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Syllabus

Syllabus

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Syllabus

  1. 1. Spring 2017 1 Japanese Society II: Contemporary Japan Instructor: Robert Croker Course Description: The purpose of this course is to provide a broad overview of life in Japan in the early twenty-first century. The course focuses on socialization or ‘processes of becoming,’ such as how a child learns to ‘become Japanese’ at home and at pre-school, the educational and social processes that shape a young person’s life, and how Japanese people learn to play ‘appropriate’ roles as ‘shakai-jin’. It also explores how gender is ‘performed’ in Japan, detours into popular culture, then focuses on the experiences of becoming old in the world’s oldest society before concluding with a look at ethnic diversity in Japan. By the end of the course, you should have developed a deep sense of what life is like in contemporary Japan. At the beginning of each class, the instructor will provide a short overview lecture about that week’s topic, augmented by video and other visual media; occasionally, guest speakers will also come in to talk about their field. Then, in small groups of three or four students, each of you will lead a discussion about one reading that you have read for homework and prepared a summary of; you will also participate in discussions lead by other students about their readings. Japanese students will join us each week as ‘cultural guides’ to share their perspectives and to answer your questions about contemporary Japanese culture and society. At the end of each class there will be a class discussion or debate. Your thoughtful, active participation throughout the course is expected. Course Goals: You will understand: how Japanese people learn to ‘become Japanese’ how Japanese people ‘perform’ being Japanese underlying cultural understandings, expectations and beliefs basic sociological and anthropological theories of society and culture the cultural diversity of Japan Course Schedule: 1. life cycle rituals in Japan – from before birth to long after death (January 31) Rupp, K. (2003). Gift-giving in Japan: Cash, connections, cosmologies. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. (Ch. 3: Life Cycles) 2. seasonal and other rituals in Japan – a peek into modern life (February 14) Rupp, K. (2003). Gift-giving in Japan: Cash, connections, cosmologies. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. (Ch. 4: Seasonal cycles.) Kawano, S. (2005). Ritual practice in modern Japan: Ordering place, people, and action. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. (Ch. 2: Embodying moral order). 3. Japan in the 21st century – a rapidly changing society (February 15) Allison, A. (2013). Precarious Japan: Chronicles of the New World Encounter. Durham, NC: Duke University. 4. ways of seeing Japan – Japanese culture or Japanese cultures? (February 21) Sugimoto, Y. (2010). An introduction to Japanese society y (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Ch. 1: The Japan Phenomenon and the Social Sciences; Ch. 2: Class and Stratification: An Overview; Ch. 3: Geographical and Generational Variations) 5. becoming Japanese at home – experiencing amae in the uchi (February 28) Holloway, S. D. (2010). Women and family in contemporary Japan. Cambridge University Press. (Ch. 3 ‘What is a wise mother?’, Ch. 7 ‘Shitsuke: The art of child rearing’) Hendry, J. (2012). Understanding Japanese society (4th edn.). Routledge. (Ch. 2 ‘The house and family system’, Ch. 3 ‘Socialisation and classification’)
  2. 2. Spring 2017 2 6. becoming Japanese at pre-school and primary school – learning (to be) in a group (March 7) Tobin, J., Hsueh, Y., & Karasawa, M. (2009). Preschool in three cultures revisited: China, Japan, and the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Ch. 3: Japan). Cave, P. (2007). Primary school in Japan: Self, individuality, and learning in elementary education. London: Routledge. (Ch. 2: Groups and individuals at primary school). 7. being a Japanese man – herbivore men: challenging hegemonic masculinity (March 14) Deacon, C. (2012). All the world's a stage: Herbivore boys and the performance of masculinity in contemporary Japan. In B. Steger & Koch, A. (Eds.) Manga girl seeks herbivore boy: Studying Japanese gender at Cambridge. Zurich: Lit Verlag. 8. modern male life – corporate warriors in the (1LDK) kitchen (March 28) Dasgupta, R. (2003). Creating corporate warriors: The "salaryman" and masculinity in Japan. In K. Lowie & M. Low (Eds.) Asian masculinities: The meaning and practice of manhood in China and Japan. London: RoutledgeCurzon. Hidaka, T. (2011). Masculinity and the family system: The ideology of the 'Salaryman' across three generations. In R. Ronald & A. Alexy (Eds.) Home and family in Japan: Continuity and transformation. London: Rutledge. Mathews, G. (2014). Being a man in straightened Japan: The view from twenty years later. In S. Kawano, G. L. Roberts, & S. O. Long (Eds.) Capturing contemporary Japan: Differentiation and uncertainty. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. 