Interim 2012: A History of Japanese Culture and
Between 600 and 1868 AD, the literary, religious, architectural, artistic and culinary elements of Japanese civilization were created, refined, and re-invented in tandem with a number of reconfigurations of Japan's political structure. Over the course of these twelve centuries, before Japan's political and economic center shifted eastward to Tokyo, most major developments occurred in western Japan, and
threvolved around the imperial courts in and around Kyoto. By the early 17 C., when
Edo (Tokyo) became the seat of Japan's last feudal government, the best-known elements of the national tradition—physical, cultural, and political--had been largely established.
This interim course will immerse students in the aesthetic and political history of a nation which gave the world its first novel, Zen Buddhism, epic war poetry, samurai castles, sushi, and a number of internationally admired performance and plastic artistic traditions. Within Japan's sometimes elaborate, and sometimes austere cultural structures, distinct codes of conduct and governance also flourished, and have survived well beyond the passing of the old feudal orders. Through a combination of directed readings, language study, site visits to major monuments, participation in cultural demonstrations, and lecture/discussion classroom activities, students will gain a basic grounding in this most complex and storied history.
; Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of the chronology, guiding
ideals, and artistic elements of classical, medieval and early-modern Japan.
; Students will acquire the linguistic and proxemic skills to conduct basic
transactions in a Japanese setting, using a combination of Japanese and
; Students will learn to apply theoretical knowledge obtained from scholarly
sources to their own reflections upon and engagement with a living, dynamic
; Students will appreciate and demonstrate knowledge of the logistical,
linguistic, and infrastructural complexity of a society culturally and
geographically distant from their reference culture.
INDS 140 consists of three major components:
Part I: Activities will include: 6 hrs. of basic Japanese language training; lectures and readings on Japanese history and civilization; films and documentary about Japan customs and culture; pre-trip orientation and a pre-trip exam. These are conducted the two days on-campus before departure, and at select meeting times during the Fall 2011 semester (TBA).
Part II: Visits and tours of the major temples, shrines, gardens, monuments and natural vistas of Western Japan, with a concentration on Kyoto. Demonstrations and participation opportunities in: Zen Mediation; the art of Kimono; ceramics; paper-making; calligraphy; traditional martial arts; fine Japanese cuisine and tea ceremony.
Part III. Lectures, discussions, diary work and language practice during select evenings and afternoons during the stay in Japan. During these activities, students will be challenged to put their impressions and experiences into sociological context and strongly encouraged to reflect upon the relationship between civilization and history as elements of nation-making and as sources of personal edification. This component of the course includes a one-day excursion to Hiroshima.
Course Materials: "Conversational Japanese for Tourists" (course packet) Excerpts: Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters); Genji Monogatari (Tale of the Shining
Prince); Heike Monogatari (Chronicles of Heike Wars);
Chūshingura (Treasure House of Loyalty)
John Hersey: Hiroshima
Meiji Restoration/Sakamoto Ryōma packet of articles/encyclopedia entries
30% Exams (pre- and post-trip)
20% Journals (electronic or hard-copy, to be decided)
15% Language Quiz and Class Performance
15% On-campus in-class work on history and civilization
Note: The travel and activity itinerary for the in-Japan component of the course are subject to modification: seasonal availability, rates, and other details may entail some adjustments.