Spring 2016 Topical Courses

Last update: December 18, 2015

Am St 2120 (801) / As St 2000 (801) / Pol Sci 2000 (801) / Soc 2130 (801) Comparing the US and Japan: A Socio-political Analysis

"Comparing the US and Japan: A Socio-political Analysis" is a team-taught course that examines these leading 20th Century powers through the twin lenses of sociology and comparative political economy. Visitors to either America or Japan are immediately struck by dramatic visual, cultural, social and economic differences. Yet both are advanced-industrial, consumer-oriented capitalist economies with established (if dysfunctional and unpopular) democratic political institutions and deep concerns about competition from new economic powers. They share common social, economic and cultural problems such as an aging population, the assimilation of immigrants into the social fabric, and the nature of national history. Both are cultural power-houses, with mutual admiration among young and old alike. And above all, both nations combine a striking sense of national exceptionalism and an ambiguous relationship to the outside world. We ask to what extent they can they be compared, and what we can learn from those comparisons. What features do they share, and how do they differ? Are there common structural dynamics at work behind different institutional settings? How important are the ‘cultural’ differences about which so much is written? We begin with some theoretical considerations, on the utility of comparative social science methods and on what units of analysis—city, state, nation, ethnicity—are appropriate. Throughout the course we draw on our areas of expertise (politics, economy, culture, society) in sections of particular interest to students (inequality, crime, diversity, gender, protest, music, popular culture) to promote understanding of the two countries. We conclude with a broader discussion of how we can learn about our own countries by the study of others.

As St 2030 (801) Disaster Japan: Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of 3.11

The great East Japan Tohoku Earthquake of March 11, 2011 was among the greatest disasters in history and the direst social crisis in Japan in the post-war era. This course examines the events of 3.11, from the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami, Earthquake and nuclear crisis and the application of crisis management philosophies and procedures, to its influence on Japanese Civil Society, electoral politics and the reinvigoration of the anti-nuclear movement, and volunteerism in participatory politics.

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 the self/ 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.

FMA 3696 (801) Contemporary French Cinema

In this course, we will study contemporary French cinema alongside a diverse selection of critical texts. Through screenings, readings, and discussion of exemplary works, we will explore how French films have represented the nation, youth, the city of Paris, socio-political conflict, community, and love. Several of these films also consider Japan from a French perspective. Beyond situating these films 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; and mass vs. subculture.

FMA 4240 (801) Audio for Film and Video Production

An introduction to audio recording and editing for film and video production. Students will learn about the techniques and gear used for recording audio both in the field and studio settings, as well as editing systems to create soundtracks for film & video projects.

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 3010 (801) Japanese Communication and Culture II

This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the intersection between language and culture in Japanese society. The course will provide students with opportunities to address questions regarding Japanese communication styles and/or language use which they might have encountered in Japanese speaking communities and to recognize how Japanese language used in real life situations is diverse. The course will cover a wide range of topics that address language use and variations in Japanese society, such as language and gender, honorifics, dialects, the use of English, and so on. Students will be encouraged to share their own observations and thoughts of Japanese language and its speakers in class.

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.

Lib Arts 2030 (801) 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.

MSP 3890 (801) TUJ Film Festival

Work on the TUJ Film Festival.

MSP 3890 (802) Scoring Music for Media

In films, documentaries, instructional videos, commercials and more, music is a vital part of creating or enhancing specific moods desired by the films creators. Music composition for this industry is in itself a full time career. However, the film creator that understands first-hand what is entailed in composing or choosing music for film will have an advantage over many in being able to clearly decide and describe where and what kind of music would best serve to enhance the success of the film creation.

This course will teach some of the vital basics on how to either select pre-recorded music or create original music suitable. Also the differences between diegetic and non-diegetic music, tempos, tones, different moods and dynamics within certain styles of compositions and instrumentation will be explained for the ‘non-musician’ and musician alike in order to make innovative choices that fit the film maker’s vision. We will be exploring simple sound engineering using today’s software programs for recording original music using instrumental interface or direct input, manipulation of music with affects and the editing in order to interlink and sync the music to film. We will conclude the class with a music/film project.

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.

Psych 3620 (801) Body Image Disturbances Among Females in Contemporary Societies

In contemporary societies such as the US and Japan, increasing numbers of young females are suffering from negative body image. In this topics seminar, we will learn about body image and body dissatisfaction, how it develops and what it leads to, and unique cultural aspects of body image in various countries. In addition, we will examine the role of males, family, peers, and the media in development and maintenance of body dissatisfaction. Moreover, potential prevention and intervention techniques will be discussed.

Psych 3620 (802) Psychopathology in the Cross-Cultural Context

This course introduces the topic of cross-cultural psychopathology and offers the comprehensive analysis of various ways in which culture can serve to protect or put individuals at risk for developing certain psychological disorders, exploring ways in which cultural values and social phenomena contribute to defining the disorders of a population, and discussing cultural variables that shape how individuals with psychological disorders are treated in a society. Students will have the opportunity to read scholarly works and popular press that will serve as the basis for class discussions on various Western and Asian aspects of mental health and psychopathology. Some examples of the covered topics include: Why is suicide more prevalent in Japan than in the U.S.? Where are eating disorders increasing? Why is Prozac one of the most widely prescribed medications in the U.S.? Sex and mental disorders, as well as Culture related phenomena like: Karoshi (death from overwork), Kateinai (in-house divorce), Sodai gomi ("bulky trash" husbands), Toko kyohi (school refusal) and Futoko Ijime (bullying), Kateinai Boryoku (intra-family violence), Hikikomori (social withdrawal), and "Parasite Singles".

Psych 4696 (801) Psychology's Past, Present and Future

In this capstone course you will explore the history of psychology to gain a better understanding of a current topic or area in psychology and will forecast the direction of the topic/area in the future. Reading-centered lectures and discussions on the history of psychology will facilitate your understanding of the past contributions to your topic. You will independently review the literature for the historical, theoretical and empirical lineage of your chosen topic to understand the development of the topic/area across time and psychological subfields to date. Your multiply drafted capstone paper will focus on the theoretical, empirical and practical implications of your answer to the question "How has this topic/area developed historically, what is the status of knowledge and application today, and what are the future directions for theory, research, and application research in this area of psychology?"

Art Hist 2098 (801)/As St 2096 (802) Modern Japanese Art

This is a writing-intensive Art History course examining modern Japanese art from the early Eighteenth century to the present, a period marked by two watershed events: the collapse of centuries-old samurai feudalism and Japan’s defeat in the Second World War. The course begins by introducing Japan’s encounter with the West and the import of Western printed materials in the Edo period. These materials sparked immense interest among Japanese artists and intellectuals in the scientific approach to visual representation developed in the West. After the end of samurai feudalism in 1868, under the reinstated emperor, Japan intensified its effort to modernize itself to counter Western imperialism. Government-led modernization inevitably changed many aspects of the country and the life of its people. Japanese artists had to question and gauge their own artistic practice and style to cope with both internal and external factors. After the defeat in the Second World War, Japanese artists again struggled to find their voices in an increasingly globalized setting. Modern Japan is a contested space where long-lasting native traditions and newly imported foreign influences collide. The course covers the trajectory of modern Japanese art chronologically and explores the significant evolution and transformation that Japanese visual art has experienced against a backdrop of political and social upheaval.

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.