2019-20 Elective Courses

Students visit a Yayoi Kusama art exhibit during a 2018 elective course field trip. 

You’re used to the challenging academic standards and probing critical thinking that characterize a liberal arts education. You’ll find it with AKP. The Associated Kyoto Program mirrors its thirteen consortium institutions in the disciplinary diversity and commitment to excellence among its courses. Thanks to the Visiting Faculty Fellows Program, AKP recruits some of the finest professors from the consortium, allowing you to take classes that will foster a deeper understanding of Japan’s long and complex cultural history.

In addition to the AKP elective courses listed below, AKP students may cross-register for elective courses offered by the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS), also housed at Doshisha University. Courses taken at KCJS will receive the same credit as AKP electives and will appear on your AKP grade report. Cross-registration is limited to two AKP students per course; other restrictions may apply depending on the particular course. For information about KCJS electives, see their elective course page. For more information about cross-registration, please contact the AKP Resident Director.

Fall 2019

AKP-Doshisha Joint Seminar
Professor Elizabeth Armstrong, RD, Bucknell University
Professor Taro Futamura, Doshisha University
Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:55-4:25pm

This seminar, which is open to both AKP and Doshisha students, focuses on issues in comparative culture. The class format includes panel presentations, discussions, group projects, and a series of guest lectures by Japanese and foreign experts from the Kyoto area who will address various aspects of American and Japanese culture from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Environmental and Conservation Issues in Japan
Professor Mizuki Takahashi, Bucknell University
Mondays  2:55-4:25pm & Wednesdays 1:10-2:40pm

Japan is one of the most populated countries in the world; yet, it had such a long history of coexisting with nature until the recent rapid economy growth, during which the country started experiencing serious environmental problems. Thus, Japan serves an excellent model to learn and analyze the global environmental issues and to think about the ways to mitigate these problems in order to live sustainably, in harmony with nature. This seminar style course also emphasizes how cultural and religious values may affect interactions between humans and natural systems. In addition, several field trips are scheduled throughout the semester to learn assigned material from real life examples.

Desire in Japanese Cinema
Professor Erik Lofgren, Bucknell University
Mondays 1:10-2:40pm & Wednesdays 2:55-4:25pm

Issues of desire and its representation play an ongoing role in the world of Japanese film. The goal of this course is to study numerous films that portray desire in some of its myriad manifestations and try to discover what those historical, cultural, and ideological forces were and how they influenced the production of the representations on film, as well as how the technical aspects of the films further that representation concomitant with this task will be the exploration of how our consumption of these films is also determined by a different set of imperatives and forces. In the process, we will gain an understanding of the force of, effect, and response to these films and, by extension, insights into broader issues of Japanese film and ourselves.

Kyoto and the Visual Arts of Japan
Professor Catherine Ludvik, Kyoto Sangyo University
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:10-2:40pm

This course takes students on an exploration of the magnificent visual arts of Japan, from the enigmatic excavated works of the prehistoric period, through the imposing Buddhist arts and breathtaking sliding screen paintings defining traditional architecture, to the vibrant contemporary art scene. Through a sweeping historical survey highlighting the forms and functions of representative artworks in their respective contexts, you will examine such issues as the relationship of Japanese art to Chinese and Korean art, patronage, the ritual and visual functions of Buddhist icons, the translation of concepts into artistic forms, as well as representational strategies and modes of viewing.


Spring 2020 (tentative)

Japanese/English Translation
Professor Elizabeth Armstrong, RD, Bucknell University

This course is an introduction to the discipline of Japanese/English translation. The course comprises two major components: a general overview of the Translation Studies, its history, theories, and significance as an interdisciplinary entity; and hands-on practice in the craft of translation in the form of weekly translation exercises and one independent final project. Students will engage in discussion and peer-critique of the short weekly assignments of texts ranging from ad copy and newspapers to poetry and “pure” literature.

Pollution and Waste in Japan: Chemistry and Society
Professor Shizuka Hsieh, Trinity Washington University

The first half of the course focuses on early Japanese environmental disasters as case studies for applying essential concepts in environmental chemistry and for understanding the causes and impacts of industrial pollution. It addresses historical background, public health consequences, politics, and the interaction between science and policy in Japan. The second half of the course relates the lessons learned to current environmental topics and challenges: global climate change (Kyoto Protocol), the nuclear accident at Fukushima, energy and industry-related health hazards in other countries. No previous scientific background is required; basic chemistry essentials are be introduced throughout.

Japanese Economy
Professor Linus Yamane, Pitzer College

This course is a broad introduction to the fascinating Japanese economy. Japan was the first non-Western nation to become a major industrial power, providing many lessons for economic development. Japan is now the fourth largest economy (PPP) in the world behind the China, the U.S., and India. Japan is the world’s largest creditor nation, but faces enormous challenges with an aging population, mounting government debts, and corporate sector and labor market reforms. We will begin by considering economic conditions during the Tokugawa period, and the process of economic growth since the Meiji Restoration. We will examine the high rates of growth in the post WWII period, along with the economic slowdown in the Heisei period.

Religion, Tradition and Temple-tourism in Kyoto
Professor Catherine Ludvik, Kyoto Sangyo University

Filled with over two thousand temples and shrines, the ancient capital of Kyoto provides the ideal setting for the study of Japanese religions. Temples and shrines, however, are not only sites of faith, but locales where religion, tradition, culture and tourism intersect. Against this vibrant and complex background accommodating diverse modes of religious practice and sightseeing, this course explores selected aspects of Shinto, Buddhism and the New Religions of Japan in historical as well as contemporary context. We will examine present-day attitudes to religion, lived by many as inherited tradition, in conjunction with the enormous popularity of the city’s temples and shrines that function as promoters of cultural identity and World Heritage tourism.

Please check often for course description updates.