This course covers the geopolitical history of twentieth-century East Asia, from its colonial constellation through its transformation into cold war nation-states. We then use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate contemporary problems accompanying the emergence of regional economies and institutions. We grapple with the question of when people in East Asia -- China, Taiwan, the Koreas, and Japan -- act as a members of a transnational region and when they act in ideological, national, or local terms. We evaluate different disciplinary approaches in order to understand the combination of knowledge and skills necessary for drawing meaningful research conclusions. In reading articles produced by a range of scholars and institutions, the course is also an introduction to the politics of the production of knowledge about East Asia. This course is restricted to freshmen in the Global Citizenship Program.