9. modern female life – (un)bounded by tradition (April 4) Nakano, L. Y. (2014). Single women in marriage and employment markets in Japan. In S. Kawano, G. L. Roberts, & S. O. Long (Eds.) Capturing contemporary Japan: Differentiation and uncertainty. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (2012). Housewives of Japan: An ethnography of real lives and consumerized domesticity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (Ch. 3: On ‘naturally’ becoming housewives). Holloway, S. D. (2010). Women and family in contemporary Japan. Cambridge University Press. Ch. 9: Balancing work and family life). 10. becoming old in Japan – gateball and diapers (April 11) Traphagan, J. W. (2000). Taming oblivion: Aging bodies and the fear of senility in Japan. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. (Ch. 7: Boke and the disembodiment of social values). Hamaguchi, T. (2011). Family conversation as narrative: Co-constructing the past, present, and future. In Y. Matsumoto (Ed.) Faces of aging: The lived experiences of the elderly in Japan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Bethel, D. (1992). Alienation and reconnection in a home for the elderly. In J. Tobin (Ed.) Re-made in Japan. New Haven: Yale University Press. 11. exploring diversity in Japan – long established minorities (April 18) Siddle, R. (2011). Race, ethnicity, and minorities in modern Japan. In C. L. Bestor, T. C. Bestor, & A. Yamagata (Eds.) Routledge handbook of Japanese culture and society. London: Routledge. Siddle, R. (2009). The Ainu. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. Neary, I. (2003). Burakumin at the end of history. Social Research 70(1), pp. 269-294. Neary, I. J. (2009). Burakumin in contemporary Japan. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. Allen, M. (2009). Okinawa, ambivalence, identity, and Japan. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. Weiner, J., & Chapman, D. (2009). Zainichi Koreans in history and memory. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. [additional resources]
  3. 3. Spring 2017 3 Sugimoto, Y. (2010). An introduction to Japanese society (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Ch. 7: ‘Japaneseness’, ethnicity, and minority groups). Lie, J. (2001). Multiethnic Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (Ch. 4: Modern Japan, multiethnic Japan). Bondy, C. (2015). Voice, Silence, and the Self: Negotiations of Buraku Identity in Contemporary Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center. Hankins, J. D. (2014). Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan. Oakland: University of California Press. 12. modern multiethnic Japan (April 25) Murphy-Shigematsu, S. (2000). Identities of multiethnic people in Japan. In M. Douglas & G. S. Roberts (Eds.) Japan and global migration. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. Tsuda, T. (1998). The stigma of difference: The structure of prejudice and "discrimination" towards Japan's newest immigrant minority. Journal of Japanese Studies 24(2), pp. 317-359. Tsuda, T. (2009). Japanese-Brazilian ethnic return migration and the making of Japan’s newest immigration minority. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. Russell, J. (1991). Race and reflexivity: The black Other in contemporary Japanese mass culture. Cultural Anthropology 6(1), pp. 3-25. Russell, J. G. (2009). The other other: The black presence in the Japanese experience. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. Liu-Farrer, G. (2009). Creating a transnational community: Chinese newcomers in Japan. In Weiner, M. (Ed.) Japan’s minorities: The illusion of homogeneity. London: Routledge. 13. exploring your Japan – students’ own topics (May 2) Students will choose their own topic to lead a discussion about. The instructor will provide some resources; students will also be able to find their own. Each student will be expected to read two book chapters or academic articles. 14. final written examination (May 9) This 2-hour written exam will focus require students to write three essays on topics that have been covered in the course. Study Time (outside class): To prepare for each class, read one of the assigned readings and create a summary and discussion points or questions – failure to do so will be considered an absence, as you have a responsibility to the other members of your discussion group to be fully prepared. At the end of the semester, prepare for the final written test. Assessment: Weekly reading discussion points and questions 80% (8 readings, 10% each) (students must write a two-page report on each weekly reading they are assigned. Students will submit 11 weekly readings; the scores for the top eight will be included) Final written examination 20% (May 9) Other Prerequisites: Ability to read academic English. Final written examination can be written in English or Japanese. Audit: Permitted with permission from the instructor. Language Used in Class: Principally English, but some groups choose to discuss in Japanese.

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