Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Culture and Society in Contemporary Korea and Japan

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION This study-unit is designed to provide students with insights into various aspects of the society and culture of East Asia. The study-unit will be spread across a variety of areas of focus in Japan and Korea. Each topic will be examined across both societies. The study-unit will be organized around the impact of modernity and globalizing forces. While examining the belief systems of the region the study-unit will contextualize the transformations of modern Japan and Korea in light of the impact of Western contact as well as endogenous movements for social change throughout the turbulent twentieth century. While the historical focus will loom large the approach will be ethnographic as well as sociological with insights taken from methods in cultural studies. Some of the topics that the study-unit will cover include:

• General History
• Sex and Gender
• Popular and Folk Religion
• Confucianism, Capitalism and Modernization
• Urbanization: Tokyo and Seoul as postmodern metropolises
• The modern family
• Emotions and the structure of the self.
• Consumption, Film and Popular culture
• Nationalism and ethnic diversity
• Modes of healing in East Asia

Study-unit Aims:

This unit will aim to:
• Offer students an introduction to the modern history, culture and society of East Asia.
• Enable students to gain a solid grounding the classical and contemporary anthropological literature on Korea and Japan.
• Enable the students to analyse the broader regional contexts of modernization in the region as well as the particularities of the national contexts of South Korea and Japan.
• Introduce the students to the social and political issues that are of concern within the region and each national context respectively.
• Increase the awareness of the region as a complex and rapidly changing social environment with a deep, shared tradition.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Provide an overview of the history and an overview of the transformations and impact of modernity on the region.
• Analyze the impact of colonialism and globalization on the socio-cultural transformations of the region.
• Produce an informed and comparative discussion over several topics in the region.
• Have a solid grounding in the major ethnographic and/or sociological literature on the region.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Read critically and selectively and make sense of a range of case studies in relation to classical and contemporary theory.
• Navigate with confidence online journal databases.
• Perform under exam conditions.
• Synthesize knowledge learned throughout the study-unit and its readings in response to set questions.

All of these skills are transferable and will prove invaluable to students in other subjects as well in any future careers they undertake.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

General Textbooks:
- Sugimoto, Y. (2003). An Introduction to Japanese Society. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
- UNESCO, Ed. (2003). Korean Anthropology. Elizabeth NJ, Hollym.
- Robertson, J., Ed. (2008). A companion to the Anthropology of Japan. Malden, Blackwell.

Material from these textbooks will be supplemented by a number of readings assembled in a reader for the students.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Jean-Paul Baldacchino

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.