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Course NameJapanese Globalization in Comparative Context
InstructorCleveland, Kyle
MajorGeneral Studies
Course goalsThis course is designed to equip you to assess contemporary social and political issues in Japan, and place them in a comparative cultural context. The goal of this course is to enable you to think critically and analytically about issues by being able to identify underlying assumptions and ideologies inscribed in mass media representations of contemporary Japanese society. You will be expected to both learn the substantive content of particular issues, and to be able to understand how these issues are historically and culturally contextualized, in order to develop a comparative framework of analysis.
Course outlineJapanese Globalization in Comparative Context is a special topics course that addresses the ideological components of contemporary social and political issues in Japan. The study of ideology involves analysis of academic theories and frames of reference, based upon an understanding of cultural values and beliefs as they are articulated through political discourse and public policy. The course approaches Japanese social change from a comparative perspective, with reference to globalization and its effects on Japanese tradition and contemporary popular culture. * Reading Reflection Papers One of the requirements for this course is for you to submit short summaries for the required readings. The purpose of this is to help facilitate discussion, to focus your attention more specifically on the readings, and to track your involvement in the class throughout the semester. These summaries may also be a means of outlining the readings, and they can help prompt questions that may then be addressed in class. These papers may include a brief overview of the major points of the reading, and include questions you have related to the reading ? either direct questions about the meaning of the reading, or questions addressing issues that may be raised in association with the subjects covered in the reading. These reflection papers are due at the conclusion of a substantive unit (the due dates will be specified; but basically every three weeks or so), and should incorporate all assigned readings for a particular topic. These papers are due at the beginning of the class period on the day they are due and will not be accepted at any other time. The reflection papers should be submitted by email in either Word or PDF format (only).
Evaluation Scale and PoliciesGrades will be based upon a mid-term and final and reading summaries (reflection papers). The exams will be primarily essay in nature; the mid-term exam will be given as a take-home exam and the final in-class. Additional handouts will specify the requirements for the in-class presentation and extra-credit assignments. Mid-term Exam: 20%, Reading Reflectin Papers: 30%, Final Exam: 50% Attendance is essential for this course, and will influence final grades. Regular attendance is a measure of your commitment to the class, and you will be allowed no more than 3 absences without penalty - one full letter grade will be reduced from your earned grade if you miss more than 3 classes for this course.
Texts, materials, and suppliesCourse Materials for this course will be available as PDF files, and will be made available via email.
Course Schedule/PlanW1: April 11 -Introduction, W2: April 18-Kuwayama, Takami (2004). “Ethnographic Reading in Reverse: The Sword and the Chrysanthemum as a Study of the American Character,” In Native Anthropology: The Japanese Challenge to Western Academic Hegemony.
-Kondo, Dorinne (1987). "Creating an Ideal Self: Theories of Selfhood and Pedagogy at a Japanese Ethics Retreat," in Ethos, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 241-272:
-Film: Hell Camp: Ethics Retreat, W3: April 25 -Kalland, Arne (2004). Japanese Perceptions of Whales and Dolphins. In Wildlife in Asia: Cultural Perspectives. London: RoutledgeCurzon, -Singer, Peter (1975). All Animals are Equal and Man’s Dominion. In Animal Liberation.
-David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster,” Gourmet magazine.,-Film: “The Cove,”
(May 2/Class Holiday, May 9 No Class)
W4: May 16
-McCormack, Gavan (2000). Nationalism and Identity in Post-Cold War Japan. In Pacifica Review: Peace, Security & Global Change, Vol. 12, No. 3.
-Nelson, John (2003). Social Memory as Ritual Practice: Commemorating Spirits of the Military Dead at Yasukuni Jinja Shrine. In Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 62, No.2.
-Film: "Spirits of the State"
-Film: “Japan’s Peace Constitution”
W5: May 23
-Iwabuchi, Koichi (2002). Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism.
-Leheny, David (2006). “A Narrow Place to Cross Swords: Soft Power and the Politics of Japanese Popular Culture in East Asia,” in Beyond Japan: The Dynamics of East Asian Regionalism.
W6: May 30
-Erickson, Kai (1978). Everything in Its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood.
-Curtis, Gerald (2011). "Tohoku Diary," in Columbia College Today, Winter 2011 ? 12.
W7: June 6
-Perrow, Charles (2011). “Fukushima and the Inevitability of Accidents,” in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 67(6), pp. 44 ? 52.
-Samuels, Richard (2013). “Japan’s Rhetoric of Crisis: Prospects for Change After 3.11,” in Journal of Japanese Studies 39(19), pp. 97 ? 120.
-Film: PBS Frontline ? “Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown”
W8: June 13
-Roth, Joshua Isaiah (2005). “Political and Cultural Perspectives on ‘Insider’ Minorities,”
W9: June 20
-Condry, Ian (2005). “Introduction,” and “Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and the Elvis Effect,”
-Russell, John (2011). “Race as Ricorso: Black face(s), Racial Representation, and the Transnational Apologetics of Historical Amnesia in the United States and Japan, in Racial Presentations in Asia,”
W10: June 27
-Leheny, David (2009). Think Global, Fear Local: Sex, Violence, and Anxiety in Contemporary Japan.
-Film: Bounce: Ko Gals
W11: July 4
-Hill, Peter (2003). “Heisei Yakuza: Burst Bubble and Botaiho.”
-U.S. Department of State (June, 2011). Trafficking in Persons Report, 10th Edition.
-Supplementary: William Finnegan (May 5, 2008). “The Counter Traffickers.” ,
W12: July 11
-Kelly & White (2006). Students, Slackers, Singles, Seniors, and Strangers: Transforming a Family-Nation. In Beyond Japan: The Dynamics of East Asian Regionalism.
-Madge, Leila (1997). “Capitalizing on "Cuteness”: The Aesthetics of Social Relations in a New Postwar Japanese Order,” in Japanstudien 9, Ludicium Verlag.
W13: July 18
-Kinsella, Sharon (2000). Amateur Manga Subculture and the Otaku Panic. In Adult Manga: Culture and Power in Contemporary Japanese Society.
-Teo, Alan R. (2010). A New Form of Social Withdrawal in Japan: A Review of Hikikomori.
-Galbraith, Patrick W. (2010). Akihabara: Conditioning a Public "Otaku" Image. In Frenchy Lunning, (Ed.).
W14: July 25
-Christakis & Fowler (2011). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives -- How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Backbay Books.
W15: August 1
-Class Summary - Final examination review
( class contents & schedule may be subject to change )