Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of Japan

William A Marotti

Introduction to Asian Civilizations: History of Japan

History department

William A Marotti

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Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.5
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 1.2
Easy
Heavy
Workload 1.5
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.2
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.2
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Grades

Spring 2010
38.1%
31.7%
25.4%
19.0%
12.7%
6.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 21, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

The class structure given by the note taker below is correct: 2 essays, no midterm, and a final. The study guide has all final exam questions in it. However, the class isn't that awful. If you are looking for an easy GE, History 9C definitely isn't the choice for you. There are A LOT of readings. But, if you're looking for an interesting History class and are prepared to read, this class is a good candidate. A few of the reading materials may be dry, but most of them are actually quite interesting. A lot of them are primary sources, which gives you a better glimpse of people's perspectives and actions in certain time periods. The readings are better when we hit Modern Japan after Week 6. Professor Marotti's lectures will supplement the readings when he explains the time periods. He is weird sometimes, as the previous post mentions, but his lectures could help overall in regards to the readings. The discussion sections also help a lot, so don't miss them. There are really no "dates" in class, but that is what this class is about. In actuality, dates are not that important for history. It's trying to know the mindsets of the people of certain times and their actions that is actually the most important in learning history.

History 9C isn't the best history class I had, but it's not the worst.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 16, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

I looked at the reviews on here before deciding to take this for a GE because they didn't sound too bad. Now that I've taken the class, I can say that the reviews are actually very accurate, but they don't make the class sound as bad as it is. Two essays, no midterm, and a final of 2 essays for which he provides 13 prompts beforehand, 6 of which he guarantees will be on the final. Every week you have to pick a quote from the readings, write a paragraph analysis on it, and also submit a paragraph to a discussion forum.

Don't take this class. It is awful. My roommate took an upper division history seminar this quarter and had less reading than I did. There is at least 120 pages a week of small print, primary source reading. And it's reading online (you don't buy a textbook or course reader), so it's hard to skim because you can't highlight or anything. It isn't a history class where it's just a timeline of events, it's examining all these minute details and debating viewpoints.

And on Marotti...he's just fucking weird. He isn't mean or anything, I don't know how to explain him. I signed up to be note taker as a way of forcing myself to go to lecture, and one day I just typed what he said for one minute:

"So…….I manage to derail myself mid thought, how ‘bout that? It happens from time to time……Ah, I remember my point. This argument about the emperor is met half way by the Tokugawa screwing themselves up. When they go to sign the treaty with Harris, nice job guys! This is what’s on the agenda. Thing is, not what most people are thinking about: most people are thinking, we are being ruled by knuckleheads. They can’t even get the name of the time right without Kyoto being burned to the ground. Meiji, read it backwards: Ji, mei, no rule! No governance! Ahhhh!”

And one of the slides said this:

"What’s an emperor? Oh, a folklore deity! Can I have some dumplings? Stewed eggplant? A job? Maybe get my hubby off his butt so we don’t default? Not falling off roofs when I do my roofing job? A rich, hot wife? Did I mention the eggplant?"

He makes no sense, and I actually did the readings up to week 6. And he tries SO hard to be funny. At first it was kind of funny just how hard he tried, but it gets old quick and he just seems immature.

If you do get stuck in this class, go to section. They are so worth your time, my TA saved me and got me through the course.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 21, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

I think Marotti is a cool guy. eh wears jeans and black t-shirts to every lecture and doesn't afraid of anything.

But really, this is a good introductory survey class. I absolutely despise history courses that consist of nothing but memorizing names, places, and dates. Marotti does a great job of avoiding that style in favor of presenting a much more critical and in-depth analysis of Japanese history that challenges conventional stereotypes and really articulates how Japan has evolved from its origins to the era of the nation-state. He's got a very dry, witty personality, which makes his lectures...ah, interesting, to say the least.

That said, the workload is not for the faint of heart. There's no textbook - instead you're assigned a long list of primary source material. Emphasis on the long - I would guess that it easily exceeded 1300 pages of material. On the bright side, there's no expensive course reader since he uploads everything online.

Now you're probably curious - do I really have to do *all* of that reading? Good question - there's some readings that are just flat-out not worth your time. "Tale of the Genji" and Gayn's "Japan Diary" stood out to me as really long sources that weren't really necessary. Still, don't get in a habit of skipping everything, since you run the risk of lectures flying over your head and the final exam is comprehensive. You can probably get away with skimming some of the longer ones, and your TA should point out the important parts in section.

In terms of graded materials, there's no midterm, which is nice. Instead, you'll have three 4-page essays assigned throughout the quarter, and you'll have your pick from a very generous list of prompts for each one. If you are exceptionally lazy, there's no reason why you can't do all of the reading that applies to just prompt you select and outright ignore the rest, but I wouldn't recommend that. The final exam consists of two in-class essays, one weighted 40% and the other 60%. You'll get a list of 13 prompts to study from and a minimum of 7 will appear as choices on the exam; there were actually 9 on ours but I can't guarantee that you'll see that many. Since you know the prompts there's no surprises here, and the final can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be.

Section is worth your time, especially if you slack on the readings. You'll get a good synopsis of everything and it'll substantially increase your understanding of the material.

I got an A+, but don't let that fool you into thinking you can go on autopilot and do well, i.e. if you are south campus and have no time to do reading, then this is not the class for you. Marotti emphasized on the first day that he doesn't teach GEs the way other professors do, i.e. low standards and light workloads. Do the reading and you'll do well.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted July 10, 2009 Grade Received: N/A

Oh Marotti. Funny thing about this class. On the first day there were like 250 people in the room. After Marotti showed the class how thick the course reader was, more than half of them dropped.

By all means though, Marotti is a really nice guy, and at the very least he does his best to be funny and entertaining to his class. Personally, I think he's a good guy. In terms of teaching, Marotti doesn't really seem to have much organization going on. Generally you have to read the readings to have a slight understanding to what in the world he's talking about. Ancient Japan isn't exactly easy to study since all the readings are primary documents, but as long as you ACTUALLY READ THEM, you'll be okay. He doesn't cover necessarily everything from readings, but he covers most of the important things. Going to lecture will really help you out when it comes to writing your papers and for the final.

The class is pretty standard: 3 three-four page papers, no midterm, and a final. Oh and the good thing about the papers is that he gives you a choice from like 9 essay prompts! Very generous of him. Final was pretty easy, only 2 essay prompts and no IDs and he emails you 13-14 essay prompts to study from while choosing 7 of them to be on the final exam. Discussion will definitely help you a lot to better understand the readings. Oh and don't bother buying the course reader, it's all uploaded online.

Lastly, one pretty cool thing about this class is that you get a chance to watch the original Godzilla during the quarter. If you can, I really recommend you go. You'll get a lot out of it and it will help you on the final. For the final, one of the prompts was on Godzilla so needless to say 50% of the exam didn't require much effort. Overall, I'd recommend Marotti. As long you as actually read, you'll be okay. Oh and I got an A in the class, hah.

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