Abstracts of Statement of Purpose & Implementation Plan
As a sociologist, I am fascinated by how people interact with each other and how our behaviors are constrained and enabled by the contexts in which we reside. Thus, I view my participation in the Japan Seminar as an opportunity not only to learn about a more diverse set of cultural practices, but also to examine how context-specific historical legacies shape social policies and cultural identities. My primary goal is to incorporate this learning into my teaching curriculum. Upon return and reflection, I hope to provide Introduction to Sociology students with a richer array of examples of how culture informs socialization and social thought, thereby allowing me to “expose” students— who might not choose to enroll in Asian studies courses— to Japanese culture. Because globalization and its consequences are major units of study in both Social Change and Political Sociology, I am interested in exploring to what extent mimetic isomorphism is evident in Japanese cities in order to improve these courses. I am also excited to visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto to observe the interplay between religious practices and tourism as I think such experiences will be valuable in injecting new life into discussions about the tension between traditional religious ideas and modernization/secularization in my Sociology of Religion course. Furthermore, no doubt my greater understanding of the Japanese response to and cultural framing of World War II will enhance discussions of the political/policy impacts of territorialism and aggression in my Political Sociology course. Although I do not expect to be able to do so immediately, I can also see my participation in the Japan Seminar being the first step towards developing a new course, such as the Sociology of Japan or the Japanese Welfare State, which more formally contributes to the Asian Studies program at Coe College.
Baldwin Wallace College
I am an associate professor of economics at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, and my fields of research and teaching interest include environmental economics, development economics, and game theory.
One of my research topics is the regional environmental competition and coordination between China and Japan. These two countries are linked through transboundary pollution, and can only resort to a “game” based on voluntary participation, thanks to a lack of a binding agreement between two governments and that no supranational authority exists to mandate the behaviors of either country in the region. This game is complicated, also thanks to the difference in political institutions and economic developing stages, as well as culture differentiation, historical issues, and geographical and geopolitical complication in this region. I have always been interested in how the past history and current relation between Japan and China affects the regional environmental cooperation today and in the future, but my lack of knowledge and experience in Japan have been the major obstacles. Thankfully, the upcoming trip to Japan—particularly our visit to Hiroshima, where hopefully I can get the chance to converse with local people—will provide great opportunities to enhance my research on this topic.
There is another research topic in my mind. China has often been criticized as its rapid economic growth is usually accompanied by degradation of environmental quality and lack of respect for its own culture and history. I am also very interested in how Japan can preserve its history and culture while growing its economy.
When I return from the trip, I plan to incorporate my new learnings into my teaching at BW, in both economics and Asian studies programs.
Theresa A. Donofrio
Participation in the 2016 ANFEP summer seminar in Japan will enable me to further develop my studies of place, space, memory, and violence while introducing me to new texts, cases, and topics to explore as I revise and develop course offerings in Communication Studies. The seminar’s emphasis on “Japan’s ghosts of imperialism and militarism in relation to the lived experiences of ‘history and memory’ as embodied by the nation’s major cities and visual cultures” promises to deepen and extend past work I have done on place/space, memory, and atrocity. My research draws upon literature from communication studies, memory studies, cultural studies, and media studies as I analyze the discursive strategies through which atrocities are understood and memorialized. My current research agenda examines how genocidal violence is conceptualized within popular discourses. Visits to sites such as the Hiroshima Peace Museum and Peace Park will enrich my current project by creating additional opportunity to study how U.S. acts of violence are interpreted, represented, and remembered.
In addition to contributing to my research, the 2016 ANFEP seminar in Japan will inform my efforts to create a new course for my department and offer programming for the campus community. I plan to utilize the content from this seminar to develop a new 400-level capstone course building upon my previous research on genocide to explore the representation of genocide in popular culture. Further, I intend to utilize this capstone class as an impetus for contributing to related interdisciplinary programming on violence, human rights, and social justice. By creating the space to work alongside other scholars invested in these topic areas and introducing seminar participants to new texts and case studies, the ANFEP summer seminar will improve my ability to both contribute to my department’s curriculum and advance my research program.
Warren Wilson College
As a sociologist who has been part of both Sociology/Anthropology department and Global Studies program, learning about Japanese cultural and social landscapes within both local and global contexts is crucial. Most of my courses, including general sociology and more specific courses include readings and discussions addressing global and intercultural issues. My participation in Japan ANFEP seminar will enable me to integrate what I learn into these courses and my other scholarly activities.
