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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2008

ANS 372 • Japanese Concepts of Body/Self

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31210 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
GAR 0.128
Traphagan, J.

Course Description

In this course, we will endeavor to navigate some of the extensive anthropological literature that has been written on Japanese conceptualizations of self and body. The "self" has been one of the central themes in ethnographic writing about Japan, ever since Ruth Benedict's work, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword was published in the 1940's. We will consider how Japanese educational approaches contribute to the formation of particular behavior; how selves change over the life course; Japanese conceptualizations of the body and person; and how Japanese ideas about self and body are expressed in medical practices. The course is discussion-based and will incorporate films in addiction to ethnograhic writings.

Grading will be based upon five reaction papers and a research paper

Grading Policy

Mid-term exam: 20% Final exam: 30% Five 2-page response papers: 50%


Gilbert Ryle. 2000. The Concept of Mind. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 0226732967 Traphagan, John. 2000. Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan. Albany: SUNY Press. ISBN: 0791445003 Kondo, Dorinne. 1990. Crafting Selves : Power, Gender, and Discourses of Identity in a Japanese Workplace. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 0226450449 McVeigh, Brian. 2000. Wearing Ideology: State, Schooling and Self-Presentation in Japan. New York: Berg. ISBN 1 85973 4901. Lock, Margaret. 2001. Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN: 0520228146 Long, Susan O. 1999. Lives in Motion: Composing Circles of Self and Community in Japan. Cornell East Asia Series. ISBN: 1885445067


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