Social Issues: Empathy, Analysis, Connection
In this seminar, we try to better understand unevenness and calls for justice in society, economy, and the environment. Using English & Japanese-language sources, we think about the local with a global perspective, and work to communicate our findings in creative and dynamics ways.
March 2023: Exploring artistic expression as a mode to understand a social movement
Shimada Yoshiko's "It's Not Yours to Decide!" at Ota Fine Arts
Shimada Yoshiko is an artist who has worked with feminist themes and reflected on recent history and memory in many mediums for the past few decades. In this solo show she considers the case of a women's liberation group, Chūpiren, which was often subjected to ridicule in the mass media and dismissed also by other feminist groups. But Shimada sees in Chūpiren founder Enoki Misako's insistence on bodily autonomy a kind of prophet, a Sybil, who can speak directly to our current moment.
Racism / Structural Racism / Intersectionality
Discussing Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking with White People About Race"
Over spring break we read Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking with White People About Race." Eddo-Lodge lends us a sense of history around anti-Black racism in particular and a framework as we consider social movements and the societies in which they operate. In particular, we have thought about how to begin to form our own working definitions of "racism," "structural racism," and "intersectionality."
December 2022: Exploring cinematic art as a way to engage with society
Visiting Wendelien van Oldenborgh's exhibit unset on-set at MOT
We visited the Wendelien van Oldenborgh exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT). Van Oldenborgh's work captures unscripted dialogues between various participants, who are brought together around certain themes but explore their various perspectives and relations with society, politics, & history. The students felt they both learned something new about various topics and - more emphatically - that they were afforded the time and space to think about things they hadn't thought about before. It prompted us to think about the ways in which van Oldenborgh's style of cinema offers a form very different (but no less valid) from the classical academic essay in which to explore "social issues."
Starting a new academic year with our learning goals in mind: communication & critical thinking, creatively and analytically!
Seminar participants learn to ask questions and seek a framework to answer their questions in a sustained way through their own projects.
Stay tuned for 2023!
We're working on our projects now! Stay tuned for the latest news.