Fall 2015 Topical Courses

Last update: July 10, 2015

Art Hist 2096 (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.

As St 2096 (802)/FMA 3696 (801) Contemporary Japanese Auteurs

In this course, we will study contemporary Japanese cinema and anime, combined with some relevant works of film/anime analysis. As a general theme, we will interrogate the enduring concept of the auteur. Through screenings and discussion of exemplary works by eleven different directors—each of whom may be considered an auteur—we will explore how contemporary Japanese film and anime have represented social changes, inter-generational conflict, the effects of information technology on society, visions of the future, and interpersonal relationships. Beyond situating these works in their historical and cultural contexts, this course will prepare you to productively engage with analytical concepts such as: mise-en-scène; narration; genre; ideology; criticism; national cinema; subculture; and transmedia.

As St 3000 (803) 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.

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.

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.

Hist 3229 (801)/As St 3000 (804) Superpower America

This course traces the ebb and flow of the twentieth century effort to establish and institutionalize a new framework and set of norms for the international order based on U.S. leadership. Overlaying the narrative history of Presidential polices from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton is a number of interrelated themes, including: the rise and fall of the United States as a creditor nation; the tension between America's idealistic impulses and the perceived need to behave "realistically" in a frequently hostile environment; the impact of domestic influences on foreign policy; the emergence of bipolarism and Soviet-American antagonism; the challenge to bipolarism posed by the Third World and regional disputes; atomic diplomacy and the balance of terror; "existential deterrence" and arms limitation; crisis management and avoidance; and, finally, the end of the Cold War, the implosion of the former Soviet Union, and the implications of the Russian empire's collapse for restructuring the global system, reordering America's international priorities, and producing a national strategy that succeeds "containment." The assigned readings reflect an array of interpretations and approaches to the study of the history of U.S. foreign policy. Although no "formal discussions" are scheduled, students will be provided the opportunity and encouraged discuss freely their responses to and questions about these interpretations during every class. In additions, at least once each student will be required to present a succinct oral summary of the fundamental issues raised in the previous session, and time will be allotted to examine and dissect the distributed documents.

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 3000 (802) Introduction to Consecutive Translation for Non-Native Speakers of Japanese I

This introductory translation course is designed for advanced learners of Japanese whose language proficiency level falls somewhere between JLPT N1- N3 or equivalent. Students will be provided with in-class translation exercises to learn how to translate English from Japanese, and vice versa. Students need major coordinator's permission to enroll in this course.

Pol Sci 4896 (801) Foreign Policy Analysis

Whether ordering military strikes, funding opposition groups, or seeking to sign new trade deals, foreign policy decisions are some of the most momentous choices facing national leaders. However, what are the processes that cause decision makers to select one course of action over another? This is the key subject matter of Foreign Policy Analysis. This course introduces students to this sub-discipline of International Relations. It teaches them the field's history, as well as its main theories and distinctive "levels of analysis" approach. Having learned these basics in the abstract, students are then required to apply the methods of Foreign Policy Analysis to specific case studies to determine which causal factors were most important in the making of each decision. The case studies selected cover a range of time periods and geographical regions, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the atomic bombings of Japan, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, North Korean nuclear brinkmanship, and Russia' s annexation of Crimea.

Psych 3620 (802) East and West: A Social Psychological Comparison

This course is an introduction to the social psycholocial study of culture with a focus on the differences and similarities of eastern and western cultures. In this course we will explore the importance of culture on social behavior, take a look at how psychologists study cross-cultural differences, and then examine research on current issues including patterns of social behavior, communication, helping behavior, aggression, conformity, and intimacy, among others.

Wom St 3000 (801)/Psych 3620 (801)/As St 3000 (802) 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.