In the Southeast Asia course, I have included a section to discuss the ramifications of the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia during World War II. The Seminar will enable me to address this topic further and possibly add other relevant topics. I am also interested in learning the contemporary interconnections between Southeast Asian nations and Japan. Specifically, I would like to understand how Japanese youth cultures, including music, fashion, and films and have been globalized and infuse into other cultures, including those of Southeast Asia. I would like to incorporate these topics of globalization and transnationalism of Japanese cultures into my courses. Additionally, the questions on how Japanese manages to conserve and preserve their cultures while at the same time engages in transnationalism is an important topic I would like to learn more from the program.
The theme on Japanese expressive culture interests me. I am especially interested in looking at the intersection of expressive cultures and social inequality including questions such as who get memorialized, what is being presented in the museum and why. Connected to this theme is urban space and inequality, how a metropolis such as Tokyo represents a paradox of development and inequality. These are questions that I would like to learn and understand further in the Seminar.
Comparative Cinema Studies
University of North Carolina, Asheville
I believe the ANFEP 2016 Japan Seminar’s focus on incorporating Japanese culture, arts, history, and literary traditions into the undergraduate Asian Studies curriculum would allow me to be a more effective and inspiring educator, to serve our Asian Studies minor program better in terms of curricular development, student recruitment and retention, and academic diversity and sustainability, and also significantly broaden and enhance Asian studies impact across disciplines in our institution’s undergraduate curriculum of liberal arts education.
I also hope that my own specialization in comparative cinema studies, cultural studies, and identity politics bring insights to other participants and contribute to the interdisciplinarity of this seminar. I expect to gain a more in-depth and pedagogy-oriented understanding of contemporary Japanese studies in terms of emerging themes, formative artistic expressions, representative works, and how contemporary Japan embraces transnational globalization while it attempts to redefine tradition and reexamine history.
In order to incorporate the lessons of this experience at the Japan Seminar into existing and new courses, I plan to: 1) explore ways to further infuse Japanese art, culture, history, religion, and literature in the curriculum and meet UNC Asheville’s specific curricular requirements and institutional emphasis on critical thinking, cultural diversity, and sustainable learning; 2) seek opportunities to collaborate with faculty members from other departments/programs on campus for team-taught classes, and identify students who show scholarly potential and interests to conduct undergraduate research projects in Japanese and East Asian studies; 3) develop a more comprehensive core Asian studies minor curriculum; and 4) serve as a cultural ambassador by offering faculty development workshops on campus to promote communications among interested faculty members and build a campus community for the teaching of Japanese studies.
Philosophy and Religious Studies
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
There are several reasons for my interest in participating in the ANFEP Japan Seminar. The first one is directly linked with my current teaching responsibilities. The ANFEP Japan Seminar will help me gain personal experience that will enhance my ability to teach Japanese Religions (and culture, which is integrally related) in the classroom. I am also looking forward to being able to learn about the country together with other scholars, which will allow me to engage in relevant intellectual and pedagogical discussions, offering me an opportunity to think of the various ways in which I will incorporate what I learn into courses at my home institution. Finally, I am very interested in the lenses that the seminar will use to explore Japan. In particular, both Japanese Expressive Cultures and Narratives of History seem like intellectual and methodological approaches that will allow me not only to learn about Japan, but to approach my own study of other Asian cultures in a similar way.
As for the implementation plan, I am interested in teaching a new course on contemporary religion in Japan with a particular focus on how religion in Japan is adapting to the new social, political, and economic realities of the 21st century. The Japan seminar will allow me to experience first-hand some of these realities, and to look for ways in which contemporary religion in Japan can be explored in the classroom by using a multitude of intellectual and methodological approaches. Through using some of the ideas of the Spatial Dimensions unit, I will also design a seminar that explores the history and culture of Japan by focusing on specific natural or artificial structures, such as Mount Fuji, T?dai-ji, the Ise Grand Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine, etc. By focusing on these places, the students will be able to learn about the history, the culture, and the religion of Japan, while keeping them grounded in particular spatial structures.
As a Chinese politics scholar and Asian Studies teacher, I explore state-society relations in state-building and economic development, helping students make sense of the political changes in Asia over the past 150 years. My teaching approach is wide-ranging, connecting power struggles, interest articulation, and policy formation with historical narratives, political ideology, cultural changes and citizen mobilization in China, Japan and India. By helping me to understand citizenship and citizen narratives using the backdrop of Japanese urban space, enriched by historical explorations, attendance in the 2016 ANFEP Japan Seminar will complement my deep knowledge of China and enrich all of my classes. The cultural and historical exposure of the 2016 Japan Seminar will give me the tools to offer a China-Japan comparative political science course by enabling me to present challenges of state-building, society and citizenship of both China and Japan to students searching to understand citizens’ place in this globalizing world. Additionally, I will use the lenses of the ANFEP Seminar – spatial dimensions, expressive cultures and narratives of history – to teach a robustly interdisciplinary Asian Studies capstone seminar on Asian “Global Cities, Local Memories,” in the spring of 2017.
