2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Self and Culture: Studies in Japanese and American Literature and Cinema

Winter 2013 quarter

Harumi Moruzzi cultural studies, film studies, literature
Fields of Study
cultural studies, literature and moving image
Preparatory for studies or careers in
humanities, cultural studies and film studies.

This program is designed for students interested in cross-cultural exploration of the concept of self.

Modernity in the West established the concept of a human being as a thinking subject through Descartes’ seminal discourse in Meditations on First Philosophy . Since then, the concept of an autonomous, thinking and perceiving subject as the center of reality, as the source of truth, has been the dominant ideology in the West, particularly in the United States. With globalized communication and cultural exchanges, we have begun to question many ideas that have been taken for granted. The concept of self is one of these questioned ideas.   

It is often said that American and Japanese culture represent mirror images of human values. For instance, while American culture emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and self-autonomy, Japanese culture dictates group cohesion and harmony. Certainly, the reality is not as simple as these stereotypes indicate; nevertheless, this dichotomized comparative cultural frame presents an interesting context in which we can explore the concept of self. Thus, in this program we explore the concept of self through the critical examination of American and Japanese literature, cinema and popular media.

At the beginning of the quarter, students will be introduced to the rudiments of film technical terms in order to develop a more analytical and critical attitude toward film-viewing experience. Early in the quarter students will also be introduced to major literary theories in order to familiarize themselves with varied approaches to the interpretation of literature. Then, students will examine representations of individual selves and cultures in American and Japanese literature through seminars and critical writings. Weekly film viewing and film seminar will accompany the study of literature in order to facilitate a deeper exploration of the topics and issues presented in the literary works.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During