Study Abroad/Off-Campus: Japan: Nature, Aesthetics, Science, and Technology
May 22–June 6, 2013 (Depart USA on 5/21, return on 6/6) *Note: Dates and itinerary subject to change
Since the restoration of imperial power in 1868 and through its rapid industrial, political and military development in the 20th century, Japan has been defined by a simultaneous sense of cultural continuity together with sharp contrast. To look at Japan's modern, global, and technophilic sensibility on the one hand, and traditional and aesthetically refined cultural tradition on the other, it is clear why Japan is considered a unique location to explore the questions of cultural identity and transition.
The 2011 tragedy of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant disaster has provoked intense debate and soul-searching in Japan that has punctuated the negotiation of its own cultural identity. The complex relationship and tensions that Japanese culture has to the environment—natural and built—is highlighted by the disaster's unprecedented confluence of technological, natural, and social factors that came to define the events of last year, and many years to come. These specific cultural and relational tensions are inscribed, embodied, and emplaced in Japanese cities, architecture, shrines, temples, gardens, and museums.
The continuity between the local and the global, between past and present, the built and the natural play out in the juxtaposition of shrines and corporate structures, in the proximity of the beautiful Meiji Shrine in Tokyo and the hip fashion street of Harajuku, in traditional gardens committed to the contemplation of nature, and to disaster prevention structures intended to keep nature at bay. Within the lived contrasts of a culture where geisha's now use iPhones and (until this past year) nuclear power had illuminated Tokyo's major Buddhist temple in Asakusa we find a unique site for exploring what it means to be a part of the contemporary human condition which is so networked, and yet fundamentally still so tied to the realities and vagaries of the environment we construct our lives around and within.
To explore the unique intersection of historical, technological, and global themes, this study trip will involve visits to major shrines, temples, gardens, museums, and public sites of historical and cultural significance to Japanese identity. This will include work by the contemporary architect Ando Tadao, the traditional "shitamachi" of pre-war Tokyo, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, as well as a visit to the nationalistic and controversial Yasukuni Shrine and its associated war technology museum. Concurrently we will also explore visual and creative narratives that articulate these intersections through cultural forms of manga, anime, modern film, and contemporary art & design. From Godzilla and Osamu Tezuka's AstroBoy to Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke and Takeshi Murakami's Kaikai Kiki Co. represent just a few examples of the discourse between past and present, between nature's sociality and technology that we will engage. Our approach is not merely to learn what we can about Japan during our brief excursion, but to learn with as well as from our neighbors across the Pacific.
We will plan to follow-up on the very successful student/faculty exchange visits SAIC had on its last study trip with our sister-institution Tokyo National University of Fine Arts as well as a one-day intensive exchange seminar with the Interdisciplinary Information Studies graduate group at Tokyo University.
Credits: 3 credits LIBARTS HUMANITIES and/or 3 credits ARTHI
Andrew Yang, Liberal Arts
Stanley Murashige, Art History, Theory & Criticism
Program fee: Approx. $3350 (including accommodation, admissions, most ground transport and 2 group meals; not including airfare).
PLUS tuition cost per credit:
Undergraduate–$1,278 per credit hour
Graduate–$1,356 per credit hour
Budget at least $1,800 for airfare if flying from the United States. (Note this is only an estimated figure. Actual fare will depend on many variables including airline, number of stopovers, exchange rate fluctuations, ports of departure and return, and date of ticket purchase).
Online registration begins:
March 5, 2013
Deposit due at registration:
Thursday, Feb. 7 at 12:10 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite 112
Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 4:15 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite 501
Thursday, Feb. 21 at 4:15 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite 617