WWII in Asia and Africa

Discipline: History
Instructor: Walker
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1415
End: 1530
Field Work: Day 2 | Singapore Download Syllabus

This course will involve a multi-faceted examination of the Second World War in the Pacific and African theaters. Topics to be covered will encompass the causes of the war, including the competition for empire and the rise of militarism, the major strategies of the belligerents and the key events of the war itself in these geographic regions. However, this is not a course in military history. The emphasis will be on the social, cultural and political impact of the war on Asian and African nations and populations. Other topics would include the role of racism in wartime environments, anthropological perspectives on national war strategies and tactics, the morality of certain wartime decisions and the nature of war crimes, the shaping of the post war peace and the politics of memory in remembering the war from different national perspectives.

Field Work

Country: Singapore
Day: 2

The mandatory Field Lab will take place on February 21 in Singapore. Our class will spend the day with Dr. Malcolm Murfett, the noted instructor and scholar of the British Empire at the National University of Singapore, and Dr. Brian Farrell, a specialist in British military history also teaching at NUS. Dr Murfett’s background, teaching interests and publications can be found online at http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/hist/about/hismhm.htm, while those of Dr Farrell can be found at http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/hist/about/hisbpf.htm.  Drs. Murfett and Farrell will walk us through the history of Singapore as a British colony in a classroom setting and then lead us through the city on a guided tour highlighting the wartime experiences of its population. Students will complete a Field Report summarizing their reflections on the day’s experiences as well as presenting their own perspectives on the legacies of the Second World War for Singapore.
Academic Objectives:
  1. Introduce students to the history of Singapore as well as its significance in World War II
  2. Gain an understanding of the nature of Japanese occupation during the war
  3. Become familiar with key wartime historical sites