Menu

Culture and Society Course Subfield

Familiarize Yourself with New Cultures

For those of you who are interested in diversity and learning about how and why societies have developed different cultural backgrounds and identities, give this a look.

Introduction to Sociology
Sociology is the study of human behavior, social relationships, and societies. This course will introduce the "sociological perspective" as a tool for understanding the connections between an individual's everyday life and large-scale processes and structures within society. One main theme of the course is that individuals' lives and life chances are profoundly shaped and impacted by a great number of social forces and structures external to the individual, including history, economic systems, political systems and various hierarchies (social class, gender, race, etc.), many of which are often invisible to us.  
Introduction to Social Psychology
This course offers an introduction to the basic theories, and the empirical studies upon which the theories are based, of social psychology from a sociological perspective. At the core of social psychology is an effort to understand how social structures and psychic structures interact to produce social behavior. We will consider how social structures affect individuals, how individuals affect other individuals, and how individuals affect groups, or larger social structures. 
Sustainable Society
This course introduces students to theories of sustainability. Basic principles of sustainability are examined using the triple bottom line perspective: environment (planet), society (people), and economy (profit). Students will learn how sustainability impacts social well-being and development in a globalized world. Emphasis will be placed on how global businesses contribute to both the problems and solutions toward a sustainable future. International and Japanese news and case studies will be used as the basis for in-class discussions and analysis. Prior knowledge of the subject is not required. 
Comparative Culture
Global Sociology
Social Institutions are one of the key social structures that we study in sociology. In this course we will examine some of the main social institutions common in societies all over the world, in a comparative light. These institutions include the family, education, work, healthcare, political and economic systems, religion, crime and punishment, and even the nation state.  
Human Rights
This course introduces students to the emergence of global human rights and humanitarian practice. Following an introduction to human rights in international relations, students will examine the emergence of human rights systems at a global, regional, and local level with attention to the emergence of the global human rights movement and how human rights came to matter in the context of world politics. This course will therefore familiarize students with key international and regional human rights bodies, such as within the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American Studies, and ASEAN. In addition, students will address key debates in, and critiques of, human rights.
Political Economy of Development
What is development, and how do nations seek development? Why have countries achieved different levels of development? What are the endogenous and exogenous determinants contributing to development? The course explores the origin and evolution of socio-economic development in select developing economies across the globe. It will deal with the essential theories of development studies and several case studies on economic growth and socio-economic changes. The course will consist of intensive reading and discussion. How and why have foreign policy and international relations been structured and implemented in the states of South Asia? This graduate course explores the domestic and external determinants of foreign policy-making in the states and how and why the policy has been executed in the areas of security, defense cooperation/conflicts/competition, trade and investment, and regional economic cooperation. It will engage in the crucial theoretical debate on the cutting-edge area of international relations in South Asia through the intensive reading and discussion on the select case studies. 
Political Theory
This class will help students to better understand their role as citizens in a democratic society and to think critically about political issues. A major focus of this class will be to not only describe how the political world is but also how it should be. Topics will include: democracy, distributive justice, liberty and human nature. Furthermore, this course will help students to strengthen their reading and writing skills. Finally, students should be able to better understand the historical development of ideas, gain a better understanding of their own political views and acquire more tools with which to become involved in politics. 
Understanding Globalization
This course helps students to understand the major concepts, debates and reflections related to political, economic and cultural globalization. The course also discusses the transnational problems caused by globalization such as human and drug trafficking as well as environmental degradation. In addition, the global security threats such as poverty and health problems, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will also be examined. The course encourages students to observe and evaluate the impacts of globalization to their personal life, for example, how could their living place and home country be affected. The in-class discussions (or flipped classrooms) aim to offer an interactive and stimulating environment for students' learning experience. 
International Relations of Asia-Pacific
This course examines the relations and issues among the countries surrounding the Asia-Pacific. The national interests, motives and policies of key actors will be discussed such as China, the United States, Japan, India, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Besides, the course evaluates the concerns of periphery countries as well as regionalism with reference to ASEAN, Latin American perspectives and APEC. The economic order in the region will also be covered, including NAFTA, CPTTP, RCEP, the Belt and Road Initiative and Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy. And the political order such as maritime security, hedging strategy and non-traditional security issues will be illustrated. The Model APEC facilitates students' understanding on the formation of Asia-Pacific order. 
International Relations of South Asia
How and why have the states in South Asia built international relations with other countries? This course will deal with the essential features of domestic politics, socio-economic transformation, and foreign policy in the eight states of South Asia, namely, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. It will discuss bilateral political and economic relationships between the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries, and further between SAARC members and major global powers. It will facilitate students to understand how the eight nations in South Asia have managed territorial disputes, ethnic conflicts, natural resources, economic cooperation, and national security-building. Further, there will be the class field trip(s)* at least once throughout the semester. *Field trip(s) will be scheduled according to the availability of the field trip venue(s). 
International Relations of the Middle East
This course assumes no prior knowledge of the Middle East. It will analyze the international relations of the Middle East from both historical and theoretical perspectives. The goal of the course is both to acquire the skill to think theoretically about the history of this complex region, as well as to think critically about the IR and CP theories we currently have by using the historical evidence available. Since many political science theories were derived from the Western experience, they often do not fit well the behavior of actors and processes in this particular region and this creates room for both critical theory-testing and for theorizing.  
Japanese Politics in Comparative Perspective
Are Japan and its government different from Western structures in ways that shed light on its past success and failures? Are there elements of the Japanese political and economic model that other countries should try to emulate? These are just some of the questions we will explore during this course. The course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the emergence and consolidation of Japan's "1955 System." In the second half of the course, we will shift our attention to the disorder that plagued the political and economic regime in transition after 1993, examining how economic, social, and political changes have disrupted the old regime and propelled an awkward transition to something new.  
Gender in International Relations
This class will introduce the critical feminist approach to International Relations, and compare and contrast it with the two dominant schools in IR, Realism and Liberalism. In doing so, we will consider how each school views: a) the state and citizenship; b) conflict, peace, and security; c) gender, sexuality and human rights; d) global political economy; e) development and gender.
Japanese Popular Culture
This course will provide an introduction to the history of manga, anime, and filmmaking in Japan. Students will learn about major works, creators, and genres and shall also study others forms of popular culture, such as video games and music. Furthermore, the students will explain and explore how concepts, such as nationalism, collective memory and trauma, as well as politics can influence popular culture. 
Japanese Society
This course will offer an introduction to some of the key social institutions (families, schools, workplaces, etc.) in contemporary Japan, in light of recent and ongoing demographic and structural changes in Japanese society and political economy. Furthermore, we will also analyze mass media reports vis-à-vis rigorous scholarship to consider how empirical reality can be "spun" by the mass media to further a particular argument or contribute to the production and dissemination of particular discourses or stereotypes.
Contemporary Japanese Literature
Japanese literature changed dramatically between the Tokugawa Period and the present day. Despite the prevalence of imported and translated works in the Tokugawa Period, the arrival of Commodore Perry and the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate resulted in many authors questioning the nature of Japanese literature, from its content to its style and form. This course will cover the novels produced during this period and continue through to the present day. Students will explore some of the key authors of the last century and their works and discover the historical and social contexts in which these works were written. In this course students must engage in class discussions, complete an in-class midterm examination, and a final paper on an author or text of their choice.   
Issues in Popular Culture
This is an undergraduate course that examines in detail concepts that examine that nature of popular media and culture. This course will cover a multitude of themes, from the work of Bernays and the methods he used to shape public opinion to the heroic myth cycle. Major theorists covered in this course include, but are not limited to, Adorno, Debord, Halbwachs, and Bakhtin. These theories will be applied to real world examples and the merits of each discussed in the lesson and online boards. Students are expected to be active participants in the course. Coursework not only includes online and in-class discussions, but also includes an in-class midterm and final exam. The exams will be in an essay format and will cover material included in both the lectures and the readings.
Asia's Entrepreneurs
How do we define the nature of Asian entrepreneurs? How have the states in Asia developed various policies to facilitate entrepreneurship? This course will deal with the varieties of entrepreneurship in Asia by exploring case studies on many countries across Asia. In the classes, various institutional arrangements such as innovation policy, financing, and intellectual property, business climate, social network, and culture will be discussed as well. Students will be asked to submit a term paper either an individual level or a group level. Also, there will be the class field trip(s)* at least once throughout the semester. *Field trip(s) will be scheduled according to the availability of the trip venue(s).
Pre-modern Japanese Literature
Japan has an extensive and fascinating literary history, with authors that touch on every aspect of human existence and a myriad of works that can fascinate any reader. This course serves as an introduction to the nearly 1500 year long, pre-modern period of Japanese literature. Student will be exposed to a variety of works from every possible era and their contexts in order to better understand not only Japanese literature but also history and culture. This course begins with works from the Asuka Period and ends with the late Tokugawa Period. Authors will include Murasaki Shikibu, Zeami, and Ueda Akinari. Students in this course will engage in in-class discussion, complete a long-answer midterm exam, and a final paper.  
Media and Society in Japan
We will study media and society in Japan from two angles: their content and their systems.
1. The content of media is determined by senders and receivers in the society.
2. The media messages influence actions and perceptions of the members of the society.

