Fall 2014 Topical Courses

Last update: September 8, 2014

Art Hist 2610 (801) Art and the Everyday

In the 1960s, many artists sought to blur the boundaries between life and art with new genres of art such as "happenings," "events," and "environments." Since then, artists have continued to focus on the ordinary, the trivial, and the unnoticed as both subject matter and sources of inspiration. This course covers key theoretical writings on the everyday by critics and philosophers such as Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Maurice Blanchot and considers different artistic approaches taken by such artists as varied as Dan Graham, Martha Rosler, and Rikrit Trivanija to address similar themes. Throughout the course, we will consider why artists and theorists have paid so much attention to the everyday when by definition it is the very aspects of life that tend to be overlooked. Particular attention will be paid to the potential of the everyday as revolutionary site and the uses of art as a way to create interventions in and otherwise critique everyday life.

As St 2000 (801) Manga and Anime in Japanese Popular Culture

The rich and varied world of manga (comics) anime (animation) has produced some of the most important cultural products to appear in Japan in the postwar period, and has established itself as a part of global popular culture. Students will learn to critically examine the themes and representations in works in relation to the historical and socio-cultural contexts of postwar Japan, in order to gain insights into how and why it has gained global significance as a subculture. Through the lens of popular culture and its most devoted fans, the course will examine various issues in Japanese society, running the gamut from race, class and gender to nature, technology and the human. Topics include the art historical origins; the variety of genres and their relation to social and technological development; the birth and evolution of the otaku subculture; the relation of manga and anime to games, TV, cinema and toys in contemporary Japan. Students will view manga and anime both inside and outside of class. The course adopts a hands-on approach, offering guided excursions into areas including Akihabara, Nakano and Ikebukuro. Artists, critics and industry insiders will also visit the class to share their insights. Students will conduct independent research on some aspect of manga and anime in Japanese popular culture, present their finding to the class and submit a final paper.

Japanese 1003 (801) Oral Intensive I

A bridge between beginning and intermediate Japanese levels, this course emphasizes vocabulary building and the use of spoken Japanese through situational conversational practice. Tests will be in the forms of listening and reading comprehension and structured interviews. An ability to read and write hiragana and katakana is required, as is a mastery of most basic grammatical rules.

Japanese 2003 (801) Oral Intensive II

A bridge between intermediate and advanced Japanese levels, this course focuses on vocabulary acquisition in a variety of conversational situations. Throughout the semester, several vocabulary quizzes and structure tests will be given, while the final exam will be in the form of interviews. Students are required to complete one project involving various communication activities outside the classroom. Note, the course uses different materials and works on different topics every semester and thus is repeatable. Students need prior written permission from the instructor to repeat.

Japanese 3000 (801) Japanese Communication and Culture I

This course is designed to enhance students' understanding of language use in cross-cultural situations. By comparing language use by Japanese people and people from other cultures in real life situations, the course will explore how communication styles and interactional patterns are culture-dependent, which, hence, may cause misunderstandings in cross-cultural communications. The course will particularly focus on communication styles, speech acts, such as request and refusals, and politeness. It will also touch upon language use by Japanese language learners, their identity construction in Japanese, and native speakers' perceptions toward language learners.

Japanese 4196 (801) Society and Culture

Seminar in Japanese and Japan is a capstone course that builds on the solid foundation of advanced linguistics skills, socio-cultural knowledge, and critical thinking that students have acquired. It also marks their final stage of Japanese language learning. Three topics (Topic I: Socio-cultural, Topic II: Business, Topic III: Literature) are offered alternately and designed to allow students to select and pursue a topic of their interest. In the courses, students will learn to read critically and properly appreciate the original texts of a selected topic. While reading about socio-cultural aspects, topics/issues in business, or literature, students will further their understanding of Japanese language.

