Academic year
2017/2018 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT2730 (AF:210205 AR:100856)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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This course aims at providing the interpretative tools for an introductory comprehension of social and cultural studies.
The overall purpose is to encourage a critical perspective in order to examine contemporary Japanese society within a global and comparative perspective.
I. Introduction to a critical examination of modern and contemporary Japan: Identity and alterity: how to think about diversity?
- occidentalism, orientalist, self-orientalism, 'Japan', essentialism and nihonjinron (theories about the Japanese)

II. Introduction to strategical concepts to understand Japanese society:
- tradition, modernity, globalization
- nation-state, culture, race/ethnicity

III. Identity and alterity in modern and contemporary Japan:
- 'the West' and 'Westerners', 'Italy' and 'Italians'

Lesson slides are available by accessing the didactic material on-line (I.S.A.).
1. Miyake, Toshio (2012), “Seiyō ('Occidente') e tōyō ('Oriente') in Giappone: breve esplorazione di una geografia immaginaria”, in Marco Del Bene; Noemi Lanna; Toshio Miyake; Andrea Revelant, Il Giappone moderno e contemporaneo: Stato, media, processi identitari, Bologna: I libri di Emil-Odoya University Express, pp. 17-30.

2. Miyake, Toshio (2014), “Occidentalismo, orientalismo, auto-orientalismo”, “doppio orientalismo del Giappone”, in Toshio Miyake, Mostri del Giappone. Narrative, figure, egemonie della dis-locazione identitaria, Venezia: Edizioni Ca' Foscari, pp. 31-37, 120-130.

3. Vlastos, Stephen (1998), “Tradition: Past/Present Culture and Modern Japanese History”, in Stephen Vlastos (ed.), Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, pp. 1-17.

4. Weiner, Michael (1997), “The Invention of Identity: Race and Nation in Pre-war Japan”, in
Frank Dikotter (ed.), The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, pp. 96-117.

5. Yoshino, Kōsaku (1992), “Cap. 2 The nihonjinron: thinking elites’ ideas of Japanese uniqueness”, in Kōsaku Yoshino, Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan: A Sociological Enquiry, London: Routledge pp. 7-28.

6. Sugimoto, Yoshio (2010), “Cap.7 ‘Japaneseness’, Ethnicity, and Minority Groups”, in Yoshio Sugimoto, An Introduction to Japanese Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (III° ed.), pp. 189-218.

7. Prieler, Michael (2008), “Racial Divide in Japanese TV Ads: Othering, Racial Hierarchies, and Identity Construction”, paper presented at the IAMCR ( International Association for Media and Communication Research) Conference, Stockholm University, Sweden, July, 2008, pp. 1-26.

8. Bailey, Keiron (2006), “Marketing the eikaiwa wonderland: ideology, akogare, and gender alterity in English conversation school advertising in Japan”, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, volume 24, pp. 105-130.

9. Miyake, Toshio (2013), “L'Italia nei manga: specchio identitario e convergenza mangaesque”, in Gianluca Coci (a cura di), JapanPOP: parole, immagini, suoni dal Giappone contemporaneo, Roma: Aracne, pp. 283-322.

Reference texts are all available by accessing the didactic material on-line (I.S.A.).
1 written test on lesson topics and assigned readings (ca. 120 minutes).
Language accepted for the test: Italian, English, German, Japanese.
Frontal lessons.
  • Lecture notes, material for reference or for self-assessment available online or as e-book
  • Use of open-source software
Last update of the programme: 17/12/2017