Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Roads to Modernity: Germany and Japan in the Age of Empires, 1860s-1930s
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Open examination  2,500 word open exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Open examination  2,500 word open exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Critically engage with a body of historical knowledge of European and Asian history between 19th and 20th century

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the developments of the German and Japanese empire within a period of modernisation and globalisation.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of different conceptualisations of imperialism and colonialism.

Demonstrate familiarity with methods of global and transnational history and an awareness of the challenges involved.

Read, analyse and reflect critically on secondary and primary sources in the context of German and Japanese imperial history

Brief description

The module will analyse key developments in the German and Japanese empires starting from their appearance on the broader international scene (German unification and Meiji restoration), and stretching through the rise of Fascism and Fascist like regimes in both countries. Key topics of social history, political developments, and international relations will be presented through a transnational and comparative approach. German and Japanese empires and societies underwent, within a similar timeframe, similar developments, both by reacting to global developments and influencing each other through formal cooperation, but also informal cultural transfers. This module will offer the chance to engage with the problems raised by societies facing modernisation and globalisation by examining comparable case studies in two very different geographical and cultural contexts.


There will be 18 lectures and six hours of seminars, exploring themes including:

German and Japanese state building processes
Imperialism and colonialism
German-Japanese relations before WWI
Cultural and Military Exchanges
German expansion in Asia
The German-Japanese conflict in the Pacific
Social changes: the new woman
From social critic to propaganda: German and Japanese cinema
German Bauhaus and Japanese visual arts
Learning from each other: travel between the wars
Rapprochement through Fascism

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.
Creative Problem Solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and assignments.
Critical and analytical thinking Students will develop their critical and analytical thinking by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the seminars.
Digital capability Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Professional communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework; skills in oral presentation will
Real world sense Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop knowledge of German and Japanese history in the age of empires. They will also gain familiarity with methods of global and transnational history, as well as the use of relevant primary and secondary sources relating to the period.


This module is at CQFW Level 6