McGraw Commons

Online Platform for Course Blogs, Course Websites, and Course Projects

Category: History

Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan

The Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan website is a re-development of several projects developed by Professor Tom Conlan in Princeton Department of East Asian Studies, devoted to understanding the Mongol Invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. The failure of the invasions gave rise to the notion of the “divine wind” or Kamikaze, although an exploration of the invasions reveals that the Japanese defeated the Mongols with little need of divine, or meteorological intervention. The website invites users to explore and compare four different scrolls depicting the Mongol invasions of Japan and provides videos of the events around the invasions of 1274 and 1281.

The project builds upon several Flash-based projects developed by Professor Conlan at Bowdoin College. This current project, a collaboration with Ben Johnston from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, takes advantage or IIIF image technologies and the OpenSeaDragon Image Viewer.

Tannowa Collection: The Kyoto Princeton Project

Kyoto University and Princeton University have initiated a joint project in March 2020 in order to deepen the knowledge and awareness of Japanese history and culture throughout the world. The goal is to disseminate images, transcriptions, translations, and research about Japanese documents owned by the Kyoto University Museum.

The first set of documents that are translated are 53 records of the Tannowa collection. They cover the period from the early thirteenth through the early sixteenth century, and provide insight into the actions of the Tannowa, a warrior family who resided in the eponymous Tannowa estate in Izumi province. This collection is unique in that it provides, in great detail, evidence for the actions of the warriors of the central provinces near Kyoto, which rarely survive. These document reveal much about social and political conditions during the turbulent fourteenth century, when wars were fought between the Northern and Southern courts in Izumi from 1331 through 1392. The most remarkable documents in this collection include edicts from chancelleries of the noble Kujō house. In addition, a series of documents by Kusunoki Masanori, found in scroll two, are noteworthy, as are records from Ashikaga Takauji, the founder of Japan’s second warrior government. Finally, the latest documents recount the Tannowa during wars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as well.

Indigenous Brazil

The poem “TOTEM”, by André Vallias, served as an initial guide to the course. Each student chose one of the names of the indigenous people cited in the poem to research and write about it. The result of this research were contributed to the “TOTEM BLOG”, a collection of texts produced by each of the students about their people, as well as through the tags on the home page.

American Dissent

This Writing Seminar explored the achievements — and limits — of social movements and ideas opposed to the status quo. Students analyzed Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech about the meaning of Independence Day, examined historical, architectural, and financial perspectives on the Woodstock Music and Art Fair of 1969 and conducted their own research projects investigating an act, movement, or theory of dissent of their own choosing.

The Ōnin War

This website includes an animated video offering a new perspective on the Ōnin War. This war, which nominally lasted from 1467 through 1477, led to the destruction of Kyoto, Japan’s capital, and according to standard narratives, ushered in a century of conflict, Japan’s Warring States (Sengoku) era.