Kristi S. Multhaup
Memory is my academic passion. As a cognitive psychologist, I specialize in human memory in my research and teaching. The Global Cities, Local Memories seminar is exciting because it will deepen past efforts to broaden my perspective on memory, particularly cultural memory. Japan has cultural traditions very different from my own; contrasting cultural narratives can highlight where each is silent (e.g., the film Grave of the Fireflies shows suffering of Japanese people during World War II that is not highlighted in typical American narratives). Lessons from the seminar will influence both my research and my teaching. One of my lines of research is in autobiographical memory. A recent trend in the intersection of the literatures on autobiographical memory and on forgetting is the concept of “silencing.” Moreover, I am expanding my thinking to include the influence of cultural context on autobiographical memory. A simplistic understanding of Japanese culture as collectivist predicts that Japanese participants may recall more third-person (as if viewing oneself in a video of the original event) than first-person memories (as if viewing from one’s original perspective), whereas Western participants typically recall more first-person memories for relatively recent events. A UNC-Greensboro colleague has research out to a contact at Kyoto University on my behalf in the hopes I can use some ‘free time’ to discuss these ideas and a possible collaboration with a Japanese scholar. In terms of teaching, I hope that the memoirs and the readings we do about place will enhance my Life Stories seminar. In addition, I am co-developing a team-taught, multi-disciplinary cultural memory course that includes materials from the U.S., Russia, and Germany; this seminar will add an otherwise missing Asian presence in the materials and examples used in the new course.
Assistant Professor of International Studies
College of Charleston
The ANFEP Japan Seminar will coincide with my sabbatical which I plan to take in 2016-17 and use for development of new ideas for my research agenda and especially to develop new courses. My research background is in the comparative study of politics, primarily in South Asia and to a lesser extent in Western Europe. As such, I view this program primarily as an excellent opportunity to broaden my intellectual horizon and to benefit my teaching on Asia more broadly. I hope to use the seminar to gather ideas and artifacts which I will be incorporating into my teaching on Asia and on comparative cases of war, genocide and their respective memorialization. I am looking to re-design an existing course into or design a new course on cities as sites of globalization which would incorporate Tokyo as a case study. I also hope to further develop my understanding of how Japanese society and politics have dealt with the memory of war, Japanese victimization and the atrocities committed in the name of the Japanese Empire. I hope to be able to make use of the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and (possibly on my own) Ichigaya Memorial Hall in Shinjuku, Tokyo (the seat of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the location of Yukio Mishima’s failed coup attempt and ritual suicide). Insights into these aspects of Japan today would become part of a module on Japan within my International Studies capstone class on genocide.
Agnes Scott College
My participation in the ANFEP program will allow me to develop innovative pedagogies that cultivate comprehensive thinking and understanding of development. I plan to incorporate discussions and learning on social, political, cultural, institutional as well as economic changes in my Economic Development class. I’d like to use Japan as a case study showcasing the complexity of the development process.
Another factor that led to my application for this program is the benefit of incorporating East Asian growth experience in standard economic development materials because it differs from the path of many advanced economies in North America and Western Europe. In addition, the historic path of Japan’s development has important relevance to other developing countries.
I’d like to make Japan the center case study in my development class—not only illustrating main theories of development but also serving as the foundation of comparison and learning for other countries’ development issues. To teach theories of economic development, I plan to use Japan as an example to illustrate the theory of Stages of Growth—for example, the changes in Japan’s investment rate to transition from “preconditions for takeoff” to “takeoff” and then to “drive to maturity” and “age of high mass consumption.”
Japan can also be used as a good example to illustrate Lewis’s Structural Change Theory where we study the rapidly increasing agricultural productivity; shifts of labor from agricultural to industry; the development of banking and financial sectors; the steady growth of capital stock, education and skills; and the demographic transition from high to low fertility.
Japan also offers interesting perspectives on Neoclassical Counterrevolution Models, which promote free markets and minimum government interventions. While most people may view Japan’s economy as a market economy, closer examinations reveal a much more complicated picture.