The following are some examples of courses offered by the East Asian Studies department at Dickinson College:
This course provides a survey of Japanese cinema from its early days to the present and places that development in its historical context. Within the overarching frame of history we will examine how Japanese cinema became a “national cinema” and what that means; how genre theory helps us approach “Japanese” genres such as samurai, yakuza and giant monster movies; how auteur theory was applied to the work of directors like Kurosawa and Ozu; and the role of Japanese cinema in the world.
Contemporary Japanese Society
This course is an introduction to the society and culture of modern Japan. We will examine such major social institutions in Japan as families, communities, workplaces, and belief systems. The impact of modernity on these institutions, the evolving relationship between roles, and popular culture will also be covered.
There are perhaps no more iconic figures in Japanese culture than the samurai and geisha. Popular as they are, many misconceptions remain about their roles throughout Japanese history. This course explores the lived experiences of samurai and geisha in Japan as well as the myths that have developed around them. Course materials draw on historical texts, ethnographic studies, and fictional depictions of samurai and geisha in film and media.
History of East Asia: China and Japan
An introduction to the classical order in China and Japan followed by a consideration of the impact of Western intervention and internal change from the 18th century to the present. Special emphasis on the interaction between China and Japan in this period.
Nature and the Environment in Japanese Literature and Film
This course explores the relationship between humanity and nature in Japanese literature and film. Though we will draw from earlier examples, the majority of the course will be focused on the modern era (post 1868). Some topics for exploration include: the role of animals in Japanese culture, nature as a reflection of the self, natural and industrial disasters, and nature in the imagination.