Wintersession in Kyoto
REL 290 Kyoto: Center of Japan’s Religion and Culture
Professor T. James Kodera
Hands-on observation and critical analyses of religion and culture in Kyoto, Japan’s capital for over a millennium. Topics include: Shinto and Buddhism in traditional Japanese art and culture, such as “tea ceremony,” calligraphy, poetry, theater and martial arts; Shinto and Japan’s appreciation of nature; Japan’s selective memory of the Pacific War and Japan’s growing nationalism; today’s Buddhist clergy as specialists of the world of the dead, in sharp contrast to the earlier (pre-seventeenth century) focus on meditation and acts of mercy for the living; “new religions” in contemporary Japanese society and politics; Japan’s assimilation of Western religions, as manifested in youth culture; the complicity of religion in the resurgence of nationalism and xenophobia; the contemporary Japanese fascination with the “other world”. Kyoto will be the center of operation with possible side trips to Nara, Hiroshima, and perhaps Tokyo.
Length: Two and a half weeks in Japan, with three days of orientation on campus prior to departure.
Not offered every year. Subject to Dean’s Office approval.
Prerequisite: At least one course in Asian religion; though not required, preference given to students of Asian religions and of East Asian Studies. Application required.
Enrollment limited to 10 and with written permission of the instructor.
Distribution: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy
Semester: Wintersession Unit: 0.5