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Cornell University    
  Feb 17, 2018
Courses of Study 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ASIAN 2211 - Introduction to Japan

(GHB) (CA-AS)      
Fall (may be offered winter or summer). 3 credits. Letter grades only.

J.M. Law.

This course serves as a general introduction to the study of Japan in the humanities and social sciences. We focus on different themes that have dominated debates and conversations (primarily within Japan but also from outside, influencing internal understandings) about what constitutes Japaneseness. Our discussions examine how these themes are addressed in different academic disciplines. We will explore ways different groups of Japanese people (intellectuals, bureaucrats, business people, religious figures, etc.) have imagined themselves as members of a collectivity or nation, and how these ways of framing identity have been picked up, celebrated, contested and projected back onto Japan by people outside of Japan. We are particularly interested in the following frames of Japaneseness:  1) Japan the divine nation; 2) Japan the aesthetic country; 3) Japan the warrior nation; 4) Japan the industrious economic miracle; and 5) Japan the vanishing and/or hypermodern.  For each section of the course, we will explore how a particular frame is presented as “truth,” how the frame gets produced,  consumed and understood, and some of the implications of the frame as a mode of cultural self-knowledge. (GE)

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