Lib Arts 2020 (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 4320 (801) The International Affairs of Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus

The Soviet Union may be long gone, but the countries that emerged from its collapse in 1991 remain highly significant in international affairs. This course traces the political and economic development of these independent states and highlights their continued difficulties in managing relations amongst themselves and with the world more generally. Inevitably, most attention in this regard goes to Russia. The largest country in the world, Russia dominates the Eurasian landmass and, via its veto in the UN Security Council and enormous nuclear arsenal, it retains a leading role in international politics. In discussing its global standing, this course places particular emphasis on Russia's status as an "energy superpower", its perception in the West as an unscrupulous spoiler, and its recent decision to reorient the country towards the Asia-Pacific. A further key topic is Russia's plan to create a Eurasian Union, a project condemned by the US as "a move to re-Sovietise the region". Away from Russia, this course has three further areas of focus. The first is Central Asia, where vast natural resources have encouraged the West and China to challenge Russia's hegemony. The second is the Caucasus where the 2008 Georgia-Russian war and the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan have left an explosive legacy. Lastly, there is Eurasia's western fringe where the people of dictatorial Belarus and politically unstable Ukraine struggle to determine whether their future lies with Europe or Russia.

Pol Sci 4896 (801) Contentious Politics and Social Movements

This seminar examines how ordinary citizens attempt to influence political decision-making in national and global politics. Citizens may organize street demonstrations, join political strikes, occupy buildings, and start hunger strikes. They also can use more contentious and violent forms of protest and resistance such as insurgencies and armed rebellions. In this seminar, students will study different modes of protest, passive or active, collective or individual, through a discussion of theories of contentious politics and social movements. Students will be exposed to various case studies ranging from revolutions in the 20th century to the Arab Spring in the 21st century. By the end of the semester, students will write a research paper on a specific case of contentious politics or social movements.

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.

As St 2096 (802)/FMA 3696 (801) Contemporary Japanese Cinema and Anime

In this course, we will study contemporary Japanese cinema and anime (1984 to the present), and discuss relevant works of film/anime analysis. This course is the third in a series, continuing from a survey of classical and postwar Japanese cinema in previous semesters. Through screenings and discussion of exemplary works by eleven different directors, we will explore how contemporary Japanese film and anime have represented society, youth, technology, violence, the future, the nation, socio-political conflict, and love. Beyond situating these works in their historical and cultural contexts, this course will prepare you to productively engage with analytical concepts such as: criticism; form; narrative; genre; ideology; space; national cinema; mass vs. subculture; and media convergence.

Hist 4696 (801)/As St 4096 (801) The Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia

A focus on Japan's occupation of Southeast Asia between 1942 and 1945 and related topics. Designed primarily for history majors, this course emphasizes research and writing skills. Seminar presentations and a research paper are required.

Wom St 3000 (801)/Psych 3620 (801)/As St 3000 (801) Prejudice and Discrimination in Japan

Japan is a country where discrimination and prejudice towards certain groups are not really visible to the public or part of public awareness, even for the very groups that discriminate against others. However, Japan has been going through social, economic, and institutional transitions which highlight the experience of groups that suffer discrimination and prejudice. This course focuses on how certain groups in Japan experience discrimination and prejudice - groups such as women, people with infectious diseases, foreign workers and residents, ethnic minority groups (buraku, ainu, zainichi), and people with physical and mentally disabilities. The course analyzes the nature of existing discrimination and prejudice from psychological perspectives and theories.

Wom St 3000 (802)/Psych 3620 (802)/As St 3000 (802) Intercultural Marriage

This is an introduction to the major social and psychological aspects of Japanese-Western intercultural marriage. A brief historical introduction covers relevant aspects of general Japanese-Western interaction in history, as well as present-day Japanese attitudes towards Westerners (and vice versa). Different phases of reciprocal adjustment will be discussed, as well as the salient social and psychological reasons for potential conflicts in an intercultural marriage. Major factors are: differences in customs and values, male and female role expectations, living conditions, the role of the in-laws, medical matters, language, religion, politics, communication problems, need for friends, finances, social class. When raising their children, interculturally married parents may be challenged by differing attitudes towards being a father and a mother, education; and the children's feeling that they are "different" from other children. Despite many problems, intercultural marriage can be a tremendous positive challenge, which offers many chances for greater personal growth and deeper human and cultural understanding.