At the end of the course the students will be able to
1. Evaluate the content of public and commercial media messages in Japan.
2. Explain the influence of the media on human psyche and thinking patterns. 
Tourism: Analysis and Planning
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, with total international trips reaching new heights each year. Tourism businesses generate significant income and employment in both developing and advanced industrialized economies, and tourism activity represents a dominant sector in many countries. This course will review the development of the tourism industry, applying economic, historical, and other perspectives to analyze and understand the factors driving tourism development. The course aims to inform tourism investment, planning, and policy decision-making, focusing on Asia-Pacific cases. Topics covered include: determinants of demand for tourism; sustainable tourism; tourism industry competition; and government's role in taxing, supporting, and regulating tourism. 
Non-state Actors and Political Violence
The purpose of the course is to discuss the ways and means in which states and international organizations have sought to counter political violence following 9/11. The course, focusing mainly on Islamic-inspired political violence, is divided into three main parts: it opens with an analysis of the conceptual challenges that come with the phenomenon of political violence. The second section explores how international and regional organizations have sought to address political violence. The third section reviews how states - Britain, United States and Pakistan have adapted their policies and outlooks following 9/11.
Political Development of Asia
This course will introduce students who are new to the field of Asian Politics to the leading theories and debates of this field while simultaneously introducing students who are new to Asia to the history of political, economic, and cultural relations of the region. This course surveys the long history of East Asia from pre-colonial origins (the ancient and classical periods) to the present and asks whether Euro-centric theories can account for the sources of conflict and cooperation in this region. The main geographic focus is on Japan, China, Korea, and later Taiwan and North Korea. 
International Relations of Japan
This course examines Japan's international relations from historical and theoretical perspectives. It helps students to understand how international and domestic factors have constrained, as well as stimulated, Japanese foreign policy for the last 150 years. The course consists of three parts. First, it reviews major developments in Japanese foreign policy since the Meiji restoration. Second, it examines key issues in Japan's international relations today. Finally, it discusses various topics covered by each lecture. The course is composed of lecture and class discussion. Prior knowledge on the subject is not required, but students are expected to do all the assigned readings and be prepared for discussion.