is critically important. This issue is also closely connected to history teachers’ training in university. We need to encourage students to embrace global perspectives of history and to use new tools of digital history. Nonetheless, we are trying not to lose sight of the importance of how to make history more inclusive of the different types of groups of society without neglecting differences between persons with multiple identities in race, nationality, gender, sexuality, class, etc. The session is aimed at showing examples of making history teaching more relevant to society in various aspects of this globalizing world.




Preparing World History Teachers in the US and Japan


Kristine Dennehy (California State University, Fullerton, USA)


This paper will examine various aspects of the undergraduate curriculum for History majors, with a particular focus on the preparation of teacher credential candidates. As undergraduate institutions are under increasing pressure to confer degrees within four years while keeping enrollments robust, History Department offerings have undergone significant changes in recent years. Some of these changes reflect general disciplinary shifts such as more classes with a thematic approach or ones that are more interdisciplinary. This paper will highlight shifts at all levels of the curriculum, including the lower-division World History survey, a gateway seminar in Historical Methodology, and upper-division coursework in the field of Asian Studies. Based on this discussion, this paper will also make some preliminary suggestions for comparison with the Japanese system of teacher credentialing.


Not Just an Enigma: How to Connect Japan with the World beyond its Specificities through University Education


Yasuko Hassal Kobayashi (Ritsumeikan University, Japan)


Japanese Studies as part of Area Studies was formed and thrived through WWII and the Cold War, as a way to understand an enigmatic entity that was inexplicable by common logic of western civilized countries. This particular gaze was not newly discovered by the Allied military intelligence personnel during WWII but ran through Western literature from Marx to Fairbank, Ruth Benedict and the like.

Flourishing Area Studies consolidated the geographic borders of areas, such as East Asia and Southeast Asia. The irony is that Area Studies assumed the mantle of centring the west by locating itself as others as opposed to the West (Sakai 2018), and even at its best talked back to the centre by emphasizing area specificities and inexplicit natures. Also, this same structure allowed native Japanese scholars to exploit a space through claiming their power of being native Japanese.

However, this post/colonial nature of Area Studies (Japanese Studies as a case in point) has been critically contemplated within Japanese Studies (Walker & Sakai 2019), and Tessa Morris-Suzuki proposed a concept of “Liquid Area Studies” which suggests that “an area is not a solid thing but like a fountain which is given shape only by constant activity and movement. Like a fountain too, it may radically change shape, or disappear altogether, if movement changes direction or ceases” (Morris-Suzuki 2019). Discovering this kind of fluid and dis/appearing area requires different lenses beyond our unreflective notions.

Indeed, after the turn of the century, new perspectives have produced significant work to challenge the existing understanding of Japanese history. For instance, Nayoung Aimee Kwon’s work “Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan” (2015) shows a nuanced relation between Japan and Korea during the colonial era by deploying postcolonial reading, and it not only challenges a simple binary between the colonised and the coloniser but also connects Japanese coloniality with world history of colonialism. Jeffrey Paul Bayliss deals with a familiar topic of Japanese study, Koreans and Buraku, in “On the Margins of Empire: Buraku and Korean Identity in Prewar and Wartime Japan” (2013). It locates this issue, not as a Japan specific issue but in the global context of minority issues. These works point to the need for changing our perspective to investigate Japanese history and issues: Japan needs to be understood not just as Japan but as a part of East Asia as well as the globe.

The challenge for university teaching is how to enable students to grasp this perspective of Japan being part of East Asia and the globe, not just as mantras in cutting-edge journal articles, but as reality according with their own sense of living in this globalised world today. Simply put, how can international students have a sense that Japan is something in them, not just an exotic enigma?

During my time at Osaka University Global Japanese Studies, I have pursued this challenge. This presentation will briefly justify this approach, present the course contents taught at Osaka University and what was successfully received by the students or failed. Then it will suggest some perspectives of teaching Japanese history/contemporary Japanese issues as part of the globe for both international and Japanese students.


How to Interpret Historical Terms in Foreign Languages: Teaching Medieval Japanese History in the Globalizing World


Huang Xiaolong (Osaka University, Japan)


Studies of medieval Japanese history by Japanese scholars have traditionally tended to adhere to national particularism. However, an increasing number of Japanese scholars are now realizing the importance of the global dissemination of their research achievements and results. There are numerous avenues for the worldwide promotion of studies of medieval Japanese history. From my point of view, the issue of emergent methodologies that can assist the instruction of medieval Japanese history to international students in Japan or to learners in other countries cannot be ignored. In particular, the translation or interpretation of medieval Japanese historical terms is a considerable barrier. Naturally, the terminology that is chosen and the manner of its interpretation differ according to the contexts of the country in which the instruction occurs and the language that is employed. This presentation will focus on historical terminology to discuss the current circumstances and challenges of teaching medieval Japanese history in the global arena.

First, I will verify the conditions pertaining to the teaching of medieval Japanese history in China and in the United States. China’s circumstances will be ascertained on the basis of a questionnaire administrated to the Department History in Fudan University. On the other hand, the University of Southern California (USC) continuously organizes kanbun (Sino-Japanese) workshops and undertakes translation projects for historical sources in pre-modern Japan with the support of Japanese scholars. I will utilize USC as an instance for conditions in the United States, by surveying the achievements and results of USC through material that can be accessed via the Internet or print publications.

Second, I will discuss my teaching experience at Vietnam National University, Hanoi and at Ritsumeikan University as part of the work undertaken by this program. I will talk about the actual difficulties and problems we faced when interpreting or translating certain specific historical terms to Japanese or English. In addition, the Online Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms, created by the Historiographical Institution of the University of Tokyo, will be introduced as an interpretation and translation tool.

I hope to discover some indications about the selection and inference of historical terminology in the pedagogy of medieval Japanese history in a global context.


Digital History Connecting University, Students, and the Public


Takao Fujikawa (Osaka University, Japan)


I am now leading a research group which consists of me and a number of data analysis scholars. The name of the project is “Historical Anatomy of Public Opinion Formation in Australia: Public Meeting Data Analysis via Natural Language Processing.” Well done! In fact, I am actually following a track suggested by young scholars from different disciplines to challenge this path breaking research. Though this may become my Battle of Thermopylae in contemporary digital history war in the global arena, I have decided to proceed not because I have Leonidas’ courage but out of curiosity.

In this presentation, I want to talk about a series of my curiosity at Department of Western History in Osaka University to teach or rather to collaborate with students with a view to expand academic history into the public domain. I intend to deal with subjects such as the construction of a website for the department; the first internet lecture in 1999 using Yamaha SoundVQ Player; the construction of databases for an Australian dictionary and a chronological table for Australian history, both of which were helped by the “Three Musketeers”, students from three different faculties in addition to graduate and postgraduate students from the department; the making of Net Kelly in 2004, a site introducing Australian towns with a map and pictures; the making of the Ghostly Gazetteer of Australia in 2004–2007; a site of lost Australian place names with clickable maps (use of FireWorks with the help of “D’Artagnan,” a talented student); the launch of Public History in 2003 – the journal of history for the public by our department which used Adobe InDesign, a desktop publishing software application for creating magazines, newspapers, and books (starting with the first issue, Public History was published both in digital and print formats); the introduction in 2006 of a new class, Performing Histories in English; the publication of Reading a World History I and II in 2011 and 2015, respectively, through animation in collaboration with postgraduate students; and from 2016 a collaboration with artists for the publication of history books and journals.

Finally, I will return to the research project mentioned above and explain how I will integrate it with teaching digital history in class.