Research » Teaching » Publications    (in .pdf) » Contact Me »

 

Courses Offered

Undergraduate

SISEA 242 Introduction to Contemporary Japan

SISEA 436 and POL S 429  Political Parties in Japan and East Asia

SISEA 474 Civil Society in Japan and Asia

SIS 495 Task Force: Remilitarizing Japan?
 

Graduate

SISEA 536  Political Parties in Japan and East Asia

SISEA 555 Introduction to Japanese Studies

SISEA 574 / PB AF 599 Civil Society in Japan and Asia

 

 

 

 

 


 

SISEA 242 Introduction to Contemporary Japan

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to various aspects of contemporary Japan, such as its political economy, modern history, society and politics.  The perspective of the course is drawn from the social sciences, not the humanities. Students should come away with a comprehensive overview or survey of a wide variety of aspects of contemporary Japan and an  understanding of how these aspects interrelate.

For the Course Homepage, click here.


SISEA 536, SISEA 436, and POL S 429  Political Parties in Japan and East Asia

The focus of this class is on political parties in Japan. Democracy, representation, and governance are addressed through that lens. Modern representative democracy is inconceivable without political parties. We will also investigate South Korean political parties, but the bulk of our attention is on Japan. The class will combine theoretical readings on political parties with an intensive study of Japanese political parties. Students with either a good general understanding of Japan’s postwar political history or a thorough knowledge of political party theory (but both are not required) will be best positioned to succeed in the course.  Topics include: democracy and representation, parties and party competition, Japanese political parties pre-1993, party system change, Japanese political parties since 1993, electoral reform causes and consequences, factions in Japanese parties, koenkai (personal support organizations), policy-making and PARC, the Diet, coalition government, interest groups and political parties, parties and voters.

For the Course Homepage, click here.


 

SISEA 474 Civil Society in Japan and Asia

SISEA 574 / PB AF 599 Civil Society in Japan and Asia

Civil society groups have grown explosively in recent decades. Simultaneously, ideas of social capital have aroused widespread interest. This course examines a wide range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, and voluntary groups under the unifying rubric of "civil society." After a theoretical introduction to this class of phenomenon, the course investigates civil society in Japan and also in other parts of Asia. General topics include: growth of civil society; explanations of change in civil society over time; theories of national variation in civil societies; social capital; political consequences of civil society; and, transnational NGOs as international actors. A major focus of this class is also the specific characteristic of Japanese civil society, and their causes and consequences.

SISEA 574 is a separate graduate course.

For the Course Homepage, click here.



 

 

Actual Cover of 2006 Task Force Group

 

 

 

 

SIS 495 Task Force

As a Task Force, the theme of this class changes from year to year. In Winter 2005, the course was Remilitarizing Japan? In 2006, the Task Force theme was "East Asian Textbook Controversy."

SIS 495 Task Force: East Asian Textbook Controversy (Winter 2006)

Several times in recent years, tensions have flared between Japan and its neighbors over the content of Japanese school history textbooks. South Korea and China have lodged complaints that Japan is whitewashing its history. Japanese counter that Korean and Chinese textbooks deliberately inflame anti-Japanese nationalist sentiment. In April 2005, anti-Japanese riots erupted in several Chinese cities. At the time, China made statements indicating opposition to Japan’s entry to the United Nations Security Council, a goal that the US has gone on record supporting. Tensions among Korea, China, and Japan are a matter of grave concern to US policymakers.

 You are a member of a Task Force assembled by the US State Department to investigate this issue. Your mission is not to judge Japan’s history, or even the merits of its textbooks. Your assignment as a member of the Task Force is to prepare a brief for your US State Department bosses about whether this controversy hurts or benefits US interests in the region, and what, if any, steps the US should take regarding textbook issues. Through that prism, you may evaluate the merits of the textbooks, Chinese and South Korean claims, Japanese counterclaims, and where the US interest lies. Your assignment requires you to also provide recommendations on concrete steps the US should take (or avoid taking).

 

 

 

 

SIS 495 Task Force: Remilitarizing Japan? (Winter 2005)

Course Description:

Task Force class on theme of “Remilitarizing Japan?”   The Liberal Democratic Party’s proposed revision of the Japanese Constitution would likely also include changes in Article 9, the article that renounces war and is widely seen as the cornerstone of Japanese pacifism. Our alliance with Japan is a pivotal element of America’s global strategy, but will the rise of China and the Japanese response to this transform the US-Japan alliance? Your Task Force is charged with preparing a brief for the Secretary of State on this issue. Key points you must address are: (1) is the proposed change in Article 9 in the national interest of the United States or not? (2) is it practical or advisable for the US to support or oppose this proposed change, and if so, what steps should the US take? And, (3) if the proposed changes come to pass, what steps should the US take?  This challenging task force requires a variety of expertise sets: domestic Japanese party politics, international relations theory, China’s role in East Asia, US global strategy, and tactical level US policy initiatives and instruments.
 

  For the Course Homepage, click here.

SIS 495 Task Force: Building a Better American Democracy: Practical Solutions for Electoral Reform in Washington State (Winter 2012)

Course Description:

All the problems we have with politics in Washington State, not to mention Washington DC, can seem overwhelming. You have been hired as consultants to figure out what we can do about it in Washington State. Your brief is to come up with a strategy and recommendations for electoral system change. In representative democracies, electoral systems provide the basis for the most primal connection between politicians and voters. In 2006, Pierce County adopted a "instant-runoff voting" system, or "ranked choice" voting. On May 5, 2010, United Kingdom voters rejected this same system. Electoral reform has succeeded in the past two decades in dozens of countries including Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, and failed in many others. Politics is the art of the possible, not the science of the perfect. So, your job is not to figure out which electoral system is "best" in the ideal realm of political science theory, but to come up with a plan to actually realize the best possible change. That means knowing local politics, interest groups, lobbying techniques and how to frame ideas so they catch on with the public.

 

 


 

SIS Electoral Systems
Course Description:

I'll offer a course in Spring Quarter 2012 on electoral systems.

For the Course Homepage, click

 

SISEA 555 Introduction to Japanese Studies

Course Description:

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of Japan, with an emphasis on historical development. This is the core seminar for Japan Studies M.A. students and is required in the first year of that program. 

For the Course Homepage, click