The course focuses on the historical concept of "race" and the contemporary experience of "mixed race" (or "hāfu") in Japan, with examples from other East Asian nations and the United States. In addition to readings, students will do guided ethnographic and collaborative research projects in areas ranging from film, manga, literature, fashion, art, gender, sports and more. Projects will include interviewing, observation where possible, and (ultimately) presentations and papers on those results.
We will begin the course with a genealogy of the terms "race" and "ethnicity", examining how these concepts have been employed in various times and places and the implicit assumptions behind them. We will read and discuss new scholarship in critical mixed-race studies, as well as see a number of films, that challenge conventional notions of identity and (in some cases) present more fluid notions of identifying and identification.
Students will build on these readings by conducting their own exploration of the experience of "race(s)" today. This course may be taken either as JAPAN 360 or as JSIS 484C. Co-taught by Professors Ted Mack and Andrea Arai.