Soka University of America
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES 405- WAR AND MEMORY IN THE ASIA PACIFIC
Aims and Objectives:
– To examine the historiography of the Asia Pacific War with reference to the problems of historical evidence, memory, interpretation, authentication and the political uses of history.
– To analyze and reappraise the current trend towards historical revisionism in Japan, the U.S., and elsewhere, and explore the concepts of nationalism, national history and identity which lie at the core of such attempts to normalize the past.
– To examine English language writings produced during recent years that touch on or focus directly on the issue of war responsibility and to clarify the boundaries of the Japan Germany comparison.
– To explore the issue of the atomic bombing of Japan and the 1995 Smithsonian controversy in the United States.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PACIFIC BASIN
This interdisciplinary course is designed to introduce you to the diverse cultures, histories, societies, and sub-regions that comprise the Pacific Basin. During the course of the semester we will also examine contemporary issues, such as economic relations, migration and trafficking, the emergence of regional institutions, as well as the impact of globalization, democratization, transnationalism, and the environment in the “Pacific Basin.”
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES 371, THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN JAPAN
This course will introduce you to the history of Japan from the mid-nineteenth century until the end of the twentieth century. In the first part of the course, we will focus on the turbulent final decades of the Tokugawa Period, through the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and its immediate aftermath. The second part of the course, extending through the end of the Pacific War in 1945, will consider the remarkable and eventful adaptation of Japan to the “modern” world of European imperialism, colonialism, and industrial capitalism. In the final part of the course we will focus on the postwar reconstruction of Japan, its re-emergence as an economic and political global actor, and on more recent social and cultural trends.
This course is primarily concerned with the evolution and implementation of human rights regimes in East Asia. It approaches human rights as a product of the formation and expansion of Western nation-states, and juxtaposes these origins with competing, non-western systems of thought and practices of rights. It is within this context that students critically examine the universality of modern human rights norms. Through the course readings, films, discussions, etc., students then consider human rights from multiple perspectives: (1) human rights as individual protection of personhood and the modern, and western notion of individualism entailed therein; (2) human rights as they affect groups or states and limit their actions via international law; and (3) students will also explore why national governments have ceded sovereignty to international institutions, the primary purpose of which is to empower their own citizens to mobilize or litigate against them in international forums. To this end, students analyze the politics of norm creation and diffusion, inquiring in particular about the relative importance of domestic political commitment (the interests of national governments and their constituencies), domestic courts, the power of NGOs, public opinion, and transnational diffusion.
This course is designed for students to gain a critical understanding of key contemporary social and political issues as expressed in popular culture (mainly cinema) in Pacific Asia. We will also consider representations of Pacific Asia and Asians in mainstream Hollywood films. The course explores different approaches to questions such as: What do we mean when we talk about cinema as an expression of soft power? How do we make sense of and understand the connotations and contradictions inherent in the ways social relations and history are expressed in film and other forms of media? In which sense are cultures shaped by unconscious desires, fantasies and identifications? What is the relationship between cinematic representations of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, identity and reality? In other words, this course will focus on the relationship between cinematic narratives, structures and products, and the societies in which they are produced and/or consumed