Banner image for VJx: a painting of a ship.For the first time, MITx has partnered with HarvardX to deliver a MOOC on the edX platform. The course is VJx Visualizing Japan (1850s–1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity. It starts on September 3 and runs for five weeks.

The course is taught in modules based on the MIT “Visualizing Cultures” website, which is devoted to image-driven research on Japan and China since the 19th century. The introductory module considers methodologies historians use to “visualize” the past. Three subsequent modules explore the themes of Westernization (in Commodore Perry’s 1853-54 expedition to Japan), social protest (in Tokyo’s 1905 Hibiya Riot), and modernity (in the archives of the major Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido).

There are four instructors: Professors John Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa (of MIT) founded the Visualizing Cultures website in 2002; Professor Andre Gordon (of Harvard) and Professor Gennifer Weisenfeld (of Duke) have authored learning units for the site.

Professor Miyagawa and Professor Dower have taught MIT courses based on the materials appearing on the Visualizing Cultures website. In fact, the course they taught in Spring 2012, 21F.027 Asia in the Modern World: Images & Representations, is published on OCW and can serve prospective students as a kind of sneak preview of VJx.

As we’ve recently highlighted, Professor Miyagawa is a long-time champion of OCW and open sharing of educational resources. He has served on OCW’s Faculty Advisory Committee since OCW’s inception in 2000 and was chair of the committee from 2010–2013.

Visualizing Japan is part of a planned series of courses to run on edX. The second course, which is to be created by the University of Tokyo, will be called Visualizing Postwar Tokyo.