Japanese Studies Courses

JS523 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 2 This course is a graduate seminar in pre-modern Japanese literature. The content will be designed around the research needs of the students interested in taking the class. Past topics have included the following: general surveys of pre-modern Japanese literature; literary representations of gender and sexuality; warriors and warrior culture; imperial court poetry and prose. Please note that this is a 2-period class - roughly 3 hours every week. Students who register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 1 must also register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 2. Thompson
JS524 Religion and Japanese Society 1 This course explores the religious traditions of Japan and their social and cultural impact. One of the most important developments in the field of religious studies in recent decades has been the so-called “somatic turn”—an increased attention to the role of the human body in religion and the role that religious ideas, practices, and institutions have had in shaping knowledge about and experiences of the body. Accordingly, this course will devote special attention to the question of how Japanese religion has affected perceptions of the body and the role of the body in Japanese religion. It will trace the effects of religiously-informed perceptions of the body on the development of folk medical knowledge, bioethical reasoning, attitudes toward death and dying, the construction of gender, the formation of outcast groups, and various other social practices. Drott
JS525 Religion and Japanese Society 2 **********Not offered in 2019********** Drott
JS532 Japanese History The nineteenth century connects the world by empire, law, commerce, war, and the exchange of ideas. The course examines some of these ideas and ways of life in Japan. It considers the pivotal events from the vantage point of transnational history. Gramlich-Oka
JS533 Modern Japanese History Overview over the history of regional integration in East Asia and theories of East Asian solidarity. We will read primary sources from writers embracing or criticizing the idea of an “East Asian world” or “pan-Asian unity” and discuss these readings in class. East Asian integration will be analyzed from a comparative viewpoint, taking into consideration historical parallels as well as differences with regional integration in other areas, particularly Europe and the Americas. Saaler
JS541 Japanese Ethnography ********* Not offered in 2019 ******* This is a fieldwork-based class with readings on the creation, use, control and transgression of urban space and culture, using Tokyo as our “fieldsite.” Students will use the theoretical and ethnographic readings as jumping off points to generate their own research questions and finally their own field project and digital final project. Slater
JS542 Popular Culture This course explores theoretical concepts and methodological issues prompted by the study of “Japanese popular culture.” The course is intended as a workshop-like environment where participants share their ongoing research agenda and perform collaborative reading and discussion. Participants are each expected to develop a semester-long project on a topic of their choosing, incorporating course readings and class discussion into their argument. The theoretical focus of this semester is the multifaceted meanings of popular. ‘Popular’ is a surprisingly elusive concept, harboring heterogeneous and competing meanings: youth, urbanity, majority, minority, subculture, amateurism, culture industry, trendiness, inexpensiveness, folksiness, rural culture, tradition, vulgarity, something that exceeds or escapes official or elite discourses, something that legitimates them. It is connected to diverse types of events, practices, and beings (popular idols, popular protest, popular memory, popular vote, etc), and while it is sometimes taken to be a ‘common’ denominator across cultural and historical boundaries, it just as often defies easy translation and recontextualization. Our readings draw broadly from cultural studies, media studies, sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines, and include materials not directly related to Japan for cross-cultural consideration. Some segments of our reading list concern the question of ‘common people’: how many people, what kind of people -- what extent and kind of ‘commonness’ -- are demanded in the popularness of Japanese popular culture? We also discuss how the value of popularness is (de)stabilized in concrete social and institutional practices and how signs of the popular are manufactured and recontextualized for political and economic ends. Nozawa
JS543 Urban Space Studies The course aims to introduce what is arguably the most complex product of society and Japanese society in particular — the city, and to concentrate on the city of Tokyo. Our study will encompass a range of issues concerning the city, and the complex consequences of urban developments under modern and contemporary conditions. We will observe how the city has defined, and was in itself defined by, a particular reality at a particular time, beginning in Edo period and concluding in the present. Such approach emphasizes a need to examine the external relations of the city with context, and particularly relate to its social, cultural and political circumstances. Thus, we will look at the creation and recreation of the city’s physical texture, at architecture, urban landscape, infrastructure and technology, and at the same time observe the city as a social product determined by everyday life and habitual practices, organization of the immediate surrounding, personal rites and the micro-politics of life in the city. In the same manner, we will look at buildings and neighborhoods per-se, as a material construct guided by geometry and legal code, but at the same time recognize how the pragmatics of this built environment interrelate with cultural systems such as literature and film, and thus examine the mechanisms that relate the city to culture. Also, we will see how the city is not merely a reflection or expression of politics, but rather an intricate political apparatus in and of itself, influencing relationships and encouraging change. There are two consecutive class sessions every week. Usually, there will be a lecture at the first session, and the second lecture period will be used for class discussions, screening of films and videos, visiting lectures, or field trips. In taking the classroom outside the campus, we will use the benefit of the Tokyo locality to be in and see the subjects of our study. These activities are equally important to the class lectures, and should be used to further practice critical thinking and develop skills for analyzing the built city. The course has no prerequisites. Besides an interest in the course’s subjects, students are not required to have any prior knowledge of Tokyo, architecture, art and/or other discipline of urban studies. Golani-Solomon
JS546(Fall) Introduction to Japanese Studies (offered in Fall semester) This is a compulsory two-credit course for all first-semester degree M.A. students in Japanese Studies. The course provides a basic overview of how to research, from the process of selecting a topic and gathering sources to the process of writing results. The course also trains students for critically reading secondary sources. Continuing degree students who have not previously taken this course may enroll, with permission from the Instructor. Drott
JS546(Spring) Introduction to Japanese Studies (offered in spring semester) This is a compulsory two-credit course for all first-semester degree M.A. students in Japanese Studies. The course provides a basic overview of how to research, from the process of selecting a topic and gathering sources to the process of writing results. The course also trains students for critically reading secondary sources. Continuing degree students who have not previously taken this course may enroll, with permission from the Instructor. Kono