JAPAN: THE GREEN NATION?
2014/2015, Semester 1
Arts & Social Sciences (Japanese Studies)
Modular Credits: 4
What does it mean to be green?
What conditions, actions, beliefs, or policies make a country green?
This module’s title is meant to be provocative. Instead of asserting that Japan is green, this module purposefully wonders: is Japan a green nation?
Japan has a heavily forested landscape, a long, beautiful coastline, and a rich history of celebrating nature in religion, the arts, and literature. Japan is a global leader in innovative green technologies. However, Japan also has a history of repeated deforestation, industrial pollution, and indiscriminate abuse of the environment. Amid these contradictions, how “green” is Japan? What representations of nature, uses of natural resources, forms of energy production, types of consumer behavior, and waste disposal practices can be called green? Is Japan a green nation, and what lessons can we learn from Japan’s successes and failures?
This module explores these questions and more from a variety of perspectives, including popular culture, tourism, political economy, geography, history, and daily practice. We will focus on the following themes: nature, waste, energy, and disaster.
This module attracts students from science, engineering, and arts, and it will be valuable to students with an interest in the environment, Japan, or both. Students will leave the module not only with knowledge about Japan, but hopefully, greater understanding of the myriad challenges and opportunities we face on our finite planet.
The complete syllabus, along with readings, assignments, and schedule, will be posted in IVLE by the end of July. Please contact Dr. McMorran with any questions.
By the end of the semester you should be able to:
Explain the cultural, economic, and political context of Japan’s long relationship with its physical environment, as well as its current environmental controversies (remember and recall details)
Understand the complex relationship between energy, disaster, and waste associated with the 3/11 triple disaster (remember and recall details)
Utilize concepts specific to Japan’s human-environment relations both verbally and in writing (apply context-specific knowledge)
Analyze Japanese ideas and representations of nature depicted in a film (incorporate academic knowledge in everyday life; apply context-specific knowledge)
Work in small groups to solve problems, summarize readings, and synthesize readings (group dynamics)
Voice your ideas clearly and with supporting evidence (develop communication skills, including persuasion)
Analyze your personal relationship to nature, waste, and energy consumption (incorporate academic knowledge in everyday life)
Short lectures, small group and seminar-style discussion.
Assessment will be based on several components:
20% Class participation and attendance
20% Homework assignments (including short presentation and peer review of final project)
30% Research Project (3000 words)
30% Final exam (closed book)