Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

FSEM 113   Japan
RestrictionsNo 2025 2024 2023
Core AreaCommunities & Identities

Faculty Profile for Professor Mehl

Once known primarily for having an extraordinarily vital economy, Japan today is best known abroad for cultural exports such as manga, anime, sushi, and J-pop. The phenomenon of Japan's "soft power" has much to do with ideas and preconceptions about Japaneseness, both in Japan and elsewhere, and in this course students subject those ideas and preconceptions to a searching analysis. Through a close examination of Japanese literary texts; image-based works such as manga, anime, films, and paintings; Japanese material culture; and essays by scholars of Japan, students learn more about contemporary Japanese culture and society. Students also acquire and practice indispensable research and writing skills as they develop their own projects. This course does not require any prior knowledge of Japanese culture or language, and all materials are available in English.Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for CORE 167C and satisfy the Communities & Identities core requirement.

All Japanophiles have a story that explains what they love about Japan: for some people, it's anime; for others, it's Japanese music; for still others, it's Japanese cuisine. For me, it was Japanese literature, which remains my primary research interest. In my courses on Japanese culture, students build on their own interests, so that everyone in the classroom--the instructor included--is learning from each other.