Spring 2021 Topical Courses

Last update: September 27, 2020

ARTH 2096 (801) Eurasia: Connecting European and Asian Art and Culture

Even though we are living in a globalizing world, our common knowledge of cultures other than our own is limited. Since every culture has its own uniqueness, it can often cause misunderstandings during interpretation. Located on the eastern side of Eurasia, Japan can be seen as a reflection of Europe itself in many ways. By comparing the cultures and historical incidents of these parts of Eurasia, they echo resounding similarities. This class connects European and Asian cultures into the singular continental culture of Eurasia - through cross cultural comparisons of significant moments in history and places of significance. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to compare the social and historical contexts of Europe and Japan,

ARTH 2800 (801) Japanese Art Before and After WWII: National Identities in Modernization

This course introduces Japanese art from the early 20th century to present day, focusing on traditional aspects of Japanese cultures. Through this course you will study Japan’s relationship with modernization and its influence on arts and cultures such as; painting, sculpture, manga, movie, animation, performance art, and more. The artists who will be discussed in these courses will be; Hayao Miyazaki, Osamu Tezuka, Leonard Tsuguharu Fujita, Yasujiro Ozu, Yoko Ono, Yukio Mishima, and Yasumasa Morimura. Special attention will be paid to the historical context of Japan’s modernization, World War II, and their influences on Japanese contemporary art. The aim of this course is to help you develop literacy on Japanese modern/contemporary art and culture. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to understand the social and historical context of Japanese art and culture. Enabling you to create your own critical analysis’s on this particular field of study. Previous knowledge of Japan’s history or art is not required for this course.

ARTH 2800 (802) Introduction to Japanese Architectural History

Japan’s architecture and its cityscapes evoke endless fascination: how to understand the Zen teahouse next to the neon Seven-Eleven or an elegant Shinto shrine in the midst of Shibuya Crossing? Japan’s contemporary built environment is a result of a rich and complex history. This class will introduce the student to the history of Japanese architecture and urbanism. We will examine individual buildings and urban landscapes, considering the historic, economic, socio-political, geographic and technological forces that have shaped the built environment of Japan from the earliest structures to the seismic resistant skyscrapers of today. The course will proceed chronologically with a focus on certain themes such as the aesthetics of Zen, issues of craftsmanship, traditional materials and ecology, the legacy of Meiji era “westernization,” and Modernist interpretations of traditional architecture and urban forms. 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 (Maki, Ito, SANAA, Ban, Kuma etc.) working internationally today. The course will consist of lectures, group discussion and on-site classes in and around Tokyo.

ASST 2000 (801)/SOC 2130 (801) Risk Culture: The Politics of Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Nuclear Energy

As a global viral pandemic is transforming the world, the ways in which cultures institutionalize what constitutes acceptable parameters of risk has become increasingly evident. The COVID-19 pandemic is a transformative crisis, but it is only one instance of a larger process of how we calibrate perceived threat and attempt to impose a sense of normalcy in an increasingly precarious world. In Japan this was especially evident in the Tohoku disasters of 2011, when the largest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, a tsunami that took almost 20,000 lives and 3 nuclear reactors in meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear crisis grew to become the most expensive conjoined disasters in world history. This course examines major disasters such as the Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima nuclear accidents, global climate change and its associated effects (the Katrina Hurricane in New Orleans, flooding, wildfires, impact on vulnerable populations) and episodic but impactful disasters such as the Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion and the British Petroleum Deep Water Horizon oil spill as case studies to illustrate how risk is socially constructed and politically contended, and makes its way through public policy into institutional structures to profoundly affect our lives.

ASST 2030 (801) Japanese Civil Society: Development & Approaches to Current Issues

This course examines key factors influencing the development of civil society in Japan, the main challenges facing Japanese society today and how nonprofit NGOs deal with those issues. After reviewing the how the diverse socio-economic pressures have brought about opportunities and challenges for the development of civil society, the course focuses on approaches, specific issues and organizations using diverse approaches to meet the needs of targeted populations. Through the course we will consider topics such as the needs of marginalised populations, the roles of government and the private sector as well as policy change and implementation. The course will be hands-on and include group work, presentation, discussion and role-play activities. This course is for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of the work of local nonprofit organizations and current issues facing Japanese society.

ASST 3000 (801)/POLS 3520 (801) Korean Politics

This course is about the government and politics in South Korea. We will first take a look at the historical processes from the liberation and division of the Korean peninsula to the democratization and economic development of the South Korea and nuclear and economic challenges of North Korea. We will then survey the political institutions and groups that shape politics and policy making in South Korea. We will analyze how mechanisms of delegation, representation, and accountability work, and what authorities and constraints decision makers possess and face. We will also analyze the politics and political economy of policy reforms by focusing on several areas of policy making. Lastly, we will look at the current state and prospects of Japan-Korea relations with a special attention to the ways in which history and present-day political institutions shape the incentives and thus, behaviors of the major decision makers in each of the respective countries.

ASST 3030 (801)/POLS 3510 (801) 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.

ASST 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.

ASST 4096 (802) Environmental History of Modern East Asia

In this writing intensive course, we will explore the changing relationships between human beings and “nature” in East Asia from the late-sixteenth century to the present day. Even for students with a strong background in early modern and modern East Asian history will find that the historical terrain we will look at will appear different. This is because the methods we are going to use in this course are different that what are used in a typical history course. Using many different disciplinary perspectives, this class will take a look at the historical interactions between the human world (culture) and the nonhuman world (nature). You will find that distinguishing between where culture begins and where nature ends can be quite difficult. Some of the questions that we will be thinking about as we move along are: How has the land and ocean limited or enabled human settlement and development of Japan, China, and Korea? How have human relationships with terrestrial and maritime worlds changed over time? How do the relationships differ from place-to-place? Who ? or what ? has flourished or suffered as human beings have altered the world around them? How have valuations of “nature” changed over time?

CLA 2010 (801): Japan Inside and Out - Honors Seminar

Japan has long struggled to maintain its traditions and indigenous culture as it has assimilated foreign elements, alternate modes of thought and different forms of organizational structure into its institutions. This dynamic tension between Japan as it negotiates its place in an increasingly globalized economy has challenged Japan’s idealized image of itself at times in an insular mindset among more conservative factions in its government that delivered it to war and riven conflict with its Asian neighbors, but it has also generated a post-modern culture that defies simple categorization and is compelling in its complexity. We will study and discuss the portrayal of Japan in media, popular culture and academic discourses, allowing for reflection on globalization, identity politics and cultural differences. Honors students who have previously taken this class will be exposed to new material, as we expand the discussion from previous semesters to topical subjects such as the upcoming Olympics, Japan's response to the COVID crisis, immigration and civil rights, and the way in which Japan is adjusting to the challenges it faces economically and geo-politically in these unprecedented times.

CLA 2020 (801&802) 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.

CLA 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.

JPNS 2000 (801) Practical Japanese for Study Abroad Students

This course is designed to give Temple Study Abroad Program students the essential conversational and written Japanese necessary to negotiate their time in Japan. Lectures, assignments, field trips, and other activities will be designed with practical, day-to-day life in Japan in mind. This course is not part of the Japanese Language and Literature major, and students pursuing this major or more rigorous study of the language should register for the formal course sequence, beginning with 1001.

JPNS 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.

JPNS 3010 (801) Japanese for Job Hunting

Seeking employment (job-hunting) after university graduation in Japan is very unique process which requires long and careful preparation. Japanese for Job-Hunting is a Japanese language course that will focus on preparing students to purse careers in Japan after graduation, and the course has three main objectives. The first objective is to master the words and expressions, including the formal keigo phrases and conjugations, used in the job-hunting process. Students will come to understand what questions are typically asked in job interviews and what expression are appropriately used in answering these questions. Through becoming familiar with these expressions, students will build confidence in speaking Japanese in front of Japanese natives in formal situations. The second objective is to develop an application-ready resume and other preparation for job interviews. Students will explore career options based on self-analysis and try to strategically assess their talents and employment potential. Through frequent casual discussion practice, assessed group discussion, and mock interviews, students will develop the skills necessary to success in their job interviews. The third objective is to build networks both inside and outside of the university. Students will be required to talk to Career Office staff members and outside experts, conduct interviews, and attend career fairs for both experience and the formation of personal networks. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be both physically and mentally prepared to begin actual job-hunting in Japan.

JPNS 4196 (801) Japanese Society and Culture through Newspaper

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. This course focuses on reading on socio-cultural aspects of Japan by reading newspapers. Newspapers are one of the main sources of information to learn about the society’s present status, social and political problems, and perspectives for future. In this course, students will learn the most up-to-date information of Japanese society and develop their reading skills and comprehension by reading newspapers. To achieve those goals, the course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course will be devoted to developing reading skills and building lexicon necessary to understand newspaper articles as well as the stylistics and format characteristic of newspapers (e.g., the use of abbreviations and technical terms in the headlines and leads). In order to increase readiness for reading newspapers, students will read 5-7 short passages a day (with a complete vocabulary list) on a variety of topics. Students’ acquisition of new vocabulary and expressions will be tested on a daily basis. In the second half of the semester, students will read Japanese newspaper articles weekly. Each week, two articles will be chosen for a class reading followed by discussions. In addition, each student will choose an article for a weekly oral report. Through reading and class discussions, students are expected to gain in-depth understanding and analytical views of contemporary Japanese society and culture.

JRN 3701 (801) Journalism and Japan’s Geopolitical Impact on the World

Asia’s geopolitical impact on world affairs continues to expand in significance and tenure. What role do the press play in informing and deciphering the vast interaction of politics, business and culture? This course aims to introduce students to timely issues through attending real press conferences, discussion and practical journalistic writing. All students taking the course are given free student membership at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan and the Japan National Press Club.

POLS 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.

POLS 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.

POLS 4896 (802) 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.

PSY 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.

PSY 4696 (801) Cross-Cultural Themes in Psychology

The main focus of this capstone is a timely topic important to many fields in psychology, addressing a need for academic analysis of rapidly changing social and cultural interactions in the global context. The course will allow students to see and analyze the linkages between concepts, theories, research findings and professional applications from the cross-cultural perspective with special emphasis put on the contemporary psychological phenomena in Japan. This course also offers a comprehensive analysis of various clinical, social and cultural perspectives, related to globalization, international mobility, human relationships in public and private spheres, online psychology/virtual reality, cross-cultural psychopathology, etc. This capstone is particularly useful for students planning graduate work in psychology or considering studying/working overseas, and those who would like to develop the deeper understanding of multi-layered mechanisms, which underlie the cross-cultural phenomena in psychology. This is a writing-intensive course and students are required to explore relevant literature, critically analyze academic sources and findings, raise questions, and prepare an academic paper on their particular topic of interest. NOTE: This course is limited to psychology majors in their senior year.