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 Culture

This course is designed for second and third year MJSP students to learn more about Japanese society and culture, primarily through ethnographies of Japan, and to learn how to critically analyze ethnographic writing and produce a piece of their own. Each week we will focus on one ethnography of Japan, reading and analyzing two or three chapters of each book. Please note that this course is designed for MJSP students who have already taken introductory courses in Japanese society and culture.

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

 

Weekly Schedule (Fall Semester 2017):

1. Introduction to the Course (Sept 28th 2017)

There are no required readings for this week.

2. Fieldwork and Ethnographic Writing (Oct 5th 2017)

Required reading:

1. James Clifford, “Introduction: Partial Truths” in Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University of California Press, 1986, pp. 1-26.

2. Ian Reader, “Chance, Fate and Undisciplined Meanderings: A Pilgrimage through the Fieldwork Maze” in Doing Fieldwork in Japan, Theodore Bestor, Patricia Steinhoff and Victoria Lynn Bestor (eds.), University of Hawai’i Press, 2003, pp. 89-105

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

3. Wrapping Culture (Oct 12th 2017)

Required reading: Wrapping Culture, by Joy Hendry. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 6.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class

4. Food Cultures (Oct 19th 2017)

Required reading: Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World, by Theodore C. Bestor. Selected Readings: Chapters 1 and Chapter 4.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

5. Reading Week (Oct 26th 2017)

No required reading.

6. Popular Cultures and Consumption (Nov 2nd 2017)

Required reading: Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination, by Anne Allison. Selected Readings: Chapter 1 and Chapter 7.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

7. Sports Cultures (Nov 9th 2017)

Required reading: Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports, by Aaron Miller. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 5.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

8. Fieldwork for Ethnographic Essay (Nov 16th 2017)

No required reading

9. Drinking Cultures (Nov 30th 2017)

Required readings: Japan, Alcoholism, and Masculinity: Suffering Sobriety in Tokyo. by Paul Christensen. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 7.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

10. Rural Cultures and Migration (Dec 7th 2017)

Required reading: Intimate Encounters: Filipina Women and the Remaking of Rural Japan, by Lieba Faier. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

11. Culture and Illness (Dec 14th 2017)

Required reading: Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress, by Junko Kitanaka. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 6 and Chapter 8.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

12. Fieldwork and Ethnographic Essay Preparation (Dec 21st 2017)

No required reading

13. Cultures of Aging (Jan 11th 2018)

Required reading: Encounters with Aging, by Margaret Lock. Selected Readings: Prologue and Chapter 1.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

14. Cultures of Death (Jan 18th 2018)

Required reading: Final Days: Japanese Culture and Choice at the End of Life, by Susan O. Long. Selected Readings: Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 7.

Discussion Questions due via email by 11pm the Tuesday before class.

15. Course Review and Feedback (Jan 25th 2018)

No required reading.
Due: Book review or Ethnographic Essay