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LIT 300 – Culture & Crisis in Contemporary Japan/Honors

Course Schedule:

MW 12:45 pm – 2:05 pm


Please check MySlice for the latest class location.


Hurley, Brian R.

Counts toward:

HNR Hum, Course Global Non-Euro

MySlice Info:

Class #: 33935
Section: M004
# Credits: 3

Course Description:

This course offers an introduction to the cultural history of contemporary Japan. We will consider a wide range of materials—including literary narratives, documentary films, photographs, cultural theories and social scientific studies—that allow us to examine how the affluence generated by Japan’s famed economy and corporate institutions has been haunted by thorny ethical and political questions not easily resolved.

The first half of the course looks at the ups and downs of Japan’s economy in recent decades, taking into consideration both Japan’s rise as an economic superpower in the postwar “economic miracle” years and the onset of an intractable recession in the early 1990s. We will then examine how the capitalist “success story” of postwar and contemporary Japan has been complicated by acute ecological crises and painful social problems.

Our semester-long inquiry into these matters will be guided by the following sorts of questions:

• How have ecological and economic interests come into confrontation with each other in contemporary Japan? Are they necessarily at odds with one another?

• How has the artistic imagination rendered the social and ecological crises of contemporary Japan in literature, film, and visual culture?

• How does artistic representation allow us to understand aspects of contemporary Japan in ways that scholarship and data do not?

• What aspects of human life are (or should be) untouched by economic motives and marketplace logic?

Notes about this course:

Notes about this section:

Class times and locations often change. Please verify your class schedule in MySlice as these will not be updated after their initial posting.