All posts by Christopher

I'm a visiting professor at Bowdoin College. I teach, write, and discuss Japanese popular culture, language, literature and other topics on East Asia.

New Online Anime Course at UMSL – This Fall!

Hot on the heels of the Summer J-Pop course we are offering at Wash U, I am also designing a new Anime class at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, being offered for the first time this fall.  You don’t have to be an UMSL student to take it!

Description: Japanese 2111

Students will explore and analyze anime and manga from sociological, literary, and anthropological perspectives, attempting to foster deeper understanding of contemporary Japan and the historical context from which the selected works emerged.  In each module, we will watch anime that address specific cultural, historical, and literary topics, such as how the postmodern condition is reflected in Kon Satoshi’s Paprika; how the nostalgia for the past can be both heartwarming but also an escape from reality in Only Yesterday, and how human emotion can be so delicately, beautifully communicated in a 30 minute film like 5 cm/second. For some modules, there will be guided slideshows illustrated with clips from feature-length anime; in other modules students will watch anime after reading critical pieces and give an account of their own assessment of what they saw in the context of what they have learned.  Students will engage in threaded discussions, turn in short assignments, and write a 5-7 page paper at the end of the course.

 

Summer Course

Our new J-Pop summer course is running from July 18-August 18. I am team-teaching with 2 other fantastic PhD students, Kazue Harada and David Holloway. I am doing a module on Anime and images of modernity and post-modernity, depictions of nostalgia, ideal worlds, reality, and identity. Here are my topics, clips, and readings:

August 9
History of Anime/Why Study Anime in Academia?
Readings:
Roland Kelts, Japanamerica (New York: Palgrave, 2006), pp. 3-65.
Susan Napier, Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, (New York: Palgrave, 2005), pp. vii-18.

August 10
Miyazaki Hayao: Anime and Environmental Consciousness
We will watch clips from various Miyazaki films as part of our discussion
Readings:
Miyazaki Hayao, “Earth’s Environment as Metaphor” in Starting Point: 1979-1996, (San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2009), 474-432
—. “On the Banks of the Sea of Decay” in Starting Point: 1979-1996, (San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2009), 165-172.
—. “Nature is Both Generous and Ferocious” in Starting Point: 1979-1996, (San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2009), 332-338.
—. “On Nausicaä” in Starting Point: 1979-1996, (San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2009), 283-284.
—. “Thougts on Japanese Animation” in Starting Point: 1979-1996, (San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2009), 70-85.

REQUIRED: OUTSIDE OF CLASS VIEWING: 4PM OMOHIDE POROPORO

August 11
Only Yesterday: Nostalgia and the Idealized World of the Past
Readings:
Susan Napier, Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, (New York: Palgrave, 2005), Chapter 14: pp. 275-290.
Millie Creighton, “Consuming Rural Japan: The Marketing of Tradition and Nostalgia in the Japanese Travel Industry” in Ethnology, Vol 36.3 (Summer, 1997), pp. 239-254.
William W. Kelly, “Rationalization and Nostalgia: Cultural Dynamics of New Middle-Class Japan” in American Ethnologist, Vol. 13.4 (Nov., 1986), pp. 603-618.

August 12
Reinterpreting the “Past”-iche: Hip-hop Samurai
We will watch clips of Samurai Champloo in class as part of our discussion
Readings:
Marius B. Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan, (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press), pp. 274-279;
Philip Brophy, 100 anime, (New York: Macmillan, 2005), 200-205.
William L. Benzon, “Postmodern Is Old Hat: Samurai Champloo” in Mechademia Vol. 3 (2008), 271-274.

August 15
The Loss of the Real: Kon Satoshi’s Paprika and the Postmodern Condition
We will watch clips of Paprika in class as part of our discussion
Readings:
Perper and Cornog, “Psychoanalytic Cyberpunk Midsummer-night’s Dreamtime: Kon Satoshi’s Paprika” in Mechademia, (Volume 4, 2009, pp. 326-329).
Glenn Ward, Teach Yourself Postmodernism, (Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2003), pp 55-86.

August 16
Consumerism and the Otaku Culture in Kon Satoshi’s Paranoia Agent
Readings:
Glenn Ward, Teach Yourself Postmodernism, (Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2003), pp 88-139.
Gerald Figal, “Monstrous Media and Delusional Consumption in Kon Satoshi’s Paranoia Agent” in Mechademia (Volume 5, 2010, pp. 139-155).
Furukawa Hideo, “Monsters” in Monkey Business: New Writing From Japan Vol 1 (2011), pp. 6-17.

August 17
Literature in Anime, Anime as Literature
We’ll watch the Akutagawa section of Aoi Bungaku (2010) in class
Readings:
Akutagawa Ryûnosuke, Spider’s Thread.
—. “Hell Screen” in Modern Japanese Literature, Donald Keene, ed. (Rutland and Tokyo: Tuttle, 1956), 307-332.
“Akutagawa Ryûnosuke: 1892-1927” in Modern Japanese Writers, Jay Rubin, ed. (New York: Scribner, 2001), pp. 19-30. (on permanent reserve in reference area in Olin library)