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 2018):

1. Introduction to the Course (Sept 27th 2018)

There are no required readings for this week.

2. Fieldwork and Ethnographic Writing (Oct 4th 2018)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class.

3. Wrapping Culture (Oct 11th 2018)

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

Discussion Questions due via email by 5pm the Tuesday before class

4. Ethnographic Essay Formulations (Oct 18th 2018)

No required reading.

5. Reading Week (Oct 25th 2018)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class

6. Drinking Cultures (Nov 1st 2018)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class.

7. Popular Cultures and Consumption (Nov 8th 2018)

Required reading: Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific, by Christine R. Yano. Selected Readings: Introduction and Chapter 4.

Discussion Questions due via email by 5pm the Tuesday before class.

8. Fieldwork for Ethnographic Essay (Nov 15th 2018)

No required reading

9. Sports Cultures (Nov 22nd 2018)

Required readings: Sport and Body Politics in Japan by Wolfram Manzenreiter. Selected Readings: Introduction, Chapter 4 and Chapter 6.

Discussion Questions due via email by 5pm the Tuesday before class.

10. Rural Cultures and Migration (Nov 29th 2018)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class.

11. Culture and Illness (Dec 6th 2018)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class.

12. Cultures of Aging (Dec 13th 2018)

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

Discussion Questions due via email by 5pm the Tuesday before class.

13. Essay Peer Reviews (Dec 20th 2018)

No required reading.

14. Cultures of Death (Jan 10th 2019)

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 5pm the Tuesday before class.

15. Course Review and Feedback (Jan 17th 2019)

No required reading.
Due: Ethnographic Essay or Book review, by Sunday January 20th at 5pm.