Summer 2014 Topical Courses

Last update: May 23, 2014

As St 2000 (811) Special Topics in Asian Studies I: Manga in Japanese Popular Culture

The rich and varied world of Japanese manga (comics) represents some of the most important cultural production in postwar Japan, and an increasingly important part of global popular culture. This course offers a thematic study of manga as Japanese pop cultural texts, adopting an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of history, sociology, comic studies and more. In each class, a new genre, theme or creator of manga will be examined to give a valuable insight into key aspects of Japanese culture. Discussion will center on close readings of specific manga, supported by texts. Rotating groups of students will be expected to facilitate discussion. Taking advantage of our location in Tokyo, fieldtrips will be organized for students to experience manga culture. Students will conduct independent research projects on manga, write a final paper and present their findings to class.

As St 3000 (811) Special Topics in Asian Studies II: Anime in Japanese Popular Culture

The rich and varied world of Japanese anime (animation) represents some of the most important cultural production in postwar Japan, and an increasingly important part of global popular culture. This course offers a thematic study of anime as Japanese pop cultural texts, adopting an interdisciplinary approach. In each class, a new genre, theme or creator of anime will be examined to give a valuable insight into key aspects of Japanese culture. Episodes of TV anime and clips from animated films will be screened and discussed. Rotating groups of students will be expected to facilitate discussion. Taking advantage of our location in Tokyo, fieldtrips will be organized for students to experience anime culture. Students will conduct independent research projects on anime and write a final paper.

FMA 2670 (811) Topics in Film Study: Visual Music

Visual music refers to visual works that emphasize abstract musical qualities like rhythm, symmetry and shape, rather than plot. This has inspired composers to unify visual and sonic worlds using digital animation and computer music software. This course traces the development of visual music in film, graphic art and music from the Futurists at the beginning of the twentieth century through figures like Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Oskar Fischinger, Paul Klee, Stefan Wolpe and John Cage up to recent innovations in environmental sound. This class will also focus on music production and music/video integration using digital technologies. We will explore particularly algorithmic techniques of music production and video processing and will be working with software tools such as Pure Data for sound processing and interactivity, Gem for video work, and Logic or Cubase for sequencing, sampling, and editing. The students will present their final projects at the "Sound and Vision" concerts. No previous experience in computer programming is required.

Hist 3280 (811) Topics in American History: The History of Rock & Roll

In a 1970 Velvet Underground song, Lou Reed sang about Jenny who felt she was living a meaningless existence until "her life was saved by rock and roll." For many musicians and fans, rock'n'roll did indeed save their lives. When and why did this powerful new music emerge? What impact did it have on American society? How and why did this music change over time? We will explore these and other questions during the semester. This course will use a social history framework, so will focus on social, economic, cultural, political, and technological factors, and on the evolution of rock'n'roll. Among issues covered are the creation, distribution, and consumption of the music-including the crucial roles of musicians, DJs, music companies, and fans as well as foes. Also considered are the development of rock aesthetics and criticism, the cultivation of musicians' images, issues of race/gender/class, and the globalization of the music. As we examine rock'n'roll as a social/historical phenomenon we will listen to & study recorded examples to learn about its musical aspects: What are the musical roots of rock'n'roll, and what musics contributed to its early development? What characteristics of musical style have defined rock'n'roll music over the past half-century, and how have these changed through the years? You will learn how to listen to, understand and discuss the musical elements of rock'n'roll.

Japanese 1003 (811) Beginning Oral Japanese: 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 (811) Intensive Oral Japanese: 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.

ORGS 3000 (811) Topics in Organizational Studies: Technology in International Business

Explore the role of information technology as a business enabler and take a look at management information systems' impact on business models and society. Evaluate the organizational fit and suitability of various technologies and interpret the interaction between information technology, customers, processes, data, human resources, and the overall internal and external environment of international businesses. Understand the ethical challenges of information technology and explain the evolving role of management information systems in the organization, and the role and careers of MIS professionals.

Pol Sci 3510 (811) / As St 3030 (811) Special Topics: Research Preparation Seminar: Japan's International Relations

The Senkakus, "comfort women", TPP, and the Ospreys, these are just some of the most pressing issues in Japan's international relations. This course aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of such problems by providing a broad overview of Japan's most important international relationships. Particular emphasis is placed on the country's dealings with the United States, China, the two Koreas, and Russia, though attention is also drawn to relations with other regions and international organisations. In so doing, the topics of the regional balance of power, historical memory, and global trade patterns are all brought to the fore. As the focus of international politics continues to shift towards the Asia-Pacific region, this subject of Japan's place in the world is becoming of ever greater significance.

Pol Sci 4320 (811) Eurasian Politics-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.

Wom St 3542 (811) / Psych 3620 (811) / As St 3542 (811) Topics in Psychology: Women and Society in Japan

In this course we will examine the reciprocal relationship between societal expectations and women's responses to social, cultural, and political changes in Japanese society. We will analyze how socio-cultural and political changes shape women's roles in society and explore the roles of women in terms of motherhood, family, and work. We will also examine the situation of women from minority groups such as Buraku, Ainu, Zainichi, and foreign women in Japan, and explore why their voices are silenced in contemporary Japanese society. The course will also explore contemporary gender-related social issues, such as reproductive health and the rights of women, prostitution, trafficking in persons, and domestic violence.