HISTART 489-001

Japanese Society And Culture: An Ethnographic Approach

1509 NUB
TTh 4-5:30pm
3 Credit Lecture
Meets with ANTHRCUL 403.001

This is a multi-media seminar designed to introduce and explore key themes, metaphors, images, and patterns in and of modern Japanese society and culture through ethnography. We will review the emergence of Japan in the late-nineteenth century as an imperialist power and consider the country's ambivalent status in Asia as an anti-colonial colonizer. Our main focus however, is on postwar Japanese (1945-present) socio-cultural institutions. We will explore the operations of the sex-gender system in different contexts; concepts of childhood and adulthood; definitions of illness and wellness; minorities; and visions of robot-human coexistence. We will also explore and dismantle stereotypes of Japan (which are of Japanese and non-Japanese invention alike).

Requirements (and the basis for grades) include regular attendance and participation in the seminar, leading discussions, one 12-page research paper, and a 10-minute (powerpoint) presentation summarizing your research paper. Readings and assignments are listed in the Class Schedule below. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE SYLLABUS CAREFULLY AND NOTE DATES.

There are six required books. All other readings are posted on Canvas.

Danly, Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Contemporary Japan (2014)
Embree, Suye Mura: A Japanese Village (1939)
Frühstück, Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan (2017)
Miller and Copeland, Diva Nation: Female Icons from Japanese Cultural History (2018)
Fowler, San'ya Blues: Laboring Life in Contemporary Tokyo (1996)
Robertson, Robo Sapiens Japanicus: Robots, Gender, Family and the Japanese Nation (2018)