Emma Cook degree icon

Associate Professor

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Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University

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Feel free to contact me at:

cook [at] imc.hokudai.ac.jp




Ethnographies of Japanese Society

This course is designed for students to learn more about Japanese society through written ethnographies of Japan, and to learn how to begin doing fieldwork and producing ethnography themselves. Each week we will focus on one ethnographic study of Japan, reading and analyzing two or three chapters of each book. Students will also learn about ethnographic methods and put this knowledge into practice by conducting a short piece of fieldwork resulting in the production of an ethnographic essay.

All required readings are password protected and available for download. Please follow the directions given in class to access the readings.

 

Weekly Schedule (Not offered in 2016):

1. Introduction to Social Anthropology and Ethnography

There are no required readings for this week.

2. Ethnographic Research Methods

Required reading: Bernard, H Russell. 2006. Research Methods in Anthropology. AltaMira Press. Chapters 13-14

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

3. Ethnography: Fieldwork in Japan

Required reading: Bestor, Steinhoff and Bestor (eds.). 2003. Doing Fieldwork in Japan. Selected readings: Introduction, Chapter 6 and Chapter 19. [fieldwork, Japan]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

4. Project Preparation

No required reading

5. Ethnography: Japaneseness, Kinship and Migration

Required reading: Lieba Faier. 2009. Intimate Encounters: Filipina Women and the Remaking of Rural Japan. Selected readings: Introduction, Chapter 4, Chapter 5 [migration, kinship, Japaneseness]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

6. Ethnography: Education

Required reading: Peter Cave. 2007. Primary School in Japan: Self, Individuality and Learning in Elementary Education. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

7. Writing Ethnography

Required reading:

Roger Sanjek. 1990. ‘On Ethnographic Validity’ in Sanjek, R (ed.). Fieldnotes: The Making of Anthropology. Cornell University Press. Pp. 385-418

Mike Crang and Ian Cook. 2007. Doing Ethnographies. Sage Publications. Chapter 9: Writing through materials. Pp. 150-206.

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

8. Ethnography: Labour

Required reading: Tom Gill. 2001. Men of Uncertainty: the Social Organization of Day Laborers in Contemporary Japan. Selected readings: Introduction, Chapter 3 and Chapter 8 [work, gender]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

9. Ethnography: Gender, Work and Identity

Required readings: Dorinne Kondo. 1990. Crafting selves: Power, Gender, and Discourses of Identity in a Japanese Workplace. Selected readings: Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 [identity, selfhood]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

10. Review of Project Progress

No required reading

11. Ethnography: Disability

Required reading: Karen Nakamura. 2013. A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan. Selected readings: Chapter 1 and 2 [disability, mental illness]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

12. Ethnography: Religion

Required reading: John K. Nelson. A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine. Selected Readings: Chapters 1-4 and Chapter 20. [religion]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

13. Peer Review of Ethnographic Essays

No required reading

14. Ethnography: Aging

Required reading: Jason Danely. 2014. Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Contemporary Japan. Selected readings: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 [aging]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.

15. Ethnography: End of Life

Required reading: Susan O. Long. Final Days: Japanese Culture and Choice at the End of LifeChapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 7 [end of life]

Discussion Question due via email by 5pm the day before class.