Spring 2013 Topical Courses

Last update: September 28, 2012

Arch 3020 (801) Architectural Design Studio in Japan

Almost incomprehensible in its complexity, Tokyo offers a glimpse of urban situations that challenges how we define cities. Knit tightly together by the most intricate public transportation system in the world, Tokyo is a matrix of several cities in one, each one with its own center and vibrant character. Dense population in this metropolis pushes even the smallest sites to accommodate buildings, often producing interesting and new solutions to building and program. Whereas in most cities disparities among social classes generate physical barriers, the relative absence of this in Japanese society has allowed the city to mature and develop in a more fluid, delicate manner that blurs boundaries with great subtlety. Added to this the highly sophisticated construction industry and respect for building craft, one may refer to Tokyo as an "urban laboratory" that is constantly evolving and producing knowledge to absorb. Design problems posed in this studio will require application of critical thought to this unfamiliar environment and to its larger context of Japanese culture. Writings, drawings, CAD plans, computer graphics, and models will be required in by students to present their ideas. Projects should express creativity and new thought while simultaneously stressing the importance of responding to the human inhabitants they impact. In addition to several lectures, site visits, and excursions, this studio will focus on two separate design problems of contrasting scale. The first project will be a small-scaled intervention which will introduce Japanese concepts of dwelling, flexibility of living space, and inside-outside relationships. The second project is a large-scale project that will focus on an urban problem within Tokyo, requiring new and creative proposals of program and circulation.

Art Hist 2000 (801) Exhibition Planning, Design and Development

The focus of this course is to provide a practical overview of all the proper procedures and stages to manage and develop exhibitions. The course will take students through different phases required in the process to present an exhibition right from its purpose, conceptual development, presentation aesthetics, spatial organization and audience analysis, to logistics like proper handling of art objects and installation techniques, Public Relations and Marketing, security, interpretation material and publications, necessary in the creation of a "total" exhibition experience. This course will involve regular visits to museums and galleries. In class, a wide range of exhibitions, permanent and temporary, from around the world will be discussed as case studies, including museums and galleries, interpretation centres, festivals and trade fairs.

As St 3000 (802) Japanese Music

An extensive introduction to hougaku, the traditional music and performing art of Japan. Apart from covering the basics of Japanese music history and its theory, the course concentrates on hougaku as a living tradition and includes frequent in-class live performances by some of Japan's best hougaku performers and much use of audiovisual materials.

As St 4096 (801) Self, Culture, and Illness in Japan

Who are we? How is our understanding of our 'self' related to our physical and/ or psychological well-being? And to what extent do our cultural backgrounds affect our conceptions of well-being? This capstone writing course (for Asian Studies major) will aim at answering these questions through critically exploring the cross-cultural conceptions of self, health, and illness with particular focus on Japanese society. The topics to be covered in this course will include anthropological perspectives on conceptions of theself/personhood, health/illness/disease, body/mind, mental health & therapy, as well as critical perspectives on medical and healing systems. Students registered for this course will read works on these topics and will be encouraged to reflect on their own everyday practices so that they can engage deeply with the topics in the Japanese context and critically assess previous writings. They will also conduct independent research on a topic of their choice for the final research paper (upon consultation with the instructor) and will make a presentation on the topic. In the writing process, students will deepen their skills in choosing bibliographic tools, in finding and evaluating authoritative sources, and organizing and properly formatting a research paper.

BTMM 3890 (801) TUJ Film Festival

Work on the TUJ Film Festival.

Japanese 3010 (801) Japanese Communication and Culture II

This course focuses on more Pragmatics (the use of language in the real world).

Lib Arts 2010 (801) International Career Strategies

The aim of this course is to help students develop a professional mindset. It is designed to explore the career competencies and strategies that are necessary to confidently and successfully transition from college life to the workplace or graduate school. Emphasis is placed on developing the skills necessary in an international career. Participants will use these skills throughout their working life as professionals, managers, executives, or entrepreneurs. This is not a lecture course. It is an interactive workshop giving business majors, in particular, a chance to develop and realize their career potential through exploring career options, preparing a strategy to launch a fulfilling career and improving written and oral presentation skills. The course should increase the student's ability to: Present professionally (in writing and in person), realistically assess talent and job potential, think critically and creatively about career options and start an international or domestic career search.

Pol Sci 4896 (801) The Democracy Dilemma: Transition to Democracy (and Back Again) in Comparative Perspective

Between 1974 and 1990, at least 30 countries began transitioning to democracy, doubling the number of democratic governments in the world. As the Cold War ended and Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, many politicians, and even some scholars, proclaimed that Western-style democracy had 'won'. It was, in the words of Fukuyama, the 'end of history'. But 20 years later, while some countries have moved along the path to democracy, many others have got stuck along the way. Why do some countries make the transition to democracy while others backslide into authoritarian forms of rule? What internal and external factors promote or inhibit democratic consolidation? Can democracy be imposed from outside? In seeking to answer these questions, this course examines the key elements of three historic 'waves' of democratisation. Students will analyse the interaction of variables such as political culture, civil society, political institutions, civil-military relations, ethnicity and nationalism, and the international environment as determinants of democratisation. Case studies will draw on examples from Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia, the former Soviet Union and Southern and Eastern Europe. The course will conclude with analysis of the future prospects and challenges for democracy and democratization in countries around the world.

Psych 3620 (801) The Psychology of Groups

Group performance, processes, and dynamics are the focus of this course. Research methodology, group formation, group structure, cohesion, social influence and power, conflict, individual and group performance, decision making, and inter-group relations are among the topics covered. Special attention will be placed cross-cultural psychological research concerning groups.

Psych 4696 (801) Social Identity: Exploring Connections Between Individual, Groups, and Contexts

This course examines Social Identity Theory (SIT) and research and literature related to SIT. We will examine different social identities - ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class - to understand interrelationships between individual, groups, and contexts, and the impact of social identities on the choices and actions people make and take. This course is designed to assist students in (1) exploring the development of a major theory in social psychology and the scope of its application, as well as newer interpretations advanced by later research, (2) understanding and critically analyzing literature related to SIT, (3) writing analytical research papers related to SIT. The course is student-centered, and students are required to participate actively and take the lead in class seminars and discussions.

Arch 3070 (801) / As St 3030 (801) Architecture and Urbanism in Japan

This course will provide students a survey of architecture and urbanism in historic and contemporary Japan. Japan's contemporary built environment is a result of a rich and complex architectural history. We will examine individual buildings and urban landscapes, considering the economic, socio-political, geographic and technological forces that have shaped the built environment of Japan from the earliest Shinto shrines to the seismic resistant skyscrapers of today. The traditions of Japanese architecture and urbanism will be studied chronologically as well as thematically, with special attention to major themes, including the aesthetics of Wabi, the "Modernism" of Kyoto's Katsura Villa, the importance of craftsmanship, the legacy of Meiji era "westernization," the post-war Metabolist movement, and growing contemporary interest in sustainable architecture, particularly since the disasters of March 2011. The course will examine the varied international influences on, and of, Japanese architecture, from Imperial China to Frank Lloyd Wright to the many "star" architects (SANAA, Fumihiko Maki, Kengo Kuma etc.) working internationally today. While the class will be a theoretical and analytical complement to the Architecture Design Studio, other students may also sign up for the class. The course will give all students a fuller appreciation of contemporary architecture practice and design by grounding them in the history and theory of Japanese architecture. The course will consist of lectures, readings, class discussions, student presentations as well as class trips to places of architectural note in Tokyo and surroundings.

Art Hist 2097 (801) / As St 2096 (801) Japanese Art and Visual Culture: 1945 to Present

This course examines the development of Japanese art and visual culture in the postwar period. Instead of providing a linear history of formal developments, this course thematically explores some of the major theoretical issues that surround contemporary Japanese art and visual culture. Critical readings will provide social, historical, and political contexts for understanding a broad range of visual cultural practices including art, fashion, design, graphic novels, and films. Through the course we will consider topics such as the question of modernity and the West in Japanese art; underground art and political dissent in the 1960s; the rise of mass culture and design; roles of gender, cuteness, and fantasy; and representations of otherness and the myth of homogeneity.

Art Hist 2800 (801) / As St 3000 (801) Art and the City: Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s

This course looks at Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s as a site of political negotiation, creative explosion, and new subject formations. The staging of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 officially signaled the end of the post-war period for Japan. While so-called miraculous economic growth was accompanied by conservative ideals such as that of the homogenous middle class and cotemporaneous urban developments reorganized the urban environment to promote market activity at the exclusion of others, the 1960s and 1970s were also extremely productive decades for Tokyo, which became a stage for artistic, political, and sexual experimentation. Alongside increased political activism and direct action taken by students and workers, new developments in street performances, experimental theater works, graphic design, experimental cinema, and underground comics would irrevocably change the course of Japanese visual culture. Paying attention to the thick connections between artists working in various media and the socio-political contexts of the period, we will explore how the city both shaped the artists and their works and served as their subject. Some of the artists we will consider are the Fluxus-associated art collective Hi Red Center, artist Yoko Ono, graphic designer Yokoo Tadanori, and dramatist/filmmaker/poet Shuji